Increasing Visibility & Enabling Workplace Flexibility

Established in 1982 and headquartered in San Diego, Flores Financial Services (FLORES) provides quality accounting, HR, and consulting services from startup planning to ongoing business administration and compliance support, including bookkeeping, payroll, budgeting, customized financial reporting, and supplemental services.

The Challenge

As a provider of outsourced accounting and HR services to the grocery, retail, and hospitality industries, FLORES has a diverse customer base. “Our biggest challenge is that we have different clients who have different needs,” says Allison Yandall, director of accounting at FLORES.

“Some clients just want to make sure the bills are paid every day. And then other clients want to know that every single balance sheet account is reconciled and accounted for, and every P&L account is in line.”

Prior to 2021, FLORES’ management team relied on spreadsheets to reconcile all client balance sheet accounts.

“We would type the ending balances from our GLs into an Excel sheet to show the actual balance. We would then type into another column the balance we expected, and then explain any variances in another column,” says Yandall. “On a monthly basis we reconcile over 9,000 accounts, so that was a lot of manual work.”

“Working in Excel, there was no good way to attach backup that showed how we got those numbers. In order to do an audit of the work prepared, you had to know where we stored that backup—and we had to trust that the backup was being saved where it was supposed to be saved.”

FLORES’ reliance on spreadsheets also left staff with little visibility into individual client accounts.

“One of my biggest hurdles was overseeing not only that the work was being done, but that it was being done accurately as well,” says Yandall.

Why BlackLine

When a client, in preparation for going public, requested tighter controls around all of their accounting processes, FLORES realized they needed a better reconciliation solution. “It spurred a conversation around how we could more efficiently meet various client needs,” says Yandall. “One thing we knew we had to do was move away from Excel.”

At the same time, FLORES’ owner was consulting with a grocery store chain that was rolling out BlackLine. “He suggested our team take a closer look at BlackLine, see if it was something we could use. We saw an opportunity to implement a tool that would increase our efficiency and give us more visibility.”

FLORES implemented BlackLine’s Account Reconciliations solution. The BlackLine implementation team “went above and beyond,” says Yandall, especially during Yandall’s maternity leave. Adds Brynn Williams, project manager at FLORES, “I can’t say enough about the support team at BlackLine. I’ve actually never found a support team that is that responsive, even with lower-level problems.”

Yandall calls the post-implementation call with the BlackLine team “one of the most amazing calls” she’s ever had. “We had a really great conversation about all the things that went well, the things that didn’t, and what would have made it easier. I felt that they were really interested in what I had to say, and they were both so passionate about BlackLine.”

The Results

Improved visibility. For Yandall, one of the biggest benefits of BlackLine has been improved visibility.  “With BlackLine, I can easily look at any account reconciliation, drill into it, and see that the team is doing what they're supposed to be doing.”

Increased efficiency. With BlackLine, up to 40% of accounts are now auto-certified every period. “I love auto-certification. It saves us a huge amount of time, especially on prepaid, depreciation, and employee advance schedules,” says Yandall. “We’ve seen time savings with the data import as well. We love that we don’t have to plug all of our balances into Excel because balances are already loaded.”

But Yandall’s “favorite efficiency” is the ability to streamline the reconciliation of intercompany transfers. “With BlackLine, we can create a group of those intercompany accounts that is automatically certified if it balances to zero. The fact that we never have to add up accounts one-by-one to see if they balance is amazing.”

Adds Williams, “Not having to go back and look at those workbooks is so helpful. If it balances, it balances. If it doesn’t, that means we’ve missed something. And that’s easy enough to verify.”

Saved time. As BlackLine automatically decertifies an account if a balance changes, the FLORES team doesn’t have to wait until the last minute to start reconciling. “With BlackLine, we’re able to start on reconciliations earlier, allowing us to get a head start on work that used to have to be done after all posting was done for the period,” says Yandall. “There’s no longer a mad rush at the end when financials are due.”

Enabled workplace flexibility. The team can access BlackLine from anywhere, an advantage not only during the pandemic but for future workplace flexibility and continuing remote work.

“If I have an extra 15 minutes, if I’m waiting in the doctor’s office or getting my oil changed, I can whip out my phone and start approving reconciliations or looking through my team’s activities,” says Yandall. “I don’t have to be logged into my work computer or go into our local server to try and find someone’s Excel reconciliation.”

Enhanced accounting staff training and enablement. FLORES uses BlackLine to help teach lower-level staff about difficult accounting processes.

“Blackline makes understanding balance sheet reconciliations much simpler than any other way we have ever tried to explain it to our team. As a result, we have been able to teach the basics of balance sheet reconciliations to lower-level staff members, which allows them to increase their knowledge and really understand the effects that their day-to-day postings have on the financials.”

Industry

Financial Services

ERP

SAGE 100

Region

United States

Company Size

Midsize

Business Impact

Improved visibility

Increased efficiency

Saved time

Enabled workplace flexibility

Enhanced accounting staff training and enablement.


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