BlackLine launches Cash Application

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Increasing Internal Visibility, Improving Controls & Achieving Standardization

Constellation Software, Inc. (CSI) is a leading provider of software and services to a select group of public and private sector markets. CSI’s operating groups include Volaris, Harris, Jonas, Vela Software, Perseus Group, and Total Specific Solutions.

The Challenge

CSI has six operating groups which operate in a decentralized manner. For two of those groups—Volaris and Harris Group—this decentralization, as well as continuous growth via acquisitions, meant that their existing manual account reconciliations process was becoming burdensome and inefficient.

“We are a very acquisitive company,” says Ruth McGuire, director, corporate services at Harris. “Because of that, we’re always growing. Ten years ago, managing all these new accounts wasn’t a big deal. But today, we’re dealing with thousands of new accounts. There’s no possible way we could continue to manage those in an efficient manner.”

“We, previously, had a system that needed everybody to upload their account reconciliations to one network location for corporate visibility,” says Lori Musil, director of finance at Volaris. “With BlackLine, we have a real-time view on the status of all account reconciliations across Volaris.”

Why BlackLine

Musil was an early advocate for moving to BlackLine. “I’d learned about BlackLine several years ago from one of our accounting communities. And, some of our employees had used BlackLine previously, and spoke very highly of it. Through their feedback and my own research, I knew that the platform would give us more visibility and control. It felt like a really good fit for us because we are so decentralized.”

Out of CSI’s six operating groups, Harris and Volaris were the first to implement BlackLine Account Reconciliations. In addition to rolling out the solution to more than 300 employees, both groups also viewed implementation as an opportunity to start with a clean slate.

“The implementation process was a great activity for us. It was a chance for us to delete old accounts we were no longer using, clean up existing accounts, and establish individual responsibility,” says McGuire. “BlackLine’s single ownership per account forced us to do an honest review of who should own what and why.”

The decision to partner with BlackLine was also influenced by BlackLine’s commitment to both customer service and continuous innovation. “The BlackLine Community is a perfect example of how BlackLine is focused on meeting customers’ wants and needs. With BlackLine, we knew that we weren’t simply buying a product. We were partnering with a company that was invested in improving our overall financial close process from beginning to end.”

The Results

Enabled complete visibility across a decentralized, global organization. For both Volaris and Harris, BlackLine has enabled tremendous visibility, even as the groups acquire additional new companies.

“With BlackLine, we have the visibility we need, regardless of the new company’s location,” says McGuire. “We can see what’s been done, what hasn’t been done, and who needs more follow up or training.”

Musil adds, “With BlackLine, we have an easily accessible audit trail. It’s so simple to go back and look at a prior quarter end to see what was approved at that time, as well as who approved it.”

Strengthened controls. The groups have always had strong controls and a comprehensive review process, both of which were designed to identify discrepancies. “The advantage of BlackLine is that now it’s so much easier to catch the small stuff, too,” says Musil.

Eliminated the need for back-and-forth emails. “Prior to BlackLine, there was so much back-and-forth if there were any changes,” says McGuire. “Now all we have to do is look at BlackLine. Because we have more visibility and we’re not reading and responding to hundreds of emails, it’s so much easier to ensure reconciliations are done on time.”

Improved reconciliation quality. With BlackLine, both Volaris and Harris have standardized the reconciliation process, which has had a significant effect on quality.

“Our work is more consistent because, within BlackLine, there’s a common way to do certain types of reconciliations,” says Musil. “We can also see if a reconciliation isn’t appropriate and then work with the owner to help improve their process.”