BING Best Practices for Task Management vs. Compliance | BlackLine Magazine

Best Practices for Task Management vs. Compliance

Prior to the launch of BlackLine Compliance at InTheBlack 2018, many of our customers were using Task Management for their controls and compliance initiatives.

Now that Compliance has made its debut, where do controls fit best within the BlackLine platform? Should you continue using tasks for PBC items and checklists? And how can you get the most out of each product?

Here, we’ll explore some of our best practices for optimizing your usage of Task Management and Compliance. We’ll give you tips for how to work more effectively and maximize the workflow and functionality provided by BlackLine.

Task Management Key Features

Task Management allows organizations to manage accounting and finance checklists centered around the close process. It can be used to track any type of activity, including recurring journal entries, controls, operational checklists, and PBC lists.

Key features include:

  • Ability to configure up to ten fields or segments with your terminology and values
  • Automatic task recurrence based on user-defined schedules
  • Task dependencies and auto-certification as child tasks are completed
  • Standard templates and workflows with up to five levels of review
  • Integrated with Account Reconciliations and Journal Entry

Compliance Key Features

Compliance is a highly configurable and centralized cloud platform for internal controls monitoring and attestation. It can be used to manage risks, narratives, controls, and issues, and create audit programs to validate and test controls.

Key features include:

  • Unlimited number of user-defined fields and control templates
  • Configurable, dynamic workflow with an unlimited number of review levels
  • Linked with Account Reconciliations, Task Management, Variance Analysis, Journal Entry, Transaction Matching, and Intercompany Hub, which provides direct access to control evidence
  • Unlimited number of Programs to manage subsets of controls

Although each organization is unique, and BlackLine can accommodate a myriad of scenarios, here are our recommendations for getting the most out of the system.

When to Use Task Management

Normal close tasks and checklists, including accounting, financial, and operational checklists that have regular recurrence will benefit the most from Task Management. The product provides the necessary integration points, recurrence, and dependencies.

If you have controls that need to be executed regularly that have task dependencies, and more than one person or location is involved, then Task Management should be considered. However, for compliance-related activities, a combination of Task Management and Compliance should be considered.

When to Use Compliance

In many ways, Compliance can extend your investment in Task Management. Many of our customers use Task Management to record and track PBC items required for control testing. The control testing, in addition to other compliance activities, is best managed within Compliance.

Compliance is specifically designed to fill the needs for compliance activities, internal audit, SOX 302 and 404, and audit and attestation. In addition to housing Risk Control Matrices (RCMs), narratives, and policies and procedures, Compliance allows you to create period-independent audit programs to review and evaluate a subset of controls. Compliance also provides workflow for testing and review, as well as remediation.

Often, Compliance can be paired with other BlackLine products to provide even greater support for compliance evidence collection and review. In addition to using Task Management for PBC collection, Compliance users can leverage Account Reconciliations, Variance Analysis, and more for evidence of control performance.

For example, users can link reconciliations to their applicable control. When the reconciliation is certified, it becomes visible in Compliance with a direct link to reconciliation. Linking to the actual accounting work being done greatly reduces the number of PBC items and follow up required.

Whether you’re looking to better manage your close checklist, streamline controls management, or integrate compliance activities, BlackLine provides solutions and best practices for your business needs.

While Task Management is best used to track and complete recurring close tasks, Compliance can be used standalone or in conjunction with other BlackLine products to better manage controls and compliance within day-to-day accounting and finance activities.

Watch this on-demand webinar to learn how Chart Industries approached using BlackLine Compliance for SOX.