SAP CFO’s Big Gulps

Finance chief Werner Brandt has handled three multibillion-dollar acquisitions for the enterprise software company since 2008, and now he’s gearing up for a fourth.

For Werner Brandt, CFO of enterprise software company SAP, the biggest challenge of the past few years has been executing, financing and integrating a steady stream of acquisitions. SAP purchased Business Objects for $6.7 billion in 2008, Sybase for $5.8 billion in 2010 and SuccessFactors for $3.4 billion earlier this year. And in May, it agreed to acquire e-commerce company Ariba in a deal valued at $4.3 billion.

When it comes to integrating acquisitions, there is no one-size-fits-all, Brandt says. “One of the learnings for us was that it is good to treat every acquisition differently from an integration perspective, depending on the reasons for the acquisition itself.”

SAP has also been investing in its shared service center infrastructure as another way to improve efficiency. “Finance transactions are managed out of three service centers in Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific,” Brandt continues. “We have all of our transactional processes integrated into the shared service center, including purchase-to-pay, order-to-cash and record-to-report.”

SAP, with 14.2 billion euros ($18.4 billion) in 2011 sales, continues to focus on growth. By 2015, the company aims to achieve revenue of 20 billion euros ($24.6 billion), as well as a non-IFRS operating margin of 35%.

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