Foreign currency exchange is the buying or selling of one country’s currency for another. A bank or dealer who conducts foreign currency transactions for customers typically quotes currency prices to four decimal places, the last of which is called a basis point, or pip. For example, it may cost $1.4023 to purchase one euro. In this quote, the “3” is one basis point. If your company sells products in another currency, you may experience a foreign currency exchange gain or loss if the exchange rate increases or decreases in basis points by the time you collect money on your invoices. Many businesses deal with this on an ongoing basis, since they seem to always hold foreign monetary assets. Finding the amount of gain or loss on those assets can be critical in deciding whether or not it's a wise business move to continue to do business in a particular currency.
Determine the Amount
To get started, take a look at your records and determine the amount of money for which you sell a product on credit in a foreign currency and the exchange rate at the time of the sale. For example, assume that a customer agrees to pay you 10,000 euros within 30 days for the purchase of your product and that the exchange rate is $1.2555 per euro at the time of the sale.
Multiply the exchange rate by the amount of the sale to determine the amount of your account receivable in U.S. dollars. An account receivable is an amount a customer owes you. In this example, multiply 10,000 euros by $1.2555 to get a $12,555 account receivable.
Find the Exchange Gain or Loss
Determine the exchange rate at the time you collect the money on the account receivable. In this example, assume the exchange rate increased by 200 basis points to $1.2755.
Multiply the new exchange rate by the original amount of the sale in the foreign currency to determine the value of the account receivable in dollars at the time of collection. In this example, multiply 10,000 euros by $1.2755 to get $12,755.
Subtract the original value of the account receivable in dollars from the value at the time of collection to determine the currency exchange gain or loss. A positive result represents a gain, while a negative result represents a loss. In this example, subtract $12,555 from $12,755 to get $200. This represents a $200 foreign currency exchange gain due to the increase in basis points.