Live From InTheBlack 2019


Join Us for Tonight’s Entertainment!

Innovation Hub Happy Hour

4:00 PM - 5:30 PM

There’s nothing better than a great happy hour on a Monday! Stop by Platinum DE for a cocktail as we engage with and celebrate our sponsors. Don't forget to get a Balance Bingo card for a chance to win great prizes!

Welcome Reception

6:00 PM - 9:00 PM

Next up is our welcome reception. Join us in the lobby of the JW Marriott for an evening of fun, food, and engaging conversation. This is an ideal time to network with your peers as we officially kick off the conference together.

We’ll see you bright and early for tomorrow morning’s keynotes, beginning with a Customer Innovation Showcase with Therese Tucker at 8:00 am.

Best Practices for Onboarding: Unlock These Secrets to Engage Your Teams

Speakers: Susanna Metzler, Finance Transformation Manager, BlackLine and Annette Strenge, Manager of Communications, Knowles

Growth comes from making your customers successful. Growth happens when you love what you do and the people you work with. Growth results from working together in unison.

The is the foundation for the vision Susanna Metzler brought to her former company, Johnston Controls, to ensure her teams were highly engaged.


Not everything happens overnight. The journey may be slow but know that you’ll get there.

The more you educate your users, the more they’ll feel empowered to raise their hand with ideas and also implement what they’re learning in all areas of their role.

Motivating Your Team

Accounting and finance teams work hard, and often feel like they’re getting dumped on. After you begin saving time, it’s important to find effective ways to reward and motivate your team. Here are a few ideas:

  • Indoor Olympics

  • Ice-cream party

  • Outdoor picnics

These may seem like small things, but celebrating the wins will make sure your teams know they are appreciated.

Controllership's Guide to Continous Improvement

“What used to be my entire focus is now just the price of admission,” a Controller once said to Molly Boyle.

Controllers have a lot on their plate, with rising expectations to continually do more. They’re up against limited visibility to status and bottlenecks, a reactive control environment that requires significant effort, and data that is stored in disparate systems, requiring manipulation and “swivel chairing”—just to name a few of their daily challenges.

Use this crawl, walk, run approach to optimize your journey to continuous improvement.


  • Identify your organization’s needs and initial goals

  • Select a well-balanced project team to be part of your continuous improvement journey

  • Draft a project timeline and milestones that can be measured along the way

  • Embrace BlackLine as a catalyst for change


  • Begin with the low hanging fruit and look for quick wins

  • Consider Account Recs and Take Management solutions to gain visibility

  • Simplify and streamline audit processes with read-only access

  • Consider using Variance Analysis for SAS100 and other analytics


  • Gain additional momentum with solutions like Journals Entry and Transaction Matching

  • Streamline workflow with rules-based administration and auto-certification

  • Document policies and procedures

  • Embed controls and testing activities with Compliance

  • Track KPIs and create dashboards using Insights

  • Evaluate strategic global solutions including ICH

  • Re-assess and optimize BlackLine

  • Identify opportunities for purpose-built automation, robotics, and/or machine learning

How to Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement

  • Measure and re-assess. What gets measured gets done. Identify what’s meaningful to you and your teams and celebrate successes along the way.

  • Involve and empower. Your people are closest to your processes, and likely have invaluable ideas and insight. If they’re empowered and know their voices will be heard, they will contribute.

  • Celebrate the wins. Transformation is a marathon, if not a never-ending journey. Take time to acknowledge success along the way.

Your Journey with Change Management

According to Brandee Bible, change means to transform. Change management is a structured and intentional plan to support people through change as part of a transformation journey. And finally, a change management plan transforms your people.

Brandee provided these three keys to Change Management:

1)    It prepares, equips, and supports individuals through the changes to their jobs.

2)    It focuses on ensuring employees adopt, use, and optimize the change being introduced.

3)    You should identify critical milestones, incentivize adoption and celebrate success to maintain momentum.

An integrated change management plan supports a transformation plan to optimize BlackLine utilization and employee adoption. But change isn’t easy, and it always brings challenges.

You’re changing the way people work every day, and that’s exciting—but it’s essential to articulate what’s in it for your teams and be specific about how this change will positively impact their professional lives when implemented.

It’s also important to prepare for the delta dip in order to manage expectations. Change can cause a dip in employees’ key measures, productivity, or quality. Staying committed to letting your people know that this change matters will result in a more successful and sustainable change.

Continually ask these three questions:

  • Why is this change happening?

  • What is the risk of not changing?

  • What’s in it for me?

Mandy Strider, Director of Accounting, BlackLine, Interstate Hotels & Resorts talked about the importance of getting buy in early and often and communicating the risk of not changing—for them, it was losing their competitive advantage.

Find effective ways to reach your audience, using face-to-face communication whenever possible because this creates opportunities for two-way communications. Take the time to ask how your teams are feeling about the change and listen to how they think their jobs are going to change. This will also give you great insight and information throughout your transformation journey.

Management should send out communication about the change to show their support and ensure the emails will be read.

Mandy encourages using multiple forms of communication to accommodate the different ways people prefer to receive information. One example of this is the three bullet Thursday that Interstate Hotels & Resorts sends out to their accounting and finance teams, with three tips and tricks that are quick to read and easily digestible.

Finally, evaluate what you’re doing today before implementing technology, designing your systems solutions and building a road map to get off Excel spreadsheets. Engage the business to find your champions and give them a voice to help you get buy in and support.