BlackLine Blog

March 22, 2023

BlackLine Customer Barentz Discusses Transaction Matching Benefits

Intelligent Automation
3 Minute Read

Jim Buchanan

Share Article

The ins and outs of BlackLine transaction matching—and the benefits that can accrue to a large multi-national—are highlights of the latest BlackLine webinar, The Perfect Match: How Barentz Is Freeing F&A Capacity For What Matters Most.

Early Successes with BlackLine

Barentz, a fast-growing global life-science ingredients supplier with more than 22,000 customers in 67 countries, first brought in BlackLine in 2019 for Account Reconciliations. A year later, the company added Journal Entry automation, and in March 2021, expanded to Transaction Matching for bank reconciliations.

According to Barentz’ Financial Controller Adam Wills, these process upgrades helped the company shorten its close process from 2-3 weeks down to less than a week.

Going Beyond

But a visit to BlackLine’s annual conference, BeyondTheBlack, opened his eyes to a range of new possibilities with BlackLine. “BlackLine was more than just a month-end close tool,” he says. “We realized we wanted to look at every option we could within BlackLine.”

Wills’ team decided the next step would be to implement Transaction Matching for the company’s complex rebate receivables process.

“We were comparing large amounts of data; it was very time-consuming,” he says, with lots of manual manipulation and “a lot of touch points, where things could go wrong and mistakes could be made.”

The process typically took more than six hours to complete. Once Barentz brought in BlackLine Transaction Matching, the company was able to cut that time to an hour or less.

Highlighting Process Details

During the discussion, Wills took a deep dive into topics such as the pain points of Barentz’ manual processes; how to get the most out of BlackLine’s Transaction Matching; how to work with BlackLine’s pass rules; how to move from month-end closes to continuous accounting; and how best to prepare for a major BlackLine implementation.

Manual Pain Points

Barentz’ rebate receivables process required substantial time-consuming manual effort, notes Wills. “We had to download reports, then format those reports, then hide columns, delete columns … just to get started. We would take the reports—all that data—and create massive pivot tables, and we would start building up this huge file that would track month by month in these pivot tables.”

Handling Exceptions with Transaction Matching

BlackLine Transaction Matching lets users like Wills build pass rules to automate the matching process. Transactions that fall within the rules’ boundaries are matched automatically. Those outside the boundaries—the exceptions—are then handled by the F&A team.

As Wills says, “This effectively gets the matching process all the way down field to the 10-yard line. So rather than saying ‘Here’s my list of credits, all my invoices, now I need to do some manual manipulation,’ now we can say, ‘Everything went through the matching tool and hey, for some reason, this fell outside of our defined rule set.’ And now you have a person go in and evaluate one exception—maybe one or two each month … as opposed to what we were previously doing, which was every single transaction.”

Pass Rules: Knowing What You Want to Compare

“We’re not coders,” says Wills. But once you follow BlackLine’s rule-building process, “then the rules somewhat write themselves.

“The key is knowing what you want to compare. How do you get that data together and how do you compare it today, manually? How do you break it down into segments?” With this approach, he says, writing the rules becomes super easy and intuitive.

Moving to Continuous Accounting

In the webinar, Wills explains how the time saved by switching to BlackLine for the rebate receivables process allows his group to apply matching at any point during the month, rather than having to wait for the month-end close. Previously, he says, “the time it took to put this together precluded this from being a pre-close option.”

Now, he says, Barentz has the option to do “frequent touch points throughout the month, and a lot of legwork prior to close.”

Advice to Others

The webinar also offers advice to other companies embarking on process automation upgrades. Some examples: 

  • Start with the problem. “Rather than starting with matching and then going looking for a problem,” says Wills, “start with the problem, and that will help guide you.”

  • Look for low-hanging fruit. With the rebate receivables process, “We knew we would get a big win,” says Wills. “When you’re starting out, getting those wins will make a huge impact.” A win like Barentz’ rebate receivables upgrade is valuable, too, for demonstrating ROI to the executive team.

Watch the on-demand webinar to get further detail including graphics and screen shots from Barentz’ rebate receivables application, plus a wealth of insights from a savvy professional with deep experience in a multi-national corporation.

About the Author


Jim Buchanan