|Account Reconciliations, Task Management||BlackLine|
This global hospitality company has a portfolio that includes 618 properties in 51 countries. The company had eliminated spreadsheets from its monthly reconciliation process. But it still had to outsource much of its month-end reconciliations to a service provider in India.
The hospitality firm was using a slow and limited web-based tool to monitor 200+ hotels. It was constantly waiting on reports that would tell them where the hotels were in the close process. The reports were not in real-time and visibility across the process – and across the company – was very limited.
The system also made audits laborious. The team had to manually download statements and sort through backups to collect data for auditors.
To add to the challenge, the company’s task management tool wasn’t fully integrated with the reconciliation data. This meant that the team never had full visibility into dependencies. This resulted in having a separate tool for task monitoring, which slowed down the process even more.
The hospitality company researched the solutions available and decided BlackLine was the best fit. The primary reasons were that BlackLine is cloud-based and would enable the company to grow with the solution. The company also liked the ability to implement BlackLine in stages while still having the full functionality of individual processes. The firm could activate different modules as it needed them.
The team implemented two BlackLine modules, Account Reconciliations and Task Management in only three weeks.
The hospitality company has realized many significant benefits from using BlackLine. For example, the firm has increased visibility and saved time monitoring the month-end close for more than 200 hotels. BlackLine enables the team to know exactly where each hotel is in the close process, in real-time. The team can also hand tasks back and forth without using email, which has resulted in massive time savings. This ensures people are spending time on issues, not on mundane activities such as putting information together. The company estimates it is saving a whole person in a three-month time frame.
One of the crucial aspects of compliance is the segregation of duties. The company’s previous system made it difficult to track and manage dependencies. BlackLine ensures the team follows segregation of duty guidelines – such as preventing the same person from preparing and reviewing data.
BlackLine has also eliminated the team from having to pull data for auditors. Auditors can be given direct access to BlackLine, making audits a “non-event” for the organization. Internal auditors can pull the data they need directly from BlackLine any time they want. External auditors get access to Blackline for a limited period and only lets them see reconciliations that are completed. This is a significant time savings for the hospitality firm.