A shared service model for accounting and accounting services is a common structure in the defense industry. This model is difficult to implement without the necessary tools to facilitate communications and workflow. BlackLine’s Financial Close Suite is completely browser-based, making information and documents accessible anywhere, anytime.
A typical use of BlackLine’s Account Reconciliation module in this environment allows the shared service staff to complete the reconciliations, including the attachment of any supporting documents, a shared service manager to approve it, and then a final review by the business owner at a remote business unit. With the options of adding comments, documents, or even rejecting the reconciliation, the flow of information is unimpeded by distance or time zones.
Multiple General Ledgers
Many defense contractors have grown substantially with rapid acquisitions. This sometimes presents integration challenges, which can result in dozens (sometimes hundreds) of different general ledgers in use at a given company.
The architecture of BlackLine’s Financial Close Suite addresses these issues. With a hierarchical entity structure embedded in the application, business units only see the appropriate amount of information relevant to their balances and operations. Balances are imported via a simple balance sheet extract upload and can be administered centrally or by Local Administrators, making it very easy for independent business units to integrate with and utilize BlackLine.
Some of BlackLine’s defense clients are large, multinational corporations. BlackLine’s Financial Close Suite will automatically translate to 15 different languages based upon browser settings.
The full multi-currency support built into BlackLine’s Financial Close Suite integrate with all different types of general ledgers, allowing either native currency balances to be imported or exchange rates to be utilized to impute corresponding balances.
With global operations, companies may need the additional capability of performing different kinds of reconciliations such as Statutory, GAAP, or IFRS.
Finally, BlackLine’s full-featured Learning Management System, called BlackLine U, contains more than 100 different training classes that are available 24 hours a day. As BlackLine continues to grow its international client base more training classes will be offered in languages other than English.
Flux (or Variance) Analysis is utilized by some defense clients as part of their internal financial reporting process, as an early indicator of risk and areas of concern that need to be researched.
BlackLine Variance Analysis module, part of the Financial Close Suite, allows the configuration of variance rules which define which accounts get monitored for both value and percentage delta thresholds and subsequent analysis.
With flexible grouping, easy links to related account reconciliations, automated monitoring and workflow, and extended reporting, BlackLine’s Variance Analysis module can greatly simplify flux analysis and provide rapid information flow that can highlight a company’s risk points with little manual intervention.
Companies of all sizes have to deal with bank reconciliations. BlackLine facilitates this process with automated imports of bank files, rapid rule setting for transaction matching, the creation of manual journals needed to reflect bank transactions, corrective journals when matches are not precise, and ties to account reconciliations for incorrect or uncleared items.
By automating and streamlining this process, many hundreds of hours are saved each month by BlackLine clients. This metric obviously varies given the number of bank accounts, other systems in place, both treasury and GL, and the reliance upon spreadsheet macros. Even smaller companies can save time and money utilizing BlackLine for bank reconciliations.