BlackLine Blog

May 13, 2020

How Higher Education Institutions Can Build Confidence in Uncertain Times

Modern Accounting
1 Minute Read

Barbara Hsieh

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For higher education institutions that are faced with greater economic uncertainty, a newly distributed workforce, and shifting business models, traditional manual accounting processes that may have been sufficient yesterday are now untenable.

The accounting team at the University of Texas Medical Branch is no stranger to looking in the face of a challenge and rising to the occasion.

In 2009, Hurricane Ike devasted their campus and operations. Faced with rebuilding or abandoning the area, UTMB renewed its commitment to the Galveston community. This required the University to physically diversify its operations to ensure business would continue if another catastrophic event hit.

Over a five-year period, UTMB executed their vision. They grew their operations in both size and complexity by opening three full hospitals on the mainland, one new hospital on the main campus, and additional clinics throughout the region.

As a result of rapid growth, operating revenues increased by 66% while total assets grew by 137%. This increased asset base required the Office of the Controller to increase efficiencies to support operational growth with no additional staff resources.

A Modern Accounting Journey

The team turned to BlackLine and began their modern accounting journey with a specific set of goals in mind.

First on deck was the task of automating manual reconciliation processes to better scale with and support the growth UTMB was experiencing.

Second, the UTMB team sought ways to better manage their cash and related clearing accounts to support patient care operations, which had become difficult to reconcile in a timely manner.

Third, with increasing organizational complexity, the accounting organization needed better visibility into completion rates and the quality of all account reconciliations.

And lastly, the UTMB team needed to be able to easily identify and focus on critical accounts to allow sufficient time for quality reviews.

With these goals in mind, the UTMB team developed and adopted a risk-based approach to automate their account reconciliation process. By doing so, the University improved accuracy, efficiency, and control across their balance sheet account reconciliations.

And they also completed their close on time after transitioning to working from home on a day’s notice in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Join us at the Alliance Virtual 2020 conference to learn more about UTMB’s success with BlackLine, collaborate with your higher education peers, and book time to learn how to enable a better, more effective close from anywhere with BlackLine.

About the Author


Barbara Hsieh