This article originally appeared on TechnologyEvaluation.com.
Indisputably, the COVID-19 pandemic has created unpredictable situations for finance and accounting teams around the world.
When it comes to finance departments, the pandemic didn’t care where an organization was in its digital transformation journey. It brought an unprecedented wave of disruption that has tested their resilience and agility. Market conditions changed radically, and so did Finance, with a re-equilibration of the operating model overnight.
Finance and accounting leaders need to embrace modern accounting with unified systems, data, and processes to deliver accurate results faster—continuously and in near real time. The goal is to automate routine work to focus on strategic and value-adding business initiatives, and to execute continually to support their businesses in real time.
Enter BlackLine & BeyondTheBlack
This theme of the effects of the pandemic on finance and accounting teams was the primary focus of BeyondTheBlack, which took place virtually in late 2020. Formerly called InTheBlack, BeyondTheBlack is BlackLine’s annual user conference.
The new conference name encapsulates the new reality: accountants and other financial professionals are now being called upon to produce value beyond closing the books and verifying that the numbers are accurate. In other words, instead of just making sure organizations are “InTheBlack,” it is the time for accountants to go “BeyondTheBlack” and provide strategic leadership.
A pioneer in the area of cloud-based financial close software, BlackLine is based in Los Angeles, California, with regional headquarters in London, Singapore, and Sydney. It is publicly traded (NASDAQ: BL).
Companies use BlackLine’s cloud-based software solutions to manage and automate their financial close, accounts receivable (AR), and intercompany accounting processes because their traditional manual accounting processes are no longer sustainable.
Many companies struggle to accommodate the aforementioned change and paradigm shifts quickly and effectively. Traditional manually-performed office tasks have long come under pressure, as has the over-reliance on paper documents. Manual journal entries and adjustments, reconciliations in pesky spreadsheets, hunting for paper trails to meet audit demands, and repetitive data extracts from a variety of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and subledgers consume a vast amount of talent and resources.
Many of these issues would have been moot if companies had already digitized their processes. The research shows that agile accounting processes that run continuously and in real time were much more responsive to the pandemic’s challenges. A Continuous Accounting approach identifies risks earlier in the reporting cycle, providing more time to remediate them and allowing more time for analysis.
As mentioned above, business fundamentals, i.e., revenue outlooks, liquidity, forecasts, and operations, have immediately changed due to the pandemic. And all this has to be managed in a virtual environment.
By closing the books faster and more predictably, finance and accounting teams can flow clean, consistent, and timely data more readily into downstream budgeting and planning tools.
More than 3,200 customers trust BlackLine to help them close their books faster and with more complete and accurate results. BlackLine is helping more than 280,000 accounting and finance users shift from manual to automated tasks, enabling their processes, teams, and companies to run better and faster (see Figure 1). And they can do so securely from anywhere.