November 29, 2021

BlackLine’s 2021 Modern Accounting Awards Honor Transformational Achievements

4-minute read

We are excited to announce the winners of our 2021 Modern Accounting Awards. This is our third year of recognizing customers that have achieved transformational outcomes by going beyond traditional manual accounting processes to embrace modern accounting.  

The 2021 winners—spanning multiple industries and regions—demonstrate excellence in using BlackLine’s market-leading solutions for financial close, intercompany accounting, and accounts receivable (AR) automation and join notable past award recipients including Domino’s, McKesson, SiriusXM, and Zurich North America.

2021 Modern Accounting Award Winners

The Unifier 

This award is for the company that has overcome the challenges inherent in a complex finance technology landscape by unifying data, processes, and visibility to deliver accurate results faster.

This year’s winner is Dentsu International, a marketing, media, and digital communications company. Their transformative vision is to integrate and unify their global agency network through simplified and standardized systems and processes.

Dentsu International is using BlackLine across 60 countries, with over 1,000 entities, and more than 50 different enterprise resource planning systems (ERPs). They are driving tremendous results including achieving 80% auto-certification of hundreds of thousands of account reconciliations, and seamlessly completing fully virtual BlackLine deployments for 64 of the entities since the global pandemic hit.

Paul Gordon, group financial controller at Dentsu, noted that the company has been on a growth journey since 2012, including a lot of M&A activity. The company aims to become a simplified, unified organization, but challenges include its many markets and systems.

Dentsu has achieved impressive results, and they highlighted the rich source of data that BlackLine provides, which helps inform and drive their ongoing transformation. Since they implemented BlackLine in 2019, they’ve seen their global usage go from 65% at the end of 2020, to currently over 90%, and their goal is to have 100% by end of Q1 2022.

The Accelerator

This category honors the company that has automated routine accounting work to save time and refocus finance professionals on strategic business initiatives, revolutionizing finance and accounting use cases with process design and automation.

This year’s award goes to FWD Insurance, a multinational insurance company, for embracing enhanced capabilities to load massive amounts of data into BlackLine.

FWD came online with BlackLine three years ago, and they have been adding modules ever since. The solutions are part of strategic investment in the Finance department to improve processes.

Chief Financial Officer Raymond Lo noted that the company’s digital transformation allows them to remain nimble and capable and adapt to rapid market changes. They have ultimately matched over a million previously manual line items automatically and freed up team resources for an impending migration to Oracle ERP Cloud.

Raymond offers this advice: every single step counts. Don’t overlook small changes, because when you combine them all, the whole journey can be a success. Small wins help build momentum and allow you to identify areas for improvement with automated solutions.

The Closer 

This award is for the company that embraces Continuous Accounting, distributing close tasks across the period to reduce month-end workloads, speeding up the close process, and supporting the business in real time.

This year, we’re honoring Flowers Bakeries LLC, a subsidiary of Flowers Foods, one of the largest producers of packaged bakery foods in the United States– including brands like Nature’s Own, Dave’s Killer Bread, Wonder, Canyon Bakehouse and Tastykake. Their F&A teams are using the entire suite of BlackLine solutions to reduce month-end bank reconciliations from up to 15 days in the past to just two days.

VP of Plant Finance Linda Jones noted how the Flowers Bakeries team has embraced every step of their finance transformation journey with BlackLine. They’ve recognized a lot of efficiencies, eliminated unnecessary steps, experienced high quality account reconciliation across all locations, and the transition has created excitement and momentum.

The Modernizer 

This category recognizes the company that embraces modern accounting, moving from traditional chaotic processes to building a proactive, predictable, and fast F&A function.  

This year’s award goes to Atlantic Union Bank, a premier financial services provider to the mid-Atlantic region, for adopting a culture of continuous improvement, embracing the value of technology to improve systems and processes, and seamlessly moving its F&A teams to remote work at the start of the global pandemic.

Lori Bevans, director of accounting operations, noted that it would be hard to believe they could have transitioned to remote work in the past 18 months without BlackLine. In fact, they didn’t skip a beat because they’d already gone paperless with the solution.

Prior to BlackLine, it would have been nearly impossible, because so much was manually signed on paper. They literally used a paper cart to shuttle reconcilements around for review and signing.

Atlantic Union Bank’s major success story is auto-certification and the touchless abilities with BlackLine. They have seen an increase in auto-certification of account reconciliations from 41% to 72%, significantly reducing duplicative data entry.

The Capitalizer 

Finally, this award is for the company that consistently unlocks working capital held hostage by their customers, and that has gone on to achieve operational excellence by unifying data and processes—all with the deployment of AR automation.

This year, we’re honoring Creditsafe, a global provider of business credit reports, for achieving an 85% to 95% multi-currency matching rate. This has enabled their AR team to focus on debt collection using clean, accurate, and up-to-date sales ledgers and also for standardizing processes across countries using BlackLine’s unified platform for AR automation.

Global Head of Credit & Collections Jason Braidwood and his team were tasked with updating their old systems to obtain an automated cash and collection suite, but they struggled to find one that met their expectations. When they saw a demo of BlackLine, it seemed almost too good to be true!

Like many companies, Creditsafe used to do things in outdated and long-winded ways, but BlackLine now gives them greater transparency with AR ledgers across the globe and more confidence with forecasting. Speed is of the essence, and now they get more done, quicker.

Jason has high praise for the BlackLine team for always listening to his needs which really helps him in his day-to-day job. In his view, using automated systems is the way to go to help his team collect cash in a much shorter space of time.

True Trailblazers in Accounting & Finance

"We're honored to recognize these customers that are setting the standard for true modern accounting and defining digital finance transformation," says BlackLine CEO Marc Huffman. 

"Each of the winners has made incredible strides optimizing and automating critical processes in their finance and accounting organizations so they can deliver strategic value to the business."

Entries were evaluated and winners selected by a team of BlackLine digital finance transformation experts. Award winners were celebrated on the (virtual) main stage at BeyondTheBlack, where they also shared their transformation stories in featured breakout sessions.

Watch this session on demand, along with any other keynotes or breakouts you missed during the live event.

BlackLine Magazine

Modern Accounting