A few days ago I was speaking to someone about my time as a CFA. I said that had I known about BlackLine when I was in a full full-blown accounting role, I probably would have stayed in the profession. I went on to say that I thought modern finance could help time-pressed accountants – who were thinking twice about their chosen career – find their way back to job satisfaction.
Under pressure to close the books faster, accountants work harder and harder and most have now reached the limit of what they can do manually. They are at an impasse, and something has to give. A rushed close comes at the expense of proper controls and analysis, engendering a lack of confidence in the numbers, which adds to the stress. I can see why, indeed I know why, some chose to leave the profession.
From lose lose, to win win
Accountants spend a lot of time on activities that don’t benefit themselves or the organisations they work for. Low risk account reconciliation for example, where accounts are not active and have a zero balance. An accountant still needs to prepare the reconciliations. It is tedious and time-consuming, and – when what they’re really looking for are the exceptions – unnecessary work. A modern financial solution like BlackLine can be set up to automatically certify low risk reconciliations. That really saves accountants and companies a lot of time.
Journal entry is another example. Organisations have monthly reoccurring journal entries, where accountants analyse and compile a lot of data. We can automate that process. BlackLine allows you to create, review, and approve journals, then electronically certify and store them with all supporting documentation. Prior to BlackLine, one company using our journal automation functionality took three days to accumulate the data for a large journal entry; they now do it in three hours. That’s huge.
Work faster, smarter, happy
Automating manual processes that slow accountants down, BlackLine allows them to head off those fast moving ERP and general ledger systems. Modern finance brings automation to places automation has never been before, account reconciliations; journal entries; the monthly close. Finance and accounting teams access, share, process and analyse data in real-time. The employing organisations win because they no longer have expensive resource tied up with mundane tasks, instead they’re analysing data that is automatically presented to them and using it to push at the boundaries of continuous improvement. And accountants win because they’re now doing work they value and is valued by others.
IT is a shared service
There are three ways companies can manage, or combine to manage, finance and accounting – on-premise (buy or build), outsource, or manage from the cloud.
The cloud-based proposition is growing in popularity because it is low maintenance; provides access to state of the art technology; is scalable; is secure; is easy to deploy and cost effective, but there are even better reasons to seek a cloud based-artisan as your finance and accounting solution provider. When you self-build you relinquish some control to your internal IT department, and when you outsource to a third party you lose visibility. IT people are not and do not think like accountants and they cannot dedicate all their resources to the finance department. And unless you have the tools to look inside the outsourcers’ processes you have no insight into how your operation is run.