Club soccer is predicated on gathering all of the best soccer players in the world on a team, and there are constant squabbles between teams over players. However, an underrated part of a successful team is the chemistry between the players; compatibility can make a team and it can also break a team. That is why a team like FC Barcelona has been so successful. Because a majority of the team are trained straight out of Spain and raised through the Barcelona system, they all hold similar morals and they also speak the same language, Spanish. These players know one another, trust one another, and that is what has made them one of the world’s greatest teams.
However, there is always the need to bring in the best players in order to make the team even better, and that is where many run into trouble. Take Ronaldo, born and raised in Portugal. When he played in Portugal, he had complete ease in playing soccer. Everyone spoke Portuguese, just as he did, making it so that he was compatible working with all of the other players. When he left his country to play at Manchester United in England, he had no knowledge of English—a new language for him—that all his teammates spoke. This made performing at his best difficult, because he already had to overcome significant barriers such as language and culture before he even stepped on the field to take on one of the most competitive leagues in the world. Essentially, working within his own country was much easier on him than transplanting him to play in a brand new country.
While this world does exist in the soccer community, the same world already exists in the cross-border payments sector. The B2B market works much more swiftly when both companies operate in the same country, because the currencies between the two companies are the same—they are compatible. The marketplace works because, much like Barcelona, everyone understands one another and they integrate seamlessly. But what happens when the Ronaldo problem occurs between companies, when companies are forced to deal in foreign exchange, or are having to work with multiple forms of currencies?
The key for global procurement in these companies then is to employ methods that allow for these currencies to be easily converted. For some companies, this means holding different foreign currencies, and then dealing with that money whenever purchasing from a foreign company. For other companies, this means using a service provider, like a bank, who can handle and convert cross-border payments. For 52% of companies though, the utilization of a combination of both of these strategies is preferred when they are the buyers, sending payments to other companies. This translates likewise with the most popular method for suppliers receiving payments – a blend of the two methods – where 48% of companies operate under that umbrella.
For companies looking to solve the problem of paying and processing cross-border transactions, many procurement officers are turning to these easy methods to streamline their solutions and, although they have to deal with the Ronaldo problem, they are transforming their companies into the well-oiled machine of Barcelona who won multiple Champions League titles.