The likelihood is that when you've been on overseas trips in the past, you probably haven't been too concerned about the exchange rate you received. Obviously it's great if you do happen to pocket a little extra spending money, but the difference the exchange rate makes on a few hundred pounds of business expenses or holiday money is likely to be minimal. In brief; you're unlikely to be having long, sleepless nights fretting about whether you exchanged your funds at the right time. However, if you are regularly making foreign exchange transactions or you need to transfer larger amounts then it can be worthwhile to consider your options. Firstly, forget moving money through high street banks; the best exchange rates and the most comprehensive service is available through currency exchange specialists. These companies can move your international payments just as quickly as banks. And, in addition to immediate payments, they can arrange 'forward contracts', allowing you to secure an attractive exchange rate up to two years in advance. A specialist will also be able to deliver rates that the banks will not or cannot offer. So just how much difference can it make? Well, take this as an example. Let's say you were importing goods from America or the Far East at the end of December 2012 and had to settle the invoice in US Dollars on 90 days credit (1st March for example). If you left the currency purchase until the last minute, you might have received 1.5065 US Dollars to the Pound (mid-range on 1st March 2013). However, if you had started looking into the process at the time of import or earlier still, when the order was placed a year ago, by instructing a specialist foreign exchange company to help you secure the best possible rate, then there were several opportunities in December to buy at 1.6300 or slightly better. Okay, so a difference of around 12.5 cents may not sound like an awful lot, but if you're exchanging, say, £100,000 then that 12.5 cents suddenly turns into a saving of more than £8,000 or gives you an 8 percent price advantage over your competitors. Whichever way you account for it, it is a very attractive addition to your bottom line. What's more, the foreign exchange markets are constantly moving; so that volatility throws up these sorts of opportunities on a more regular basis than you might imagine. Sadly, there is no crystal ball that allows you to predict just when it is the right time to exchange your funds but there are undoubtedly clear opportunities to transact at the right time. These are governed by a number of factors including a countries' economics, geo political conditions, market psychology and international investors' attitude to risk. And, just as your buyers and procurement staff understand your market and know when a price is right, a good foreign exchange specialist will understand currency movement chart the market and provide guidance to help you make informed choices on your currency management. So what next? Your next step should probably be to contact a foreign exchange company who can help to analyse where there may be cost savings to be had on your foreign exchange needs and where the application of appropriate tools would help you boost income, aid competitiveness and ensure your currency payments an aid to growth and not a hurdle. If you have any further exchange rate/forex related questions feel free to either add them to this post or private message me.