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Twelve months ago, the treasury team at Gilead Sciences, Inc., a fast-growing biopharmaceutical business that develops and produces treatments for some of the world’s deadliest diseases, faced some critical challenges. The company brings in close to $10 billion in annual revenue through operations in more than 30 countries. Yet its small treasury staff was spending more time on transaction processing than on analysis, and manual data entry put the company at risk for errors.

Treasurer Brad Vollmer decided to revamp his department’s technology infrastructure to automate many of his team’s core duties. He worked with Melissa Cameron, a Deloitte principal who specializes in treasury, to integrate cash management and foreign exchange (FX) systems from forecasting to settlement to accounting. Now many of the previously tedious treasury tasks are automated, reducing the chances of errors and freeing up Vollmer’s staff for more value-added work. Treasury & Risk sat down with Vollmer and Cameron to discuss the project and its results.

T&R:  What were the challenges that your treasury team faced in your legacy environment?

Brad Vollmer:  Well, our treasury ops team, which handles FX, cash management, capital markets, and planning, consists of eight people. For a company with a market cap approaching $90 billion, that’s a pretty small treasury staff. We have approximately 130 bank accounts with 18 banks in 30 countries. We have more than $3 billion worth of securities invested in money market funds, government notes, and corporate securities, both in the U.S. and offshore. We have $7.5 billion in debt, which includes a revolver and convertible notes, as well as straight debt. And our FX portfolio, which we use to hedge risks in 12 different currencies, is worth $4 billion. So the treasury ops team needs to be very efficient.

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