Few companies come close to Visa in terms of the number of daily foreign exchange transactions, yet the company struggled with a hidebound spreadsheet-based system to assess the effectiveness of its hedging strategy.
Visa's credit cards are used in more than 200 countries, and its volume of transactions reached $4.4 trillion in 2009. But its processes for managing the related FX risks were antiquated. "We were beset by a historically and manually intensive FAS 133 hedge accounting process that was partially outsourced to a third-party vendor and globally distributed, with the accounting work done in four different places around the world," says Alan Weindorf, Visa's senior business leader for treasury. "It was very cumbersome, to say the least." He adds that from his perspective as the person in charge of FX risk management, "it was also untenable."