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How Balena uses CurrencyFair's Xero integration to pay a global workforce

CurrencyFair caught up with Michael Wilks, Finance Director at Balena to discuss how CurrencyFair’s new integration with Xero helps his team manage international payments efficiently.

Michael also outlines the benefits of being a remote-first company during the pandemic, and discusses an exciting new project that is making a huge difference for COVID-19 scientific researchers.

Global tech company Balena offers a diverse range of tools that empowers fleet owners to seamlessly build, deploy, and manage fleets of connected Linux devices to develop IoT (Internet of Things) projects.

"Fundamentally we reduce friction for IoT fleet owners to help them get an IoT product into production," Michael says.

"Our core product is a cloud management platform for connected devices, and we focus on finding ways we can improve how people develop, deploy and manage IoT projects at any scale."

A global workforce

"We’re a remote-first company and we’re spread across the world. We’re in approximately 20 countries so even before we start playing clever, we’ve got to pay everyone," he laughs.

"This involves shifting large amounts of money around the world for payroll and other costs. We’re regularly using three currencies and CurrencyFair is a cheaper and more convenient way of switching between them," Michael adds.

CurrencyFair has been servicing businesses for over a decade by providing quick international payments, bank-beating FX rates, and first-class customer support.



“The main advantage of our team using CurrencyFair is the cost-saving and the Xero integration is at our convenience so we don’t have to manually update our books,” Michael says.

“The real advantage Xero has over more traditional systems is that it’s in the cloud, we’re not in one building and we don’t own any servers so the cloud solution makes much more sense for us.”


Headquartered in the UK, Balena also has entities in the US, Italy, and Greece meaning frequent trades in USD, GBP, and EUR.

"The finance team is me as Finance Director in London, a small ops team in Greece and then we’ve got our accountants across the world outsourced so it just means everyone can log into it, and the live bank feeds are actually one of the main attractions, that and the ease of running bank reconciliations.

"Each company is in a different currency, and then even within the companies revenue is in USD. We sell a lot from Italy in USD, so we’re constantly switching between EUR and USD.

"We haven’t used CurrencyFair’s multi-user access feature yet, but as we expand it’s the sort of feature that we will need to use!"


Managing the business during COVID-19

As a remote-first company, the staff at Balena were already accustomed to working from home before the pandemic led to lockdown measures across the globe. During the lockdown across much of Europe and the US, team members at Balena supported their customers by offering tried-and-tested tips and tricks on how to make the transition to remote working as smooth as possible.

In a bid to help scientists researching COVID-19, Balena announced the Fold for Covid project as part of the Rosetta@Home initiative led by the Baker Laboratory at the University of Washington.

The Fold for Covid project allows people across the globe to donate spare computer capacity to assist researchers. So far, over 6,000 people have joined in the fight against COVID-19 by joining the project.

"Anyone in the edge computing space will have a drawer full of old devices! We have over 6,000 devices on it, and we’ve been doing pretty well on the rankings."

"It’s been amazing seeing a large fleet of these tiny devices being able to go toe-to-toe with more normal-scale computing resources," Michael concludes.

Would you like to donate spare computer capacity to help COVID-19 researchers? Join in the fight by visiting


Bank-beating FX rates, fast international transfers, and peace of mind. Sign up for a CurrencyFair Business account today. 

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