The company decided to centralize its financial control function and define standard processes for its 100-plus businesses and legal entities for accounting and financial reconciliations. The standard processes are defined and implemented through BlackLine Account Reconciliations.
“The centralization of the financial control function commenced in November 2017, in line with when we first went live with BlackLine,” says Kon Papakonstantinou, head of operational finance systems, at Australian Unity.
Australian Unity engaged Forpoint Solutions to assist in their BlackLine implementation. This choice was based on Forpoint’s experience of working with various ERP procurement and planning systems, and many years of successfully integrating complex cloud-based ERP data into BlackLine across a diverse range of organizations.
Additionally, most of the company’s specialists are accountants by trade, so Forpoint Solutions was able to bring these specialist skills to the table in complex finance deployments. Forpoint Solutions had also previously upgraded Australian Unity’s SunSystems ERP system, which is the single source of truth for all the company’s financial information.
“It was an extra benefit that we were familiar with Australian Unity’s ERP platform and could deploy our own ETL tool developed especially for BlackLine to speed up implementation time,” says David Shahinian, director at Forpoint Solutions. This allowed the Forpoint team to automate and transfer data from Australian Unity’s ERP platform to BlackLine, and because its consultants had done this on so many occasions with other companies, it enabled them to reduce BlackLine’s implementation time.
“However, we didn’t treat Australian Unity as a standard implementation. Every customer has a different approach. Some have skilled people in-house and others rely on their partner for help with implementation and training,” says Shahinian. BlackLine was implemented in three phases, between November 2017 and May 2018. The phased approach working across Australian Unity’s hundreds of entities was based on the readiness of different parts of the business to automate and bring reconciliations from their manual systems into BlackLine.
“When we were building the interface between BlackLine and SunSystems, it was highly beneficial that Forpoint understood the construct of our company, how these reconciliations needed to be put together from a BlackLine perspective, and why we were constructing reconciliations the way we were. Forpoint’s help was invaluable,” Papakonstantinou says.