There’s a story behind every transfer: Hark Enterprises
Australian owned Hark Enterprises was founded in 2004. The same year the business started using OFX. And for the trifecta, the same amount of time Tim, Managing Director, has been working with his OFXpert, Brett. An 18-year relationship, impressive by any feat.
“Brett [OFXpert] has been great. The OFX platform is advanced enough for me to self-serve, but every now and then I will give him a call if we need to change something. There is a nice flexibility in there to do that. We’ll have a bit of a chinwag about what’s happening in the currency markets.”
A distributor and wholesaler of barbeque units and accessories, Hark Enterprises has grown alongside the deeply ingrained barbeque culture in Australia. The business also imports a range of US style BBQ smoking products.
The question on Tim’s mind when they first started dealing in US dollars was simple:
“How could we send currency overseas? Or better yet, buy currency?”
Nothing more complicated than that. And yet, having briefly worked with a bank for his foreign exchange Tim knew there had to be a better, easier alternative to help with business cash flow.
“Cash flow was really the most important thing for us. I turned to OFX (or OzForex as it was then known) and it’s been a simple process ever since”, said Tim.
Like many in the consumer and retail category, Hark Enterprises benefited from the pandemic as consumers spent more time dining and entertaining at home. The business saw a significant boost to sales – but it wasn’t without its challenges. Shortages of labour, staff and products meant it couldn’t get stock fast enough to keep up with demand.
And the business is still feeling the headwinds of the pandemic. Shipping costs have gone through the roof, and the length of time to get things produced has blown out from 30 days to around 90 days. All this can have a compounding effect on cash flow.
By his own retrospective reckoning, Tim was very much a junior when he first started the business and dealing in foreign currency back in 2004. And when it comes to currency movements, safe to say he’s seen it all; from the Australian dollar highs of $1.10 against the US dollar to most recently, lows of US$0.55 reached at the height of the pandemic.
“It can be hard to manage cash flow with the huge swings we’ve seen in the dollar. Thankfully, OFX’s platform makes it easy. You can go online and check live rates very quickly.”
“For a while when we were working with larger retailers, we also used Forward Contracts to protect us from those large swings.”
Forward contracts allow businesses to lock in a favourable rate for up to 12 months, so that businesses know the exchange rate at the time the transfer takes place.
“Contracts would be three or six months out, so [for example] we’d sign a deal in January and deliver it to the customer in May. We’d get a Forward Contract for that currency for that date to give us more certainty.”
So with 18 years of experience up his sleeve, what’s Tim’s advice for other businesses moving money cross-border? Act quickly, make a decision and run with it.
“My business is not foreign currency. I’m better off focusing on my business, getting the supply chain right, supporting the dealers, and giving a great service to my clients, rather than worrying about foreign currency. That’s where OFX has been great – very simple to use, all running behind the scenes, so I can focus on the things in the business that I have more control over.”
One word to describe OFX? Easy.