Better visibility and transparency into the close process for SOX purposes.

The Company

Franklin Resources, Inc., is a global investment management organization operating as Franklin Templeton. Franklin Templeton’s goal is to deliver better outcomes by providing global and domestic investment management to retail, institutional, and sovereign wealth clients in over 170 countries. Through specialized teams, the Company has expertise across all asset lasses, including equity, fixed income, alternatives and custom multi-asset solutions. The Company’s more than 600 investment professionals are supported by its integrated, worldwide team of risk management professionals and global trading desk network. With employees in over 30 countries, the California-based company has more than 70 years of investment experience and $715.2 billion in assets under management as of June 30, 2019.

Why BlackLine

Prior to deploying BlackLine, Franklin Templeton’s corporate accounting team was performing its account reconciliations with Microsoft Excel. The firm had established organization-wide standards around its reconciliations process, however, there were regional variations around the format of the reconciliations and the determination of the risk rating of the general ledger (GL) accounts across the various regions.

Further, there was a lack of transparency on the corporate accounting team’s progress during the close, even though there was no issue with respect to the timelines of the close as well as the accuracy of the financial information. The lack of transparency resulted in the accounting team’s inability to demonstrate the timelines of the performance of the month-end related controls for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) purposes, resulting in manual workarounds for sign-offs.

Lastly, all GL accounts were reconciled monthly and there was no consistent framework that could be utilized in order to identify the high-risk accounts, which should be the focus of the
team early in the close process. As a result, a high number of accounts were determined as being high risk, resulting in a time-intensive process that frequently required personnel to work overtime.