Bespoke financial management: The Salesforce BAM tool
Salesforce’s proprietary Bank Account Management (BAM) tool exemplifies the evolution from a simple shared spreadsheet to a sophisticated solution, providing efficient, secure, and holistic financial management while continuously innovating for future needs.
In the contemporary era of financial technology, companies often find themselves grappling with solutions that can seamlessly manage their operations, maintain stringent controls, and provide vital transparency. The traditional approach to bank account management, unfortunately, often falls short in these areas, unable to cater to evolving corporate dynamics and multifaceted operational complexities.
Salesforce’s solution to this ubiquitous dilemma comes in the form of a homegrown software: the Bank Account Management (BAM) tool. As a testament to the power of ingenuity and innovative spirit, this custom-built tool provides a comprehensive, user-friendly, and efficient platform to streamline financial operations.
A tool born from necessity
Salesforce, a global powerhouse with numerous entities and countless bank accounts, found themselves in dire need of an all-encompassing tool that would enhance their financial operations. The initiative to develop this tool was not part of Salesforce’s treasury team’s regular job description, but they saw an opportunity to improve operations and took the lead.
The development of the BAM tool was not an overnight success but rather a meticulously planned and executed endeavour. The tool evolved from a precursor tool that initially allowed for capturing approval workflow for manual wires. It has since developed into a comprehensive solution, proving its worth by providing unparalleled flexibility and customization.
Linda Xu and Dafina Hajrullahu, senior treasury managers at Salesforce, stand as the primary creators of the BAM tool. They emphasise its merits, particularly spotlighting its scalability and adaptability. Xu states, “The tool’s standout feature is its customizable nature, facilitating smooth integration of new businesses or acquisitions.” The Salesforce treasury team is also set to share their expertise at the 2023 EuroFinance International Treasury Management.
Apart from operational advantages, the BAM tool significantly enhances inter-team collaboration and communication. Its integrated legal entity module enables teams to monitor acquisitions, manage accounts, and strategize liquidations efficiently. Hajrullahu further explains, “This integration offers a clear overview within our team regarding acquisitions, especially when considering account management and liquidation.
A further feature that warrants discussion is the BAM tool’s ability to display all relevant account information, offering a transparent and holistic view of the company’s financial status. It supports the creation of dashboards to visualise and track these tasks, contributing to an improved understanding of the company’s standing and enhancing decision-making processes.
However, despite its array of capabilities, the BAM tool does not currently support cash forecasting capabilities. Samuel Vallotton, VP of global treasury at Salesforce, clarified that while the tool could be customised to include this feature, the decision on whether to do so, has not been made.
The success of the BAM tool is also evidenced by the auditors’ endorsement. They were presented with cleaner, easy-to-review reports that not only meet but surpass stringent auditing requirements. Hajrullahu says, “They loved the report, it was a lot cleaner, was easier for them to review than what we have presented before.”
One of the significant aspects of the BAM tool’s success lies in its robust security and control provisions. In the realm of financial operations, this is an aspect of paramount importance. The treasury team at Salesforce has meticulously ensured these provisions, thereby assuring that the tool is equipped to manage sensitive financial data securely.
Evolving capabilities and future plans
The Salesforce team behind the BAM tool has an unwavering commitment to innovation. Their roadmap includes integrating Salesforce Product Service Cloud for email case handling, introducing Tableau for advanced dashboarding capabilities, and exploring potential integrations like DocuSign. As Xu puts it, “The next thing that we’re working on is integrating with our Salesforce Service Cloud so that we can have case emails handled by that tool. And also we’re looking at integrating Tableau because right now our tool can only do so much with the dashboard.”
However, as with any homegrown solution, the BAM tool has its limitations. It is not yet optimised to effectively manage virtual accounts, but the treasury team counters this by over-reporting rather than under-reporting for SOX requirements. Hajrullahu discusses the issue, saying, “When it comes to Sox, we’re very careful, we would rather over-report than under-report. So, our Sox process is very, very tight.”
Despite its advanced capabilities, the BAM tool has not replaced spreadsheets. The ubiquitous tool still plays a crucial role in generating reports fed by the BAM tool, ensuring seamless transition and collaboration with existing systems. Vallotton admits, “There’s still a very heavy Excel-based process and we’re looking to change that.”
Salesforce’s BAM tool represents an exciting leap in financial management. While it might not be flawless, its inherent capacity to customise and adapt to changing needs, coupled with the relentless innovative spirit of the team behind it, makes it a promising contender in the financial management landscape. This endeavour is not merely about a tool, but a testament to an innovative spirit driven by a commitment to overcoming limitations and delivering operational efficiency. As Vallotton perfectly sums it up, “It’s not only about the tool, but also about the team that stands behind it and the company culture that fosters such innovation.”
The salesforce team will be speaking at the 32nd annual EuroFinance International Treasury Management this September 27th-29th in Barcelona. Learn more about their journey to eBAM implementation, the resources required and benefits brought to the treasury, the cash management process, and the business as a whole. Find out more about this year’s event and book your ticket today.