If your business issues invoices or makes purchases in a foreign currency , Wave will automatically keep track of how these values convert to your 'home' currency to keep your bookkeeping accurate. If you'd like to understand what Wave is doing 'behind the scenes', then roll up your sleeves as we dive into everything you wanted to know about bookkeeping foreign exchange but were afraid to ask!
Don't care how this works but just want the bookkeeping steps? Jump to Bookkeeping foreign currency transactions in Wave. Wave uses the accrual method of accounting, which means that income and expenditures are recognized at the time they are incurred; not when money changes hands. Using the accrual method gives you the most accurate picture of how your business is performing, but it does open up a question: What if the cash I receive against an invoice is different than the income I originally recognized?
This could happen because you suffer a bad debt or — as we are considering now — because you invoiced in a foreign currency, and the value of that currency amount in your home currency changed between when you created your invoice and when you received payment.
Late last year, you won your first contract with Galactic Tours Mars Inc. You agreed a fixed fee in Martian currency - The Martian Bar. You completed the work by the end of February, and on March 1 st , you invoiced your client the agreed fee of 10, Bars. You invoiced your client using Wave, which recorded the transaction in US Dollars like this:. Wave records the value of the transaction in your base accounting currency: Galactic Tours Mars Inc.
This doesn't make sense! You are right - it doesn't. You've received US Dollars more than you expected, so we need to record that somehow. It's your money - you can keep it or spend it as you please in your business, so perhaps it's income?
Perhaps we should have recorded getting paid like this:. This is better, but it's still not perfect. Your accounting system shouldn't tell you just what you have, what you owe, and what is owed to you; it should also help you analyze and understand what has happened in your business.
Given that's what really happened, that's what your accounts should show. So let's combine all the steps and see everything together:. This time we really are good. Our bookkeeping balances, and accurately depicts what happened.
We have a zero balance in Accounts Receivable; and we do recognize the additional income resulting from the favourable movement in the Martian Bar, but we don't confuse it with our sales revenue. As mentioned previously, when you make transactions in Foreign Currency, Wave does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. In fact, in the example given above, if you went and looked at your Income Statement and Balance Sheet in Wave on March 31st, you would have seen Wave ended up pretty much like in our example: But here's a question: What would Wave show on March 30th, 1 second before you got paid?
If we think about this for a while, it is pretty clear that in the instant before we received the payment assuming we read the galactic financial news from time to time we had a pretty good idea that we were up on our Martian Bar invoice. This is pretty much how Accountants think about Foreign Exchange Gains and losses before you actually receive a payment. Let's go back an look at our Galactic Tours Mars Inc.
Last time we looked at our Galactic Tours transactions, we ended up with this pretty good summary of what had happened:. So how would this look just the second before we receive payment, knowing that instead of a realized gain, we in fact have an unrealized gain?
But now our entries are out of balance. Well, in fact this is pretty easy to figure out, following the same kind of principles we apply to invoiced revenue.
When you invoice a client, you don't know for certain that you are going to get paid. Wave records the invoice value as Sales , and the money you are due to get from your customer but might not as Accounts Receivable. One second before you got paid, you didn't know for certain that Galactic Tours were going to pay. You were still waiting on the Account Receivable. And you didn't know for certain that you were going to make your currency gain. Not only could Galactic Tours have failed to pay; the Martian Bar could have collapsed against the US Dollar just that second before they paid you!
When you are expecting money from a customer, but haven't yet got the cash in the bank, that is Accounts Receivable. So it seems logical that if you are expecting a foreign exchange gain on that money, but it's not yet in the bank, that would also be Accounts Receivable, or at least Something similar to, but not exactly the same as, Accounts Receivable. That hardly rolls off the tongue, and it's not the best description of the asset we are waiting on turning into cash. That asset is simply an unrealized gain on exchange, so why not let's call it that?
They are two different accounts with almost exactly the same name! The discussion above focused on currency exchange gains on an invoice you issued. Handling currency losses, and gains and losses on Bills, is very similar:. You have realized the gain or loss into your bank!
Wave uses published daily mid-market exchange rates to track and report your unrealized foreign currency gains and losses on a daily basis. These may not be precisely the amount you would get if you tried to exchange the money at the bank, but that really doesn't matter: When the exchange rate matters is when currency is actually exchanged: And you tell Wave these numbers. When you create an invoice in a foreign currency, no actual money moves.
Wave calculates the exchange rate for you. There's nothing for you to do! US Company invoicing in Canadian Dollars.
When you record payment into your home currency bank , there is an actual movement of money. Any difference between the amount calculated when the invoice was created and the actual amount you bank will be your realized foreign exchange gain or loss.
As you add details of the invoice payment in Wave, the moment you select a Payment Account that is a different currency to the invoice currency, Wave will show you today's Exchange Rate, and the converted amount. You can, and you should, change the exchange rate so that the Converted amount matches what was actually received in your bank. Wave lets you input the actual exchange rate you achieved, but you don't know that.
You know that amount of money you received in the bank. To get the exchange rate you acheived, divide the value you see arriving in our bank by the amount of the invoice in foreign currency. Enter this number into the Exchange rate box, and check that the Converted amount box is displaying the value you expect.
OK — frequently asked questions is exaggerating. But you're obviously one of the esteemed few who really want to understand their accounting, so here are some of the more common and also more involved questions we get at Wave Support HQ I don't issue invoices or receive bills in foreign currency, but I have a bunch of foreign currency receipts for expenses I paid. How should I bookkeep these? If you don't issue foreign currency invoices to sell on credit, or receive foreign currency bills that you pay later and you don't have any foreign currency bank accounts , there's really no need to concern yourself with foreign currency bookkeeping!
Everything you've read on this page really only applies when there is a gap in time between when you recognize a sale or purchase in your accounting, and when actual money changes hands. If you have a wallet or purse full of receipts that you paid on a foreign business trip, or some regular foreign charge that lands on you credit card each month, simply record as an expense the equivalent in your own currency.
Wave uses a daily updated feed of mid-market exchange rates to calculate the equivalent in your home country of any invoices, bills, or foreign bank deposits you create, and to track unrealized gains and losses from this point.
You are not able to change this exchange rate, but also there is really no need, because your unrealized gains and losses are only ever 'estmates' until they are realized. Whenever there is an actual exchange of funds between accounts in different currencies, however, or to settle a foreign currency bill or invoice, then you are able to input the actual exchange rate achieved.
Gains and losses in Foreign Currency Bank accounts need to be tracked separately by creating one or more Journal Transactions, as detailed in this separate article. Looks like this content is meant for a different version of our accounting application.
Head back to the Help Centre home page to search another topic or check out the related articles on the right. Submit a request Sign in. Sign in with Google. Sign in with Yahoo! Sign Up Your Account. Accounting for Foreign Currency Transactions 1 of 1. Your first sale to Galactic Tours Mars Inc.
You invoiced your client using Wave, which recorded the transaction in US Dollars like this: Perhaps we should have recorded getting paid like this: So let's combine all the steps and see everything together: Galactic Tours Mars Inc, just before we got paid. Last time we looked at our Galactic Tours transactions, we ended up with this pretty good summary of what had happened: Let's go with that for a moment: Handling currency losses, and gains and losses on Bills, is very similar: An unrealized loss on exchange is reported as Unrealized Loss on Foreign Exchange income account , balanced by Unrealized Loss on Exchange liability account.
Currency Exchange when you create a Foreign Currency Invoice When you create an invoice in a foreign currency, no actual money moves. Currency Exchange when you record a payment on a Foreign Currency Invoice When you record payment into your home currency bank , there is an actual movement of money.