BlackLine Blog

August 01, 2023

Fast-Tracking Customer Digital Transformation Journeys with BlackLine

Customer Success
3 Minute Read

BlackLine Magazine

Share Article

Continued digital transformation is essential for the success of organisations across all industries in today’s modern working environment. When it comes to finance and accounting (F&A), continued investment in innovative digital solutions can significantly improve processes and empower F&A teams to make more meaningful contributions to operations.

For example, leveraging automation to accelerate month-end management, reconciliations, and accounts receivable matching can help significantly save time, improve accuracy, and drive increased compliance. However, change management and company buy-in are essential to help businesses achieve success through transformation.

At our 2023 BeyondTheBlack event in Sydney, we sat down with three BlackLine customers—AGL Energy, Lion, and Michael Hill—to discuss the significant strides they continue to make in their digital journeys, as well as how identifying digital transformation champions is crucial.

AGL Energy

BlackLine has been essential in helping AGL Energy improve its F&A operations from a governance and improvement perspective. AGL Energy was in a unique situation, preparing its organisation for a proposed demerger that would see it move away from its existing BlackLine solution. During this process—which included carefully assessing the changes associated with transitioning away from BlackLine, understanding where its reconciliations would be stored, how they would be audited, and how to improve workflows for approvers and reviewers—the AGL project team concluded the optimum solution was to implement a new version of BlackLine.

Sarah Medley, senior manager – finance systems and transformation, AGL Energy, said, “While AGL Energy ultimately didn’t demerge, there was an opportunity to pivot operations and bring the whole of the organisation across to the newer version of BlackLine, making the legacy solution historical. As the organisation has been working with BlackLine for 10 years to date, there was a level of comfort within the business. However, change management was still essential.

“The implementation was project-led from the finance team, rather than the IT team, and it was essential to work with a partner that knew what the system would do so we could properly prepare. Garbage in means garbage out, and we knew we needed to move forward with an enhanced and improved process, instead of bringing old processes forward to a new system. We took the time to complete a data cleanse before moving across to the new system, which was critical to ensure the BlackLine system could give us the level of visibility and governance we needed.”


As part of an overview of its F&A processes, Lion conducted a review of its use of BlackLine for reconciliations and embarked on an internal transformation journey to enhance its use of the BlackLine modules across its operations. Throughout this process, Lion invested more time and energy into the use of BlackLine templates to drive process transformation across its accruals and prepayments.

Isaac Brown, financial transformation lead, Lion, said, “Lion’s operations tend to be seasonal, which means we can predict our accruals with a certain level of reliability. Using the templates within BlackLine lets us build out our accruals schedule for the year and apply invoices to accruals—instead of using profit and loss (P&L) processes or a reversing accruals journal—to auto-certify our reconciliations. This lets us see our variances easily, which we can feed into next year’s schedule to improve our forecasting.

“Though it isn’t a strictly defined role, we organically found a need for a BlackLine champion within the business, and this has been crucial in facilitating learning, encouraging more open conversations, and making the best use of BlackLine across the business. Combining this with deep dives into the BlackLine community and optimisation academy lets us uncover best-in-class outputs for our operations.”

Michael Hill

With more than 300 stores across Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, Michael Hill needed to consolidate its F&A processes and standardise its transaction matching for its operations as part of a larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) transformation. Its implementation was conducted in two phases: the first phase through BlackLine’s partner, Deloitte, and the second phase through BlackLine directly.

Carol Dallas, project delivery manager, Michael Hill, said, “We have more than 175,000 transactions per month on average that require matching for reconciliation receipts and it’s a huge job. Implementing BlackLine has helped us achieve a 95% auto-matching rate. We can configure the system to be specific to our needs, which makes it a powerful matching engine that has driven great success across our operations. It also gives our F&A team greater control over the setup of new accounts, payment methods, and matching use cases.

“Having people champion BlackLine throughout the company has also been essential in helping us grow the system with our business and continue to optimise it organically to ensure it is fit for our purposes.”

Accelerate Your Digital Transformation Journey with BlackLine

BlackLine is committed to delivering increased efficiency and automation for modern accounting and continued business success. Our goal is to give time back to finance professionals and free them up to do more strategic work.

To take the next step in your digital transformation journey, read more customer success stories or contact BlackLine today.

About the Author


BlackLine Magazine