Best Card Solution Highly Commended: Tableau Software

Published: Jul 2019


Photo of Jacey Quinn, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, collects the award on behalf of Tableau Software and Meg Coates.

Ed Barrie

Senior Director, Treasury


Tableau Software produces interactive data visualisation products focused on business intelligence allowing people to see and understand their data.

in partnership with

Plenty of benefits for Tableau Software as it opts for a single global card programme provider

The challenge

With three different card programmes being operated across two separate financial institutions, Tableau’s treasury team was responsible for managing a domestic programme for the US, as well as two international programmes out of local bank branches in Asia Pacific and EMEA.

This used multiple online card management portals, but in one case, no portal at all. In that case, all processes were paper-based, taking up to eight weeks to issue or cancel a card.

Tableau lacked a centralised repository for aggregating card data which could be mined for critical spend insights. Only the company’s US card programme fed into the employee expense management portal; all international card transactions were entered manually.

A further challenge was the initiation of unnecessarily high foreign exchange (FX) fees, when cards denominated in one currency were issued to employees in another country, thereby incurring FX conversion expenses for every transaction.

Because of these cross-border transactions, the parent company had to execute intercompany recharges to subsidiaries in other regions in order to recoup these payments. This in turn created more intercompany FX transactions and manual reconciliations for global treasury and accounting teams, and statutory reporting requirements.

The solution

Treasury decided to move to a single global card programme provider. This provider would have to be able to offer subprogrammes for each subsidiary, in their local or functional currency, and have to self-issue cards in the majority of countries that Tableau has subsidiaries, as well as in countries the company is looking to expand into in the future.

Further, all transactional data had to be automatically fed into Tableau’s employee expense management portal and data warehouse daily to give treasury access to richer analytics.

After an exhaustive RFP process, Tableau selected Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Best practice and innovation

Now all card transactions feed into the company’s expense management system globally, delivering increased automation, visibility and transparency. Sub-programmes are initiated for each legal entity with the cards issued in the functional currency of each entity, reducing FX conversions and related FX transaction costs.

The programme offers a consistent and standardised employee card management solution, complete monitoring and global alerting capabilities. Data feeds provide an end-of-day global card report, including card limit, current balance and key card attributes. Tableau imports this data into its data warehouse, enabling treasury to effectively monitor card use.

The system provides a daily automated comparison of the email address on the card to the global employee directory, moving from a manual quarterly user/card reconciliation to a daily automated reconciliation. The treasury team is also able to monitor card balances versus set limits, enabling administrators to take proactive measures to adjust those limits if needed, reducing inconvenience for employees. Card balance monitoring also allows the company to actively keep card limits as low as possible, reducing the potential risk of fraud and misuse.

The programme feeds total outstanding balances on each subsidiary’s programme into the cash flow forecast for the applicable bank account, ensuring funds are paid out of on the settlement date of the billing cycle. Daily transaction data also feeds into the company’s data warehouse and enables enhanced reporting and analytics.

Key benefits

  • Makes entire programme more efficient and easier to manage.
  • Employees no longer manually input card transactions into expense management portal.
  • Delivers increased automation, visibility and transparency.
  • Reduces FX conversions and related FX transaction costs.
  • Allows stakeholders (such as tax and global liquidity) to gather data for improved efficiency, internal audits, controls and managing risk.
  • Allows administrators to monitor deactivated cards and for treasury to check any unreconciled transactions in the expense management portal.

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