Highlights From Day One of InTheBlack 2016


We’re about to head to our Welcome Reception at the recently reopened historic landmark restaurant Clifton’s Cafeteria to celebrate the start of InTheBlack 2016. But first, I wanted to leave you with some of my favorite customer highlights from today.

SunTrust Wins with Transaction Matching

SunTrust has the formidable task of matching 2-3 million transactions every month, and they’ve been able to create enough efficiency with BlackLine to accomplish this with only 12 teammates. With auto certification and matching, they now have more time to prepare reconcilement and perform analysis, while experiencing efficiency gains and real-time visibility into the status of the reconciliation process.

Sometimes the best lessons are learned from those who have been through the process you’re considering, so here are some of the key things they’ve learned along the way:

  • Take time to understand data within import files in order to see the immediate benefits of matching

  • Allow for routine review of the effectiveness of match sets

  • Optimize matching processing so that only effective matches are run

  • Utilize the Sandbox for testing

How Siemens Automated Their SAP Financial Close

When a new mandate led to a high number of process interfaces for their Finance department, Siemens realized they needed to restructure their current processes to make this manageable. They found their solution in the Smart Close, which helped them achieve a reliable, high-quality financial close. The results have been harmonization, speed, efficiency, transparency, and a myriad of opportunities to continuously improve.

These are the lessons the Siemens team learned during this process:

  • Retaining and increasing the level of quality requires integration in daily operation

  • Know how retention is an essential party for secure business continuity

  • Automation reduces peaks in workload but needs regular maintenance

  • A well-balanced level of standardization allows better governance while keeping implementation costs down at the same time

Taking the Spreadsheets Out of Variance Analysis

Every accountant wants to avoid being caught off guard, appearing uninformed, dealing with late corrections or financial misstatements. This is why proactive analysis is so important for accounting and finance teams. Within CNH Industrial’s 12 global brands there are 5,968 individuals dedicated to innovation, and they are all working toward the common goal of not wasting time in the finance process.

When they began, their challenges were a long closing calendar, manual monitoring of accounts using spreadsheets, confusion determining which accounts required explanation, and the time-consuming task of checking all accounts each day of the close to determine if balances had changed.

Automating their variance analysis process through BlackLine’s Variance Module has resulted in these impactful benefits:

  • Analysis is simple and user-friendly

  • Templates are familiar

  • No limitation on the number of users

  • Transparency of completion status

  • Enhanced reporting available (and expanding)

  • No more copying and pasting in excel and posting to SharePoint

  • Dynamic, rule-driven comparison periods and thresholds

There will be so many highlights throughout the conference, and I’m personally looking forward to Michael Lewis’ main stage keynote tomorrow morning. Monday’s sessions and workshops will continue delivering a compelling roadmap of content to help you build your Blueprint for Continuous Accounting.