What makes BlackLine so special is our customers. This is why we created the Finance & Accounting Innovation Awards. Our 2019 recipients joined BlackLine Founder and CEO Therese Tucker to discuss their powerful transformation stories.
Michael Hubbard & Davina Van Splunter, Home Depot
Home Depot’s accounting and finance team is now saving nearly 8 hours per week with BlackLine. Michael said that BlackLine now gives her teams time to do the fun parts of Accounting.
She also said, “We grow the most when we’re a little bit uncomfortable.”
Michael has plenty of experience with this, as she’s been very involved in the change management aspect of Home Depot’s finance transformation.
Therese asked how she managed the change involved with new software implementation, and Michael replied, “People get tied to the way they do things, especially if they think it’s working. We’ve done workshops, trained them in a lot of different ways, and got them used to the visibility. That’s been very helpful.”
“We provided information in as many ways as the team learned,” said Davina. This included training in a classroom environment and also working in the tool.
Home Depot has experienced some powerful results—largely because they’ve implemented five modules during the past 18 months. Michael said, “We’re goal oriented when it comes to doing what we need to get it done. We’re rolling out S/4HANA next year, in addition to matching, automated journals and Smart Close.”
Finally, Michael gave this advice about process, talking about the importance of knowing where the process starts and why they’re doing it. Therese added, “A lot of times, when projects go wrong, people don’t know the end goal.”
Sarah Pflug, Domino's
Therese Tucker calls Sarah Pflug the epitome of an exceptional accountant.
According to Sarah, Domino’s did a competitive RFP to determine the best tool in the market. They chose BlackLine because it’s the most flexible, configurable option.
Sarah said, “The first time I loaded up real data into the sandbox and got a 70% match rate, I saw a glimmer of hope.” This was a huge win, given that their F&A teams were doing 40 million transactions per month and importing data for 6,000 locations.
BlackLine’s matching solution has made a significant difference in the way her teams work, creating the time they need value adding activities.
Sarah said, “A lot of teams have one accountant on the team who is really into the details. Others want a complete answer immediately. Implementing Matching is like cloning your accountants.”
Michael Heeney & Pablo Baez, Quest Diagnostics
Next, Michael Heeney and Pablo Baez of Quest Diagnostics joined Therese on stage to talk about how Quest had benefited from BlackLine.
When asked whether he was a “normal” accountant, Pablo noted that he wasn’t because he was excited by change, and accountants are not normally known for their love of change.
To help manifest their accounting transformation, Quest looked to BlackLine. They recognized that BlackLine’s SaaS nature would benefit them.
Pablo was brought on to Quest Diagnostics to start centralizing their accounting function. With the support of everyone at Quest and BlackLine, as well as his own drive for change, Quest Diagnostics was able to accomplish significant transformation in only four and a half years. In fact, they were able to achieve a 52% auto-certification rate.
As they grew, they started to acquire more businesses. Acquisitions are hard to do well, but BlackLine was instrumental in this part of Quest Diagnostic’s journey as well.
After a quick implementation, Quest Diagnostics saw that some people wanted to hold on to their Excel spreadsheets, but eventually realized BlackLine could do everything they needed to. They were willing to make the change and let go of Excel to move towards BlackLine.
They started saving 500 hours a month across a team of 36. The additional resources let them continue their acquisitions.
The next step Quest would like to take is to implement BlackLine Compliance.
Mike Gruehl, SiriusXM
Mike Gruehl of SiriusXM was up next on the stage. He started in the accounting department at SiriusXM when everything was on paper or in Excel and provided little room for flexibility. But now, with BlackLine in place, he doesn’t need all that paper on his desk any more. It has added more flexibility and even though he sometimes logs into BlackLine at home, Mike thinks that it actually makes his work-life balance easier because he can quickly check in with his team to make sure close processes are moving along.
With the shift to Continuous Accounting, SiriusXM has seen more freedom in their schedules. They’re personal lives are no longer tied so closely to the month-end close.
Mike wants Sirius XM’s next steps to be towards wrapping up Continuous Accounting and towards Real-Time Accounting. He even thinks that their future points towards predictive accounting. He wants to be able to close the month of October in August.
BlackLine has made a big change in Mike’s life. It doesn’t just mean time saved at work, it means time saved at home. And that time means he can have pancakes and muffins with his kids.
Tony Klimas, EY & Jane Saunders, Duracell
Jane began by saying, “We’ve taken leaps and bounds in our journey on a global scale.”
Duracell is using Account Reconciliations globally, they’ve implemented Task Management in North America and Latin American, and just went live with Transaction Matching. They’ve implemented Journals in North America and will soon be used in Latin America as well.
Next up, they’ll be implementing Transaction Matching for Intercompany accounting.
Getting buy in at Duracell was difficult, and their partnership with EY began at the very beginning, before the project even existed. EY shared implementation success stories from other customers to prove the value of BlackLine to their upper management.
Duracell didn’t have the resources or experience to implement a platform like BlackLine, and EY has been with them every step of the way.
Duracell’s mantra is Truth is Power, which aligns with BlackLine’s tagline, Trust is in the Balance.