The following article by Joachim Wettermark, Executive Vice President and Treasurer at Salesforce, is an excerpt from Journeys to Treasury, a unique collaboration between BNP Paribas, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), SAP, and the European Association of Corporate Treasurers (EACT).*
By 2025, the role of corporate treasurer will look totally unlike it did a decade ago. The need to manage liquidity and risk internationally is becoming more important, and the job is changing, too. Treasurer roles are expanding, the required skills changing, and both data and technology are transforming the treasury.
To keep up, treasurers need to embrace an evolving skillset and develop cultures that entice new talent. That’s already a priority for Salesforce. Though our treasury is relatively new, we’re constantly looking ahead and positioning our team to support the company through its extraordinary growth.
Building a treasury amidst global expansion
Salesforce grew from $1.7B in revenue in 2011 to $13.28B in 2018 with a steep upward trajectory ahead. As we transitioned from a U.S. business to a complex international group, we’ve added layers of complexity into our treasury activities, like foreign exchange, free cash flow management, and modeling, capital markets, and liability management.
We disseminated our treasury across the business as Salesforce expanded, with regional centers in Switzerland and Singapore. We also conduct some treasury activities within local business entities to remain close to internal customers.
We maintain a central view of cash and risk, and consistent processes and controls to avoid fragmentation as the business expands. We also encourage relationships across the globe by rotating employees, promoting travel, and regular meetups.
A company-wide culture of integration
This integrated management approach goes beyond our treasury. Senior leaders across Salesforce play a role in account management and customer relationships. I sponsor five large accounts, which allows me to appreciate the needs of our internal and external customers.
People and culture are central to our treasury’s success. Now that Salesforce has built a reputation, we find talent easier to attract than in our early days. Our San Francisco location is particularly attractive, with a young team that socializes together, building connections that encourage collaboration. We also provide valuable career experience by rotating staff through different roles throughout the company.
Some of our employees never considered corporate treasury before, but we welcome different experiences and backgrounds. It enriches our culture, perspectives, and decision-making.
Managing complex growth
One of the most complex aspects of our growth trajectory is our level of M&A. We acquired 17 companies in 2018 alone, and the trend is set to continue. It’s important to gain visibility and control over cash and risk quickly, so treasury tends to be involved early in the M&A process.
Although the M&A process is quite efficient, it can take time for all of the pieces to fall into place. As many acquired businesses are small, without a dedicated treasury function, merging treasury teams is not usually an issue. Even so, we have acquired some excellent people in treasury as a result of M&A.
A forward-looking approach
We have ambitious plans to achieve revenues of $32B by 2024. This is not a static target, but one step in an evolving growth strategy that constantly considers a five-year time horizon.
A forward-looking approach helps prioritize our activities, and to plan our organizational design and skillsets. It’s also instrumental in defining our reputation as a leading employer that hires, develops, and promotes the treasurers of the future, benefitting both Salesforce and the wider treasury community.
* Original article can be found here.
Bank of the West is part of the BNP Paribas group of companies. Facts and opinions expressed herein are based on a variety of sources which the author believes to be reliable, however we make no representation as to the accuracy and completeness of such information and Bank of the West does not accept any liability in this respect. The discussions and information contained in this document are the opinions of the author as of publication date and should not be construed or used as a specific recommendation. This material and its content are for information and discussion purposes only.