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10 Essential Software and Applications for International Businesses

Running a business can be incredibly intense. It requires you to manage various departments, liaise with clients, make sure your budget is in place, and that finances are being spent in the right places, look to the future with upcoming projects or strategies, and handle any unexpected issues which occur. 

This intense workload is made worse when you run an international business. When you are operating across borders, you will have to deal with different time zones, understand the intricacies of various markets, trade in multiple currencies, handle countless marketing and sales campaigns, deal with numerous different cultures, as well as likely manage a far larger team. 

All of these tasks are difficult and time-consuming to manage in and of themselves. 

Simply learning to understand the intricacies and quirks of the different cultures you come in contact with is enough to fill up hours of your time. 

Doing so is vital for the success of your company because it will enable you to communicate and – most importantly – connect with your colleagues and customers from different parts of the world. This can be as simple as knowing which times of the day are best to talk to colleagues or customers from that country (i.e., time zone differences) or forging full-blown marketing campaigns which resonate with that audience.

Then you have the currency complications, which involve understanding the current exchange rate and which currencies to trade in as a business.

What’s more, when your staff and departments are spread out between different countries, it can be tricky to keep track of their productivity, individual targets, and any issues they might be having with their work. 

If you’re not careful, this can lead to a huge drop in productivity which is difficult to rectify. After all, if you weren’t in control of your business enough to notice the warning signs, it is unlikely you can regain the reigns fast enough to stop the rot. 

All these issues can make it seem impossible to run an international business, but in reality, you just need to have the proper systems to deal with these various tasks. 

Specialist software and applications are ideal for handling these problems because they can help you automate many of your jobs or speed the process up significantly.

For instance, by having a currency converter, you will be better able to know the current exchange rate and find it easy to transfer wealth between different currencies. If you are having to trade in various currencies, this is crucial.

You may also need accounting software to help you manage your finances, project management software to help keep track of your sprawling team and their individual departments, virtual meetings software to conduct meetings with overseas colleagues and clients, as well as many other specialist applications which can help your business. 

To help you improve efficiency and remove complications, here are ten essential software and applications for international businesses:

Currency converter

A currency converter is the first type of software application you should consider for your international business. This is because if you constantly have to trade in different currencies worldwide, you will need to switch currencies regularly. 

Not only can switching currencies be time-consuming if you aren’t using the right service, but it can also be expensive. Trading blind, with no eye on the current exchange rate or the fees your currency broker is charging, could add up to a huge sum over time. For an international business that is likely to be trading in large amounts of money at a time, this is potentially damaging to your bottom line.

This is why a currency converter like Currency API can be so useful. It offers you a huge range of currencies to trade with and competitive exchange rates. 

Moreover, given the world is increasingly crypto-friendly, more and more businesses are starting to trade in cryptocurrencies. This is an area to focus on sooner rather than later. Once more companies realize how cheap, easy, and discreet these digital currencies are, the relationship between FIAT currencies and cryptocurrencies will be strengthened. 

A currency converter helps you easily trade between these two types of currencies, which is worth keeping in mind. 

Accounting software

Another huge area of difficulty for many organizations is accounting and finance. This should come as no surprise because accounting is notoriously complicated when you have various different factors to consider as a business.

For example, you will have to keep track of your employee’s wages, their expenses, insurance, pensions, and other financial details, as well as calculate your yearly taxes, pay contractors, allocate funds for your various departments, organize corporate loans, pay overhead costs like rent or electricity, and make sure there are no discrepancies that a financial regulator or tax authority could haul you over the coals for. 

This complicated process is worsened when you are an international business. Your business may have to have separate accounts departments for the various countries you operate in, work out the tax law in these countries, make sure you have recorded your financial information in the correct legal manner for every country, and constantly jump back and forth between different currencies. 

Unless you have the proper systems in place, this is a recipe for disaster. Thankfully, with accounting software, you can make the process far simpler. 

However, given how complicated accounting is, there is different types of accounting software for the various tasks that need completing. Understanding the best solution for your requirements will allow you to improve the efficiency of your accounting department, improve cash flow, find a more tax-efficient means of operating your company, and make it easier to find out where you are losing money.

Firstly, you have payroll accounting software. As the name suggests, this will allow you to collect and process payrolls, pay slips, end-of-year or performance-based bonuses, as well as any other employee payment details that need to be included. 

Not only does this make it far easier for you to process staff payments, but it reduces the chances of invoices slipping through the net or incorrect payments being made. This could result in unhappy and demotivated employees who do not feel valued by the business. 

It will also help you keep track of employee expenses, which can vary daily and may be difficult to stay on top of. 

Next, you have tax accounting software, which can provide an immensely useful service to businesses of all shapes and sizes. These applications will help you to plot a course through a country’s tax system, which is notoriously difficult to do by yourself.

Every nation has its own unique tax law, which can vary hugely from country to country, or even state to state. Trying to find the most financially astute way of navigating these rules without falling foul of the law. This is key because many people think it is companies or individuals who deliberately dodge tax who end up punished by the authorities. 

Even companies that had every intention of paying it can end up in trouble if they don’t collect the right data from their own business, file their returns incorrectly, or miscalculate how much tax they owe.

What’s more, this will vary wildly depending on the country you are operating in. Different countries have different taxes, and if you aren’t on top of these details, you can rapidly find yourself in trouble.

