This solution uses cloud technology via a ‘dashboard’ to monitor all short-term investments for working capital cash, assist in generating accounting entries for investments, share investment information with local teams around the world and provide real-time information on investment activity to teams across treasury and tax as well as senior management.
Photo of Richard Parkinson and Bill Salada, Google.
Senior Treasury Analyst
Google is a leading internet company, with headquarters in Mountain View, California and offices all over the world. In 2014, it reported revenues of $66bn and net income of $14.4bn. International revenue accounted for 57% of total revenue in 2014.
Investing working capital cash for a company with a global footprint requires tight co-ordination between teams across treasury and geographies. Investing can become challenging without a central monitoring and collaboration tool.
Some of the challenges faced by Google’s treasury included: teams across treasury not having real-time visibility into invested balances; the short-term cash investments team managing investments without an aggregation system; having to generate manual reporting for senior management; communicating trades to accounting and risk management teams infrequently during the month due to offline spreadsheets; and being susceptible to spreadsheet/computer crashes.
To solve these challenges, Google treasury created a Worldwide Short-Term Investments Dashboard. This is a cloud-based solution which is able to monitor all short-term investments for working capital cash, assist in generating accounting entries for investments, share investment information with local teams around the world, and provide real-time information on investment activity to teams across treasury and tax, as well as senior management.
Ronni Horrillo, Assistant Treasurer at Google explains “the dashboard was built in Google Sheets using Appscript and other tools built into Google Spreadsheets. The dashboard provides a summary snapshot of investments and upcoming maturities by displaying numbers of days left to maturity, currency, counterparty, and invested amount in local currency and US dollar.”
In addition, the dashboard displays a summary view of investment amounts by counterparty bank, country, and region; thus allowing a quick view into outstanding exposures. It is also able to seamlessly calculate weighted-average maturity, weight-average yield and forecasted interest income and other key statistics.
The dashboard reads trade data entered into worksheets in Google Sheets; the trade data entry is designed to be in an accounting-friendly format, so that the team can directly determine entries using real-time trade data in the file. The dashboard dynamically updates to display a summary snapshot of investment maturities and counterparty exposures as new investment trades are entered and existing investments mature. It summarises investments that are maturing first, to investments maturing later, for each currency/entity/counterparty combination and dynamically colour-codes investments in a spectrum of red to green based on numbers of days to maturity; thus providing actionable insight for investments that are coming to maturity or that need to be rolled over.
The dashboard also links to another Google Sheet that provides FX rates published by the foreign exchange team, and therefore displays real-time US dollar-equivalent values of all investments based on the latest enterprise-wide published FX-rates. The data is also shared with the risk management group, providing more visibility into aggregate enterprise-wide counterparty exposures.
As the dashboard is hosted in the cloud it provides increased transparency, enables quick investment monitoring, facilitates greater cross-functional collaboration, reduces operational and financial risk and is a quick and easy to use, low-cost, scalable solution.
“The dashboard provides a customised solution tailored to Google’s working capital investment strategies as there were not many third-party systems that were customisable and met Google’s needs. In addition, most systems did not offer the collaboration and accessibility benefits of the cloud-based dashboard,” notes Horrillo.
Best practice and innovation:
The Worldwide Investment Dashboard harnesses the power of cloud technology to display real-time investment information and summary snapshots to senior management as well as treasury teams across the world, enabling greater transparency, collaboration, and accessibility, whilst simultaneously reducing operational and financial risk and streamlining processes. The real-time accessibility provided by this cloud-based solution is especially important in effectively managing a global multi-currency portfolio of operational cash investments in a centralised treasury setting as it provides better communication and collaboration with local, in-country teams.
The solution is quite unique as it provides a mobile app-like interface that dynamically displays investment snapshots, can be viewed on mobile as well as desktop, does not require any installation or expensive software, is always backed up, can be accessed anywhere in the world, and provides a customised solution for working capital cash investment management.