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Congratulations to Microsoft, for winning the 2020 Gold Alexander Hamilton Award in Operational Risk Management!

For more than a decade, Microsoft has used SWIFT to connect internal systems with external financial institutions. As other processes became increasingly automated over the years, the SWIFT connectivity became vital to the company’s operations.

Today, the Microsoft treasury group manages 1,300 accounts in 85 banks around the world. “We send about $300 billion a year in payments through SWIFT, and we receive status messages in return,” explains Lisa Wagner, group manager for cash operations within Microsoft treasury. “Our accounts payable [A/P] and supply-chain payments move an additional $60 billion to $100 billion through SWIFT every year. On top of that, treasury also gets electronic bank statements on a daily basis, and the statements are large—an individual statement may include thousands of transactions.”

When a bank statement comes in, it auto-posts to Microsoft’s general ledger. The balance on the customer accounts reflect the payments on the statement, which frees up customer credit and enables Microsoft to make additional sales to that customer. If this functionality were unavailable for a period of time, the outage might hamstring the sales team’s ability to sell to certain customers. Moreover, having real-time access to bank statement information enables Microsoft treasury to optimally fund all 1,300 accounts, to maximize the company’s global investment returns.

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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