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World Fuel's Best-In-Class Journey to Accounting Transformation

The goals for accounting and finance transformation are well known: increase visibility, improve speed and accuracy, and mitigate risk. With automation comes greater efficiency, freeing accounting and finance teams to become stronger business partners and contribute strategic insights.

Yet getting there can be a challenging journey.

Some finance teams make the mistake of simply throwing technology at a problem. They might automate a bad process without first fixing underlying process flaws or expect a single technology platform—like an ERP—to fulfill all their needs.

Others neglect the essential element for accounting transformation: strong executive backing and engaged employees who can thrive with modern tools.

World Fuel Services Corporation (World Fuel) is an example of a company that’s getting it right. Headquartered in Miami with nearly $40 billion in revenue, World Fuel has charted a strategic roadmap to accounting transformation that’s extending competitive advantage in an industry that’s been traditionally conservative.

“The company has been very focused on being more agile and introducing new technology tools such as Robotic Process Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and other elements of digital transformation. We have full support from executive management,” says Mayra Herrera, VP, Core Accounting at World Fuel.

A Strategic Roadmap to Automation

Over time, global expansion resulted in disparate systems and disjointed accounting practices around the world. An Oracle system serves as their primary ERP and general ledger, but World Fuel also has about a dozen non-Oracle ERPs in place.

To address the complexity, they’re striving to bring Accounting under a single umbrella.

“We had a lot of silos to organize, and started talking about technology solutions that could bring us the visibility we needed around global account reconciliations, number one, and then ultimately get us to automation,” says Herrera.

World Fuel recognized that its visibility and automation objectives couldn’t be realized with a single solution. Instead, the company is taking a best-of-breed approach.

Selected over Oracle and other competitors, BlackLine is the solution of choice to meet World Fuel’s need to bring automation to cash account reconciliations and high-volume transaction matching.

BlackLine’s ability to bring in data from multiple ERP systems and other data sources was a differentiator for World Fuel. So was the speed and ease of implementation, and the capacity of BlackLine Account Reconciliations and Transaction Matching to work in tandem to achieve higher degrees of automation.

The Benefits of Accounting Transformation

With BlackLine and other technologies, Herrera and her team can conduct a holistic analysis of processes and technology solutions to fine-tune their approach. “We don’t want to automate something for the sake of automating it,” Herrera says. “The question is, what’s the ROI? Is the process stable, or do we need to fix the process first?”

“Our BlackLine project standardized our data and gave us visibility to do more timely reconciliations,” says Herrera. “In the past, we only reconciled cash at month end—now we’re doing it twice a month, and have cut 40 to 50% of time from monthly auditing of cash reconciliations.”

As Herrera notes, modern platforms like BlackLine have enabled World Fuel to energize their teams to pursue innovations and new value.

Get the full story to continue learning about World Fuel’s finance transformation journey.