How to manage your international business finances

How to manage your international business finances
Charlotte Lorimer
Charlotte LorimerStarling Bank

Posted: Tue 9th Nov 2021

When you run a business, you need a reliable, easy way to manage your finances. That’s especially true if your business operates across several countries, in a number of different currencies.

Charlie Southall, founder of film company Dragonfly, and Kadian Pow, founder of hair product company Bourn Beautiful Naturals, manage their international finances using a multi-currency account.

For both business owners, being able to do this via an app on their device makes this financial organisation so much simpler.

Benefits of a multi-currency bank account

Invoicing payments

Charlie Southall set up Dragonfly in 2005 and has since worked with huge global brands, many of which are based in America.

Before opening a US dollar (USD) bank account with Starling, Dragonfly had to convert payments received in USD into pounds sterling (GBP). The fluctuating exchange rates were challenging.

Since opening its USD business account, Dragonfly can now invoice payments in dollars and receive the money in its account directly.

The account includes an ACH (Automated Clearing House) routing number, which banks in the US use to identify where payments should be taken from and sent to. You need one of these numbers to receive, hold and send US dollars.

Southall recognises the advantages of having a USD account. “We're trading a lot more globally now, specifically in USD, and setting up a multi-currency account was the logical thing to do,” he says.

“Through our account with Starling, we receive payments efficiently and we don’t lose out financially. The money can sit in dollars and we get every cent.”

Paying employees, freelancers and suppliers

Kadian Pow launched Bourn Beautiful Naturals in 2017, following several years of encouragement from friends and family, who loved her homemade hair and skin products.

Now selling her hair products across Europe, Pow set up a euro business account with Starling, seeing it as a better way to do business. The account includes an IBAN (International Bank Account Number), which overseas banks use to identify accounts for incoming and outgoing payments.

“It's much simpler for suppliers if we can issue everything in their currency and then we can control when we convert the money into our main GBP account,” Pow says. “I've paid independent contractors and influencers in Europe through Starling and found it very straightforward.

“I really like the fact that it shows me not only what the conversion rate is going to be but also the fee. Everything is included in the total amount that I have to pay to make sure that the person on the other end gets the full amount and doesn’t lose out.”

At the same time, Dragonfly uses its GBP account with Starling to send international payments to its freelancers.

“We work with freelancers and suppliers worldwide,” Southall says. “Over the years, we’ve used a number of different services to make international payments but found them troublesome. Starling is a breath of fresh air.”

Integration with accounting software

If your business uses accounting software, you should be able to connect it directly to your foreign currency account. This makes for seamless, real-time bookkeeping, something every business owner wishes for.

Managing an international business with Starling

Euro accounts are available to limited companies and sole traders, and cost £2 a month. US dollar accounts are only available to limited companies, and cost £5 a month.

Before you can apply for a Starling euro account or US dollar account, you’ll need a Starling GBP business account. You can apply for one by downloading the the Starling Bank app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, or at our website.

Click the image below to sign up to a Starling euro account or US dollar account.


Starling offers international payments for 37 countries in 19 currencies. The exchange rate we use is the actual market rate we are charged for buying and selling currencies.

We then apply a small delivery fee and a 0.4% fee to the currency conversion. If you have a euro or US dollar account, you’ll have an option to spend directly from your account by toggling the card controls in the Starling app.

Charlotte Lorimer
Charlotte LorimerStarling Bank
Freelance writer at Starling Bank

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