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Even a global company that has developed sophisticated processes across most of treasury can have blind spots. A couple of years ago, Mastercard’s treasury function used manual and Excel-based workflows to manage corporate debt issues, investment of excess cash, and foreign exchange (FX) hedges’ reconciliation and recordkeeping processes.

The company was using spreadsheets to track all aspects of its debt. “As our business grew, we went from having no bonds outstanding to having several issues with different maturities,” says Joshua Krongold, vice president of corporate treasury for Mastercard. “Interest payments were due at different times of the year, and an individual on the team that issued the bond was fully responsible for knowing when to make each payment. We risked making late payments because managing the details of our debt was so cumbersome in Excel.”

At the same time, business units around the world were investing their excess cash locally. Mastercard’s treasury activity policy required the treasury function to approve these deposit investments, and this process was also quite cumbersome. “The approval process varied depending on the notional amount of the deposit, but it involved either emails or signatures on paper forms,” explains Frank Falzon, director of corporate treasury. “Approvals were hard to keep track of and could be quite slow, creating risks around both accuracy and the loss of potential interest income. We also were not systematically calculating what our interest should be, before reconciling our accounts to our bank statements.”

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Meg Waters

Meg Waters is the editor in chief of Treasury & Risk. She is the former editor in chief of BPM Magazine and the former managing editor of Business Finance.

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