While Medtronic was making headlines in June as one of its defibrillators was implanted in Vice President Dick Cheney, its corporate treasurer was toiling over the geometry of days sales outstanding (DSOs) while its CFO was nailing down another acquisition.

It was business as usual at the Minneapolis-based maker of medical devices, and that's what has endeared the rapidly growing company to investors.

Medtronic–whose co-founder Earl Bakken invented the first battery-operated pacemaker in 1957–dominated the market for heart-treatment devices long before one found its way into the Second Chest. But as the company grew, and expanded into other medical markets, it found that its strategic ambitions sometimes outpaced its balance-sheet management.

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Susan Kelly

Susan Kelly is a business journalist who has written for Treasury & Risk, FierceCFO, Global Finance, Financial Week, Bridge News and The Bond Buyer.