From the November 2010 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

Bronze AHA Winner in Technology Excellence

Expanding the best-of-breed integration strategy that enabled Google to take first place in this category last year, the company captures this year's bronze for more pinpointed efforts.

Last year's award recognized Google's integration of seven vendor solutions and its creation of end-to-end automated treasury systems, while this year's applauds initiatives that could broadly impact the treasury.

Google expanded its use of SWIFT messaging--already used by its treasury cash management system--to retrieve payment and collection information files directly from bank partners around the world. Files sent by the Bank of Bangkok, for example, previously passed through Citibank and a vendor intermediary before arriving at Google. Using SWIFT lets Google receive the files directly from the Bank of Bangkok, eliminating the intermediary delays and costs.

"We wanted to become bank agnostic and talk directly to the end bank," says Tejinder Mann, corporate engineering treasury manager at Google.

Mann explains that the old system required proprietary file formats and connectivity that had to be maintained between Google, its intermediaries and its partner banks. Going forward, those banks will use the SWIFT standard, giving the Internet search company greater negotiating leverage.

"The value-add for us is we can easily move away from specific banks, and we can have more competitive conversations with those banks going forward," Mann says.

Another important initiative is Google's adoption of Continuous Linked Settlement (CLS), which provides foreign-exchange settlement solutions and is backed by a consortium of financial institutions. Google is now using CLS to settle investments in foreign-government bonds that provide returns on its working capital parked abroad.

Mann says Google had an incident where a bond that represented a "significant amount of money" was settled twice. "With CLS, we've been able to mitigate the risk of duplicate payments," she says.

Google also built a state-of-the-art trading room this year and integrated SunGard's Quantum investment module, which allows all investment information to be captured and maintained in a central location.

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