Closing the ERP Gap with the Modern Accounting Playbook


Automation across all industries is a common theme today, but there is still some concern about the impact of emergent technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.

The truth is that automation, correctly applied, can bring genuine benefits when tackling real-world business needs, especially when those needs relate to tedious, time-consuming manual processes.

Over the past few decades, Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) suites have become an essential part of the operating model of organisations around the world. Initially only on offer to the largest of enterprises, the rise of the Software-as-a-Service provider has opened up the benefits of ERP systems to mid-sized organisations as well.

The Time-Consuming Task of Manually Closing the Books

But while ERPs provide the necessary functionality to track and manage all the activities that go into running an organisation of any size—from sales to accounts receivable and accounts payable, and so on—they have one crucial shortcoming that still requires manual intervention on a regular basis: your ERP can’t close the books for you.

The reality to date has been that your finance and accounting teams have to roll up their sleeves and get involved, typically once a month, once a quarter, and of course at year-end. And it’s not a simple exercise.

The norm for most organisations involves wrangling information out of a multitude of sources—Excel, emails, DropBox, and so on—and pulling it together to provide a coherent whole. Making matters even more complex, there’s often little visibility into the work being done by your accounting team, specifically who is doing what, and when.

The end result will all too often be even more emails flying back and forth, with the manager ultimately responsible for signing off on all this while trying his or her best to keep track of what’s going on.

That’s a lot of effort going into a task that’s essential, but when done manually, takes teams away from other projects that could help the company scale and grow. What’s needed is a way to automate this work—and this is where BlackLine comes in.

Why Automation Is the Missing Link

A financial close that is fully automated, efficient, and collaborative is achievable. And our technology provides the missing link.

We complement your current ERP with solutions that manage the flow of financial data between systems and reconcile balances from multiple sub-systems, ensuring that you’re meeting all regulatory and compliance requirements.

BlackLine’s solutions deliver rules-based automation for simplified and accelerated reconciliations, with pre-set close tasks and alerts, role-based workflows, and dynamic dashboards to help you keep up with day-to-day demands and future expectations.

Automated GL, bank data extracts and pre-set matching rules reconcile transactions automatically to save time, while embedded controls and automatically documented audit trails support less time-consuming audits.

Most importantly, we enable your accounting and finance teams to execute an accurate financial close in far less time, giving your teams time back to focus on more value-adding activities, like partnering with the business.

If you’re a preparer, you’ll get a complete pre-close certification checklist and workflow as manual processes are improved by automation. If you’re an approver, you’ll access packaged close activities from a centralised system that locks down controls and ensures segregation of duties.

Meanwhile, accounting managers and controllers can tap into dashboards and reports that provide transparency and visibility into financial operations, and the CFO can be confident that the necessary risk, compliance, and regulatory requirements have been met, while also benefiting from operational efficiency gains.

Read this white paper to learn more about how your F&A teams can begin closing the ERP gap with the Modern Accounting Playbook.