The Power of Smart Close: Controlling Your Close Inside SAP


Why is automation important, and why are manual processes for accounting organizations no longer sustainable?

As much as automation has started to take over other aspects of the business, accounting processes are lagging behind. We still see a lot of accounting work done in disparate systems and excel files, involving a high volume of emails, coordination, and conversations—all of which introduce risks, add time, and cause other issues in the month-end close.

In today’s rapid-paced business environment, Accounting will face competitive disadvantages if teams can’t find a way to not only hit deadlines, but also accelerate the pace of finance operations to create time for value-adding activities.

BlackLine’s Smart Close solution is purpose-built to be embedded within an SAP environment, and allows finance and accounting teams to do more than just remove a few manual touchpoints. It injects automation into existing processes within the ERP, and assists with completing close checklists from start to finish.

With Smart Close, customers have an out-of-the-box solution that can automate financial close processes from end to end. This allows teams to avoid some of the potential roadblocks companies often face when trying to meet their close deadlines.

Promoting standardization through templates, Smart Close allows everybody within an organization to close at the same time and frequency, and provides flexibility to complete one-off tasks that may be different based on various circumstances.

Achieving End-To-End Automation in SAP

To dive further into the benefits of using Smart Close for end-to-end automation in SAP, BlackLine Senior Manager of Solutions Marketing Molly Boyle sat down with BlackLine Manager of Value Architecture Jared Rutherford and Matt Smith, who works in controls and assurance at one of our customers.

Presenting his company’s past state as a use case, Smith explained, “We had multiple challenges. We were separating from a unique ownership structure…and we were about to be operating ourselves. We were on our owner’s SAP instances, so we had to set up our own SAP instance, and that gave us the opportunity to look at what we wanted to do in regard to how we interacted with SAP.”

“The entire time we were doing this project, we were running about 112 applications. All of our IT supporters and decision makers had been at the parent [company] level. So, as we were trying to source new programs we were also building and orchestrating an immature IT network.”

This type of complexity is exactly why Smith and his company—and others—needed to pursue purpose-built automation.

“Ultimately, that was one of the things that were a big plus in the Smart Close column—because of the amount of customization and configuration that it allowed. And then secondly, as we change, as we grow, as we shrink—whatever we decide to do—we are going to be able to tailor Smart Close without bringing in another party to help us do it. We felt that Smart Close allowed us that flexibility without too much pain,” says Smith.

Watch the on-demand webinar to hear the specifics around this use case and get even more information about the power of BlackLine Smart Close.