"The way BlackLine rolls out new versions and addresses potential security breaches became clear selling points."
To drive for efficiency and reduction in workload and stress in the controller organization, The Dow Chemical Company started the search for a cloud-based finance controls and automation platform that would enhance an already established process. Pat Withrow, accounting director with Dow, knew that although they had well-defined policies in place, Dow still needed a case for process change. “But making changes to the existing process was not going to give us the impact we needed,” said Withrow.
Even with a structured policy framework, still over 1,000 people were involved in the account reconciliation process each quarter in hundreds of legal entities, preparing approximately 250,000 reconciliations. The process was Excel based with no standardization. Withrow describes the previous process. “There was no central database and no standardization; electronic and paper copies were stored in locations all over the world, which made the review and approval process a significant burden.” Too much time was spent reconciling zero balance and low value accounts, and the need to free up resources for the SAP implementation, M&A activities, and other high value projects arose.
The journey to find a cloud-based account reconciliation tool that met certain top requirements began. Chief among them were speed to implementation, ease of use, and compatibility with Dow’s existing policies, such as its preparation and certification timelines for key accounts. Another requirement was compatibility with both SAP R/2 and SAP ERP, as Dow’s intent was to automate reconciliations for its various businesses and operating divisions. After extensive review of data and system security, Dow began to implement BlackLine in November 2012.
Dow’s aggressive global implementation approach included regions in North America, Europe, Latin America, Pacific and Intercompany paid off with immediate benefits. After partnering with BlackLine, now Dow has one platform, one repository for all accounts reconciliations globally and transparency of account reconciliation process like never before.
Auto-certified more than 50% of its key accounts and more than 60% of its overall accounts; improved transparency; improved auditability and enhanced finance controls.