Part 8 of our Finance Transformation blog series. Read the full series here.
Within many organizations, there are hundreds of accountants performing detailed transactional reconciliations. And in scenarios like a point of sale system that’s tracking purchases, hundreds of thousands or even millions of transactions are happening daily or monthly.
This process is often still done manually, with the data copied and pasted from different systems into Excel. As a result, risk is introduced into the process, because the data can be manipulated, changed, or enhanced to create more successful matching criteria.
Ironically, teams wind up having more risk in the process they’re using to mitigate risk than the underlying process itself.
Greater risk of error is introduced as accountants manually document the exceptions, and visibility is limited as well. When these exceptions live in a spreadsheet on one person’s desktop, or even in a shared drive, accounting managers and controllers don’t have the visibility they need.
Additionally, the process of reconciling a high volume of transactions is repeatable. Teams go through the same steps every single time, and therefore this process can be replicated in a platform like BlackLine.
BlackLine Transaction Matching, coupled with the SAP Connector, provides a unique solution for the challenges of manual match, reconcile, and clear scenarios.
At the heart of the solution is a robust matching engine that integrates with BlackLine Account Reconciliations and other BlackLine solutions. It delivers process efficiency, risk mitigation, control, and visibility, and solves for increasing business complexity within your organization.
Let’s dive into these four main value drivers.
BlackLine enables teams to recreate the rules they use daily and monthly for reconciliations, so they run automatically. The data used for this type of reconciliation is automatically fed into BlackLine, so that step is eliminated. Millions of records are processed in a matter of seconds, and you can schedule this event to occur periodically and as frequently as necessary. The process may even occur overnight.
With configured rules running automatically, the user begins their work at the point where the exceptions have already been identified. The front end of this process often consumes 80-90% of the time spent on the entire process, so this gives your teams hours of time back to focus on more analytical activities.
Risk Mitigation & Control
BlackLine eliminates the human element from data transfers, so there is less opportunity for people to manipulate or delete data. A systematic rule is in place, so the matching engine performs the matching logic the same way—every single time.
Why? Simply because we told it to.
This provides a consistent approach that allows you to eliminate much of the risk in the process.
When transactions are reconciled in Excel, there is typically limited visibility into completion status, the materiality of items, and the nature of the errors that are being found.
BlackLine delivers real-time visibility through a variety of ways, including dashboards, reporting, exception workflows, and action plans. This is a level of visibility that companies simply don’t have without a solution like this.
Solving for Business Complexity
When companies have multiple locations, it often means they also have multiple financial systems, multiple data sources, and multiple teams of people that all need to communicate. Effectively bringing all of this together can become very difficult, and lead to a lot of errors.
BlackLine is built entirely in the cloud and is data agnostic, so it can ingest data from all different types of systems. As a result, users from all over the world can log into the application and look at the same piece of information, knowing that it’s the same version all of their colleagues are viewing and will not change unexpectedly.
Users can also speak to each other through the workflows, opening another avenue of communication. This solves for business complexity while bringing teams together.
The SAP Connector
Over the years, BlackLine has relied on our large community of SAP users and close relationship with SAP to learn best practices and what SAP users need most. This led to the development of a robust SAP Connector.
The Connector transfers data from SAP into BlackLine with very little effort and minimal reliance on IT. It’s user-friendly and makes it easy for the business to define the transactional data from SAP that is required for reconciliation and matching.
It provides an integration back into SAP as well. For example, if a user finds an exception, they can create an entry and post it back to SAP through our journal entry solution. Rules can also be configured to automatically identify common occurrences month over month, automatically creating journal entries from that matching data and posting corresponding entries in SAP.
Read this white paper to learn more about the complementary capabilities of BlackLine and SAP.