Furthermore, if you are trading in multiple markets, you may be unsure where to pay tax and on what. 

By using tax software, you can easily keep track of all this information and ensure you are doing everything by the book.

Lastly, you have bookkeeping software. This is useful if you want to keep track of your business transactions, study how much you are earning and where you could improve your bottom end. 

When you are running an international business, finding minute details about your finances can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack so this software could help.

Project management software

Another area in which software could help your international business is project management. This is because it can automate many processes which would otherwise waste your time and slow down your overall rate of productivity. 

Project management software allows you to separate complex organizational tasks into specific areas, making it far easier to track each project. 

Many large businesses struggle with managing major projects because there are too many moving parts. This is especially true in the internet age, when many employees will be storing information on their devices, making it difficult to edit or keep track of. 

What’s more, when your team uses a wide variety of different programs, communicates via different platforms (such as email or WhatsApp), and work on their own piece of the overall puzzle, colleagues can find it hard to collaborate effectively.

This is where project management software applications can help. They provide a centralized platform for team members to collaborate and for project managers to guide, approve and make amendments where necessary. 

If approval needs to be granted from a more senior level, then you can send a link to the project on a particular platform or even download it into a PDF and send it that way.

There are multiple benefits that can be derived from this level of transparency and centrality. The first is that it can massively boost your business’s productivity, which means you can process more customer orders, complete work to a higher standard, use your team member’s strengths better, and adapt faster when unexpected challenges crop up.

Another key benefit of product management software is that it allows you to see where your corporate resources are going. If you believe a certain department is soaking up too high a cost, you can go into the platform and study their output. This helps you keep track of costs and stops you from overspending (or underspending) in any given area. 

Finally, it helps you to reassure customers that the product or service you are providing will be completed on time, without having to make any promises you can’t keep.

Website builder and traffic tracker

When you are running an international business, you will have to sell to multiple different markets at the same time. This may require you to create separate websites for each jurisdiction, which is a costly and time-consuming process if you don’t have the right software to handle it.

With strong website-building software, you can quickly construct new web pages for products or services coming online or even build an entirely new website for a country you are about to start trading in.

If you have your own IT team, then chances are you are used to creating a website in house. However, with specialist software, this process can be sped up significantly and help you make quick edits if necessary. 

Virtual meetings software

Since COVID, there has been an exponential increase in the popularity of video conferencing. Many businesses now find it acceptable to call via Zoom or Teams, whereas before, it was seen as relatively unprofessional.

While in-person meetings still have their place, this may not be possible very often if you are running an international business. 

This is why you need to make sure you have a strong video meetings application at your disposal. It will allow you to communicate with your team more easily, build a strong communication channel with your prospective and current customers, and boost your productivity overall. 

Cloud Storage

One of the biggest challenges facing modern businesses is where to store the vast amounts of sensitive information they keep on file. 

Whether it is the personal information of your employees or customers, your financial details, top secret plans for future products and services, or internal messaging you would rather keep private, there is no shortage of data that needs to be stored safely.

This is where cloud storage applications can help. They provide you with one of the safest places to store your data, while keeping it accessible enough if and when you need it.

To provide a brief definition, cloud storage allows you to store your information off-site, without compromising its integrity. Instead, it is stored in third-party data centers, which is beneficial for several reasons. 

The first is that storing your own data can be extremely expensive and time-consuming to set up. If you wanted to store it on servers, then these servers need to be bought, configured, and managed, not to mention stored in vast warehouses and guarded around the clock. 

Moreover, storing your data in the cloud is arguably safer than through other means because of its thick (almost impenetrable) firewalls and the ease with which you can control who has access to the account. 

Cloud storage also helps you to scale quickly (because you can easily expand your storage limit) without your storage process becoming any more complicated. It is also easy for approved team members to access the account, making project work more efficient and safer (when handling sensitive data). 

Cybersecurity software

There is no doubt that cyber threats are on the rise, with more and more businesses being targeted by vicious third-party attackers. Given that an increasing number of companies are conducting their internal processes and sales online, this should come as little surprise.

It is natural to ignore a threat until it is staring you in the face. It is why many people take road safety more seriously after they have witnessed a serious accident, and it is the same with cybersecurity. 

Many businesses leave it until after they have been exposed to a cyber-attack for them to take their approach to it more seriously, which is a mistake. 

There has never been a broader range of cyber threats aimed at the corporate world, which is especially true of international companies. 

You will have employees who are sending emails to unverified accounts from a range of different locations. This could put them at risk of phishing scams, malware, or ransomware attacks. 

A phishing email is the most common threat because it can silently infiltrate companies and destroy them from the inside out.

This type of scam operates by sending an email to an unwitting employee, tricking them into handing over their private information. Perhaps it is disguised as their email provider, a tax authority, a trusted company, or even another member of your organization. 

Whatever the case, once the scammer has the details they need, they can start to infiltrate your company – even disguising themselves as your employees.

The dangers that this poses cannot be underestimated. If your business suffers from a cyber-attack, it could compromise the integrity of your company, lead to customer information being leaked, or cost you financially.

To prevent this, you should install strong cybersecurity software which protects your devices and networks from harm, and make sure that your staff are trained so that they know how to spot and report potential cybersecurity threats.

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