Foreign currency exchange (Forex) headlines highlight that now is a great time for businesses to grow their export sales, as we as a nation become more competitively-priced against our global counterparts. Opportunity is rife and as the pound depreciates, a bubble of interest grows and I jump online to check out the latest movements in currencies. For a business like Aire, whose sales are predominantly export, circa 85%, and non-Sterling, this is something that can have a significant impact on our bottom line.

Whilst we are at the mercy of the Forex market, we work hard to minimise the impact on the business and sometimes even manage to hit a quick-win when the pound works in our favour. And although there is a degree of excitement in trying to not lose during any conversion, there’s a further sense of satisfaction in knowing that as an exporter, Aire is a strong net contributor to the economic stability of the country.

In any business ‘cash is king’, especially when experiencing rapid growth, as Aire has over the last four years. It makes us more flexible and able to adapt quickly to a fast-paced, ever-changing global economy and meeting the needs of our clients. Managing cash flow is no simple task, especially with some clients paying over extended payment terms, but with an efficient finance team and process we are able to maintain control and stability giving the business the strong foundation it needs for operational success.

We recently asked the teams at Aire a simple question, “What does the finance team do?”

Some of the common responses were as expected: ‘‘Management of finance across the business, supporting business owners with budget, profit etc.”, “Pay me, as well as run the whole financial side of the business giving Directors visibility and control”.

Whilst these responses are both correct, there is so much more to finance that makes it both an exciting and essential function of Aire.

At the most simplistic level — yes, we invoice the sales out and get the money in and importantly, make sure people are paid on time! But when you dig a little deeper, there’s a lot more to explore, such as financial reporting and generating the supporting data behind it, which allows us to ask ourselves three key things:

1.   Where have we been and how have we performed?

2.   Where are we now?

3.   Where are we going and what can we do to become more effective?

Forecasting what the future could look like (without a crystal ball to hand) can only be done effectively with trend analysis combined with a little bit of ‘gut feeling’, know-how and experience.

However, when a crisis hits (such as a global pandemic), suddenly it can seem like the best laid plans are out of the window. This is when collaboration around forecasting and re-forecasting is needed the most in support of the businesses strategic objectives. It also helps to ‘sharpen our pencils’ by highlighting the ‘nice-to-have’ expenses from the ‘must-haves’, whilst ultimately making us a leaner and more sustainable business, which in the long run benefits our people, our suppliers, our clients and the wider economy.

But when can finance at a globally-growing business be EVEN more interesting, I hear you say?

Well, the global economy is a different game to domestic. There are opportunities to be seen and seized across the globe, which at a time when we may well see the domestic market contract, are essential for the future of Aire.

Now more than ever, with innovation and technology at the core of Aire, we are able to open doors and service clients based on ‘when we are’, and no longer just ‘where we are’…