BlackLine Blog

June 15, 2023

Financial Reporting Analytics FAQ

Modern Accounting
2 Minute Read

Gary Kantz

Share Article

Continuing our tradition of innovation and solving accounting challenges, BlackLine recently introduced a new solution, Financial Reporting Analytics (FRA). FRA modernizes the often spreadsheet-heavy process of analyzing information at the financial statement line-item level—including balance sheets and income statements—by allowing organizations to view pre-consolidation data and assign, perform, and document fluctuations in the cloud.

Our first blog on Financial Reporting Analytics shared an overview of the challenges of traditional financial statement analyses and the features BlackLine has introduced to address them. Here, we’ll dive deeper into key benefits and how BlackLine customers can use FRA alongside other BlackLine Financial Close Management solutions.

We sat down with Cheri Hewlett, BlackLine Senior Solution Consultant and Financial Reporting Analytics product expert, who answered the most frequently asked questions about our new solution.

What exactly is Financial Reporting Analytics?

Financial Reporting Analytics is a new solution that delivers real time snapshots of balance sheet and income statement reports and allows companies to compare, validate, and attest to amounts and explanations in advance of final consolidation. It helps streamline and accelerate a process that is so often done manually, involving lots of people, emails, and spreadsheets.

You mentioned that Financial Reporting Analytics allows companies to do comparisons. Can you elaborate?

Yes. With FRA, companies can select different periods to compare ending balances or activity between periods. They can also compare actual amounts to budgets and forecasts. This helps identify unusual variances or items needing follow-up prior to consolidation.  

You’ve emphasized that Financial Reporting Analytics addresses activities prior to consolidation. Is it also a consolidation system?

FRA focuses on controls and validations on the Balance Sheet and Income Statement. It is a natural extension of many of BlackLine’s Financial Close Management solutions. Rather than waiting for consolidation to be complete, BlackLine customers can now view and analyze group-level, pre-consolidation financial statement line items and variances. With FRA, we’ve replaced another spreadsheet-based, manually intensive process with technology. Financial statement-level analysis is a key control for many companies, and our technology now allows the process to take place earlier in the record-to-report process.

For small or mid-size organizations that aren’t using separate solutions for consolidation, FRA can replace spreadsheets and manual processes by providing financial statement views with drill down to underlying balances. This can eliminate hours of work spent on GL mapping and currency translations.

Can Financial Reporting Analytics replace your financial reporting system?

No. Financial Reporting Analytics does not address the entire financial reporting process. However, it can integrate with financial reporting systems to streamline the overall process. Key outputs from FRA, like balance sheet or P&L fluctuation explanations, can be pushed to financial reporting solutions to support footnotes or other disclosures.

You’ve mentioned that FRA can address fluctuation analysis. Does it replace BlackLine Variance Analysis?

No. Financial Reporting Analytics does not replace BlackLine Variance Analysis. FRA integrates with Variance to provide status and explanations in a financial statement structure view. It unlocks new capabilities to allow for fluctuation analysis at the group-level rather than only at the GL account level that Variance Analysis provides. FRA also allows explanations provided at the lower levels to be rolled-up to the financial statement level. There are many other use cases for Variance Analysis, such as the GL level for actuals or budgets, and our customers will continue to use the existing solution for those.

What are the key benefits of FRA? How does it deliver value?

Financial Reporting Analytics eliminates time previously spent sending emails and spreadsheets to various business units and stakeholders and allows for faster balance sheet and income statement reporting and analysis. FRA gives customers real-time visibility into financial data, gets information into the hands of key stakeholders faster, and allows valuable F&A resources to focus on other key priorities.

Financial Reporting Analytics customers have shared that they get complete and real-time financial snapshots that they can review, understand, and sign-off on sooner, adding a new degree of confidence and strengthening governance around another key piece of the record-to-report process.

Learn more about how BlackLine's Financial Reporting Analytics can help your organization control, validate, and streamline balance sheet and P&L analyses.

About the Author


Gary Kantz