LOS ANGELES – April 4, 2019 – Leading financial automation software company BlackLine, Inc. (Nasdaq: BL) and Ellucian, a premier provider of software and services to the higher education market, are teaming up to deliver best-in-class finance controls and automation software solutions to colleges and universities around the world, with BlackLine becoming the first and only financial close automation solution in Ellucian’s partner ecosystem. Together, the companies will help customers undergo a digital financial transformation – automating critical accounting processes, strengthening internal controls and providing near real-time transparency into financial data and transactions.
Higher education institutions typically employ Student Information Systems (SIS) to manage complex processes surrounding student-related data. Unfortunately, SIS Finance systems often have limited automation capabilities with regards to the work accountants do to certify balances and analyze results. As a result, colleges and universities with traditionally small accounting staffs tend to place a large burden on IT to continually export general ledger data, then import it to Excel where the accountants manually ‘tic-and-tie’ to ensure balances are correct. Though finance and accounting staff may be limited, transaction volumes can be huge – creating a massive manual workload. Staff burdened by this do not have the time required to analyze the financial data to help make informed business decisions.
“Higher Education is experiencing a paradigm change, with new pressures to demonstrate quality, efficiency and accountability. The role of the CFO has evolved to that of a strategic partner and advisor to institutional leadership, expected to drive change with financial insights,” said Kevin Guyton, vice president, North America Higher Education, BlackLine. “To meet these increasing demands and achieve operational excellence, institutions are looking to transformative technologies to help innovate and guide decision-making. By partnering with Ellucian, we can help colleges and universities automate their formerly manual and spreadsheet-driven processes and achieve digital transformation in their accounting departments.”
Ellucian works with more than 2,500 educational institutions in more than 50 countries. The alliance with BlackLine will enable deeper integration between Ellucian’s software and BlackLine’s cloud-based financial automation platform resulting in a transformation for finance and accounting staff from performing massively tedious, rote and repetitive manual tasks to contributing to value-added activities that have a strategic impact on business decisions. BlackLine picks up where the SIS Finance system leaves off, bringing organizations using Ellucian’s Banner or Colleague offerings the latest innovations in financial close technology, including BlackLine Transaction Matching powered by machine learning, as well as improved data analysis, compliance and risk management capabilities.
Joint customers already enjoying the benefits of working with both BlackLine and Ellucian include Drexel University, Gonzaga University and University of California, Davis (UC Davis). Additional higher education institutions using BlackLine include Michigan State University, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and Vanderbilt University, among others.
“At Gonzaga, we started using BlackLine alongside Ellucian Banner as a way to automate processes where our accounting software was lacking,” said Michelle Soss, assistant controller, Gonzaga University. “Automating has improved not only our accounting close processes, but also employee morale and access to information. I can’t imagine going back to the old way. Since implementing BlackLine, we now have the time to make a positive impact on higher-value activities.”
“At UC Davis, we were reaching a tipping point where we knew we needed to modernize and start thinking smarter. We were processing so many transactions manually that it didn’t leave time to work on pressing issues that had been neglected,” said Mehdi Tazi, accounting supervisor, University of California, Davis. “Since implementing BlackLine, I now have the time to impact higher-value activities.”
BlackLine will be showcasing its cloud platform in booth No. 947 at Ellucian Live 2019, from April 7 – 10 in New Orleans at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.