Speakers: Pete Hirsch, Fred Li, Stephen Wolfman, & Brandon Seip - BlackLine
BlackLine’s Chief Technology Officer, Pete Hirsch, kicked off today’s keynotes talking about what BlackLine means for you.
Accountants have a very difficult job and they manage a huge level of complexity, and the business expects it to run smoothly. Technology can help.
What we may see as complex is often surprisingly simple for machines. We used to remember phone numbers by either memorizing them or keeping them in a rolodex, but today we just keep them in our phone. Machines free humans so we don’t have to remember what or where the phone number is, and can instead focus on the phone call.
Technology can do the same for Accounting.
But what does that transformation look like?
It looks like accessible information, eliminated repetition, and increased focus on what’s important. It lets accountants use their judgement and experience to drive the business forward.
Pete conducted a real time poll that revealed that 59% of accountants at InTheBlack started their career using Excel. It also showed that 12% started with paper ledgers! Spreadsheets, beginning with VisiCalc, were the first killer applications on the PC, and helped create a demand for PCs. Before then it was paper, blackboards, and manual work. But, change helps everything move forward.
BlackLine is investing in that change. We’re investing in technology, machine learning, openness, and you as accounting and finance professionals.
Next, Pete brought Fred Li, VP of Product Management out on stage to go more in depth into what that all means.
“You are important,” Fred began.
You’re part of the change, no matter your role. And as a change agent, you can go back to your company and help lead the way.
Certain jobs are great for robots, but that doesn’t mean your job is obsolete. Fred displayed a slide to help illustrate this point: your time is better spent on third-order decisions to make the business better. The robots can take care of base-level decisions, while you do the real work.
Fred then introduced Stephen Wolfman, Director of Product Management.
“It’s all about that data.”
“That data” is used by so many different parts of your organization. So, you need to have the utmost confidence in it. 71% of the C-Suite trust their data, but only 38% of finance professionals share that trust. How can we elevate trust in the numbers?
Stephen noted that data needs to be accurate, timely, and comprehensive. Getting quality data can take time, but that doesn’t fit the speed of modern business.
You need to have visibility into the workflows that produce your data. Which means, you need data about your data. If there’s a gap here, it can cause problems and prohibit you from getting where you want to go. BlackLine can help streamline that flow.
If you have the right data and are measuring the right processes, you are working toward continuous improvement. Quality numbers and manageable flows of data help propel us to greater connectivity and visibility.
Fred came back out to talk about making it easier to implement and use BlackLine. We want your data to be readily available, so you don’t have to worry about it.
If there’s less friction in the day-to-day of your work, it’s easier to create change. Fred told a story about wanting to hang a picture with a nail. First, he needed to find a Home Depot, then find the right aisle, and then find the right box of nails.
For this metaphor, navigating to the BlackLine platform equates to finding a Home Depot. Finding the right aisle is about how you move through the application. And searching through the interface of the application will hopefully reveal the nail you’re looking for. Once you’re in the right place in the application, we want it to be effortless to do what you need to do.
We’re committed to providing consistent, intuitive elements so BlackLine reacts in the way you think it should, no matter where you are in the application.
When things are easy, you can spend less time searching and more time doing. And that means:
And more value.
For you. Because you are important.