BlackLine Blog

August 15, 2023

BlackLine Customers Driving F&A Success Through Continued Digital Transformation with BlackLine

Customer Success
3 Minute Read

BlackLine Magazine

Share Article

Finance and accounting (F&A) teams often face significant pressure to support other areas of the business through transformation projects. However, this can create challenges for F&A teams themselves, slowing down their processes and creating undue stress for F&A staff. Digital transformation journeys that prioritise the F&A function are becoming increasingly important as they help to free up valuable time for F&A personnel so they can contribute to other high-value, mission-critical tasks.

At our recent BeyondTheBlack event in Melbourne, we sat down with BlackLine customers from Cobram Estate, Coles, and Officeworks to discuss how automation and digital transformation journeys that prioritise the F&A function are essential to continued business success.

Cobram Estate Uncovers Efficiencies

Cobram Estate is Australia’s largest producer and retailer of olive oil. To accelerate its F&A processes, improve compliance, and uncover essential efficiencies across the finance team, Cobram Estate invested in a BlackLine implementation across its operations.

Tess Sinnott, senior finance manager, Cobram Estate, said, “We wanted to put more structure around account reviews to better understand and mitigate the potential for risk across our accounting processes. Each of our accounts received a risk ranking, which let us prioritise accounts for regular review outside of the end-of-month or end-of-financial-year processes. With BlackLine, we can better manage a structured account review, ensuring that every account is reviewed throughout the year, rather than just in July, for constant improvement.

“We know that people fall back on what they know when they’re confused or overwhelmed, so change management was an essential piece of the puzzle. We worked closely with BlackLine to manage this by breaking the implementation process down so it was more digestible. We focused on moving the team a little at a time, establishing a new baseline to remove the potential barriers to adoption. BlackLine lets us automate as much as we can along the way and easily adjust or change the setup to better suit our ways of working instead of taking a set-and-forget approach.”

Coles’ Ongoing Transformation Journey

As an early adopter, Coles has been on an ongoing transformation journey with BlackLine. After successfully completing a major business transformation, an acquisition, and undergoing one of Australia’s biggest demergers, Coles’ new head of financial reporting and governance returned focus on the finance team. To combat its three biggest challenges—high turnover, under-resourcing, and lack of corporate governance and control—the finance team reinvested in its existing BlackLine solution to achieve efficiencies across its operations.

Malcolm Ellis, head of financial reporting and governance, Coles, said, “We wanted to take our BlackLine solution beyond reconciliation and focus on automation to make finance better across the organisation. Business leaders care that the numbers are right, not how they got there if they aren’t. In this context, accuracy and speed are essential. BlackLine lets us automate our processes, giving time back to the finance team to contribute towards other value-add activities.

“Businesses often prioritise transformation and improvements in operations, sales, and other areas, with finance falling by the wayside despite being under incredible pressure to make things work for those other departments. Investing in BlackLine was a way for the business to make meaningful space for finance and focus on improving its operations so it could contribute more to improvements in other areas of the business.”

Officeworks Consolidates & Standardises Processes

Supporting 167 stores around Australia and an online presence, Officeworks needed to consolidate and standardise its financial processes to achieve greater levels of efficiencies and eliminate crucial pain points. After engaging with its suppliers and assessing the solutions available on the market, Officeworks identified BlackLine as the ideal solution to overcome its challenges.

Celine Solomon, financial controller, Officeworks, said, “Through the growth of the company, we were experiencing high volumes of transactions which, though expected, happened earlier than we thought. We knew that BlackLine would alleviate our pain points and automate our processes. We are using three modules of BlackLine: reconciliation, task management, and matching modules. The matching module has given us the most benefit which includes accounts receivable exception matching, banking matching, and supply chain costs matching.

"We wanted to reap the benefits as soon as possible and working with our implementation partner, Deloitte, was essential in achieving this as it helped us to focus and target our implementation. For the best chance of success, we needed to really go under the hood to understand our processes and data sets, and Deloitte and BlackLine helped us to achieve this.”

Fast-Track Your Digital Transformation Journey with BlackLine

BlackLine helps to deliver increased efficiency and automation for modern F&A functions that let finance teams contribute more to business success. Our goal is to give time back to finance professionals and free them up to do more strategic work.

Read more customer success stories to see how companies of all types trust BlackLine to help them modernise their financial close, accounts receivable, and intercompany accounting processes.

About the Author


BlackLine Magazine