Salesforce saves thousands of hours and streamlines lease accounting
Salesforce, a San Francisco-based leader in cloud solutions with offices across the United States, Europe, and Asia and 85,000 employees worldwide, realized in the early 2010’s that the large and complex spreadsheets they were using to manage their 1,500 Tech Equipment leases weren’t going to work anymore. They were also using CoStar to manage their 500 real estate and data center leases.
With new accounting standards on the horizon, and concern about the compliance requirements of those new standards, they knew they would have to move their real estate and data center leases to a platform that could manage the complexities of the standards, while providing the ability to grow with their rapidly expanding organization.
To prepare for the new standards, a large, cross-functional internal team was assigned to select a leasing software provider. This team included leaders from Operations, Corporate Accounting, Finance, and the IT team as well as the Chief Accounting Officer.
After extensive market research by the internal Tech Equipment team, Salesforce invited several solution providers to perform demonstrations of their products, including large software groups as well as some smaller, lease-specific software companies.
“No other competitor was able to provide even a fraction of the options available through LeaseAccelerator.”
Lease Accounting Manager at Salesforce
Salesforce chose LeaseAccelerator for many reasons – the solution was far ahead of meeting the requirements compared to other providers in the lease accounting software industry; the technical expertise and hands-on client service experience was top-notch, and most importantly, LeaseAccelerator offered a comprehensive range of end-of-term (EoT) options.
“No other competitor was able to provide even a fraction of the options available through LeaseAccelerator,” stated Blake Wolffis, Lease Accounting Manager at Salesforce. “The LeaseAccelerator team was most willing… to work with us as we grew and were able to adapt to our ever-evolving business.”
Before implementing LeaseAccelerator, Salesforce had a very decentralized leasing process, which they knew was not sustainable. With the help of LeaseAccelerator, Salesforce created a global Center of Excellence, located with their U.S. Accounting hub in Indianapolis, Indiana.
At first, Salesforce began to set up everything they possibly could in the system but realized this was not the best approach. They took a step back and worked on simplifying their processes and discovered several areas for improvement. They also uncovered an error in their spreadsheets, which could have resulted in Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) risk and issues. SOX compliance was critical during the implementation, which drove Salesforce to design a robust testing strategy and implement integrations to key financial systems, including their Oracle ERP and Blackline.
Salesforce currently uses LeaseAccelerator as their subledger for all leasing activity within their organization, managing the entire $5B lease portfolio through the system. This includes approximately 500 real estate and data center commercial property leases and approximately 1,500 Tech Equipment leases with 120,000 assets.
Salesforce relies on LeaseAccelerator for quarterly Model Audit Rule (MAR) reporting for their SEC 10-Q and 10-K disclosure reports of cash commitments, and monthly ledger export data is integrated directly into their Oracle ERP for all financial reporting purposes. They also use LeaseAccelerator’s SOC1 for SOX compliance for both internal and external SOX auditing.
With LeaseAccelerator, Salesforce can perform data upload and analysis, data integration and updates via API, and use canned and BI reporting for asset management, account reconciliation, tax reporting, full accounting and portfolio analysis, and SEC reporting.
As they continue to evolve as an organization, Salesforce plans to further automate all their lease accounting processes. They are working toward internal solutions to coordinate lease data extraction using internal tools to convert and load the data directly into LeaseAccelerator via API.
The insights from LeaseAccelerator have helped many areas of the business for Salesforce. Their Data Solutions team can make strategic business decisions by accessing real-time asset data and projected spend. The Operations, Controllership, Tax and Finance teams have a single source of the truth for all lease-related portfolio and accounting activity. They now have a central repository for all leasing documentation and accounting detail. And the combination of automated data integrations with their ERP system creates a streamlined SOX compliance and support solution.
Lease Accounting Manager at Salesforce