When Timothy Winston joined Paxar Corp. as treasurer last year, he was aware that foreign currency exposure was one area where the $881 million company was lacking in best practices. The White Plains, N.Y.-based manufacturer, which provides bar code and radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to the retail and apparel industries, has operations in 40 countries and transactions in 45 to 55 currencies. But there was no standardization of currency reporting: information was keyed onto spreadsheets at the local operating level and then at the corporate level again; by the time it arrived, the information was stale. So, Winston turned to an on-demand foreign exchange software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution from FIREapps, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based risk management outsourcing firm. The information is uploaded on the Web through the FIREapps system, and treasury can drill down into the exposures and take the steps to manage the forex risk.

Now, FIREapps 3.5 has been released. Among the update's new capabilities are: automated extracts of exposure data from enterprise resource planning and general ledger systems to further reduce data entry errors; Web-based exposure analytics and trend reporting to ensure that decisions are based on accurate data; and integration with FX trading platforms to streamline transaction management.

Key to FIREapps 3.5 is its emphasis on FAS 52 compliance, an accounting rule for foreign exchange reporting. "Few companies have gotten FAS 52 right. Under a worst-case scenario, it can lead to a restatement," says Andy Gage, FIREapps' vice president for marketing. Adds CEO Wolfgang Koester: "FIREapps helps companies understand where they stand with respect to FAS 52. We can provide exceptions reports that highlight inconsistencies that illuminate problems and may be indicative of potential lack of compliance."

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