If you've recently expanded into overseas markets, you may be surprised to learn how complicated -- and costly -- foreign-exchange transactions can get. But once you've learned how to identify (and avoid) some of the hidden costs of that market, you can improve the profitability of your international transactions.

One helpful place to start: Five Strategies for Saving Money and Improving Control Over Foreign Exchange, published by Sonnet Financial (800-272-8339) . It's a free 15-page introduction to the topic by David Spiselman, an executive who has worked in the industry for more than two decades. Particularly useful are discussions of the risks small companies typically face, including cost inefficiencies, miscommunication, and lapses in confidentiality.

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