|Financial Close, Reconciliations||BlackLine|
A Finance division of one of the world’s largest beverage companies was faced with a complex and cumbersome reconciliation process due to having multiple systems and processes. For example, each region determined what type of supporting documentation and technology they would use. The regions also set the frequency of their reconciliations, as well as who was involved and what training materials they needed.
The result was a lack of standardization and no access to big-picture analytics throughout their financial close. Each region created and collected its own metrics and maintained the administration and change management of the technology.
The overall process was time-consuming, involving more than 800 associates spending 14,000 hours a month just on reconciliations.
The beverage company wanted a cloud-based, globally accessible reconciliation solution with a few non-negotiable features: auto-certification, administration rules and auto alerts, enhanced reporting and analytics, and real-time dashboards. After conducting customer reference calls with companies of a similar size, the beverage company selected BlackLine.
As part of the implementation, the company created a global business process lead role. Part of this role was to drive standardization and improve controls, rather than the approach in the past – allowing each region to customize the technology to its local needs. This new role and process coincided with rolling out BlackLine. Combined, these efforts enabled the company to fix and standardize its process.
The company has realized significant benefits since adopting BlackLine. The beverage manufacturer was able to reduce the number of employees involved in reconciliations by 55%, with further efficiencies expected. The company was also able to increase its productivity by allowing employees to focus on analysis. In just one region, the manufacturer was able to reassign 40% of its balance sheet reconciliations to a central team in one of the company’s hubs.
Additionally, the company has saved $0.6 million per year through increased productivity. This is a result of BlackLine automating much of the reconciliation process. Team members spend less time on routine tasks, which saves money and enables the accountants to focus on discrepancies and analysis.
With BlackLine, the company now has a consistent methodology for the preparation and management of all reconciliations, regardless of region. It has a prescribed approach to preparing and documenting reconciliations.
Before implementing BlackLine, reconciliations were handled regionally, which hindered visibility. BlackLine’s reporting functionality makes critical data very transparent and accessible. The Finance leaders can look at all 250+ legal entities in one dashboard. They can make decisions based on that data, instead of having to talk to 15 – 20 GL managers across the company.