Australia Post has come a long way from delivering mail by pack horse in 1809.
The government-owned corporation started with the telegraph in the late 1800s and has evolved to today’s use of more than 1,000 ecofriendly electric delivery vehicles—the largest fleet in the country.
That spirit of innovation extends throughout the entire business, including Accounting and Finance. The company manages over $6.8 billion in annual revenue across diverse lines of business that include delivery, ecommerce, logistics, direct marketing, and financial services, such as bill payments and insurance.
“Our strategy in Accounting is to have the best technology embedded in our culture to strive for efficiency gains and process improvements, and to think outside the box for innovations,” says Catherine Phan, Australia Post’s Senior Manager, General Accounting. “BlackLine enables us to deliver that strategy.”
“Coming from a public accounting background, I know how important it is to drive improvement in accuracy and efficiency,” says Willardson. “Yet, we were still doing so many things manually, including reconciling hundreds of bank accounts. Our close took 15 days and still required significant overtime from staff.”
Control & Visibility in a Two-Day Monthly Close
Since 2014, Australia Post has scaled its use of BlackLine Account Reconciliations and Transaction Matching. The goal is to streamline the reconciliation process, which has been slow and onerous.
“Before BlackLine, we had little visibility and control across the group,” Phan says. “In Excel, the whole process is labor intensive and time consuming, with a lack of control.”
Australia Post began its BlackLine journey with Account Reconciliations to automate and standardize its reconciliations, with an iterative rollout across four subsidiaries. Today, BlackLine enables Australia Post to automate roughly 750 account reconciliations a month—dramatically reducing manual work and contributing to a remarkably fast two-day month-end close.
For example, Australia Post uses BlackLine to automatically generate daily reports that highlight accounts in need of closer investigation.
“BlackLine offers a lot more control and visibility for account reconciliations, without having a person pulling information from team members and putting together a report,” Phan says. “We will continue to explore the Variance Analysis function in BlackLine to provide real-time updates and meaningful balance sheet reporting to management.”
Read their full success story to learn how Australia Post achieved cost savings of one million dollars over the course of three years, and now completes audits in one week instead of two.