Reducing Time Spent on Daily Cash Reconciliations by 85% while Increasing Visibility & Accountability

Established in 2008, Groupon (NASDAQ:GRPN) is a global leader in local commerce. By leveraging both the company’s global relationships and its scale, Groupon benefits small business owners and consumers: consumers gain access to deals all over the world, while local merchants increase business opportunities and revenue. The company went public in 2011.

The Challenge

For Groupon, going from a one-city operation to a company operating in 40 countries in a mere seven years caused significant challenges around visibility and accountability in the financial close process. “Due to our rapid growth, our global processes began to decentralize, and different regions began using different tools,” said Joseph Albrecht, financial systems manager, at Groupon. “In certain countries, the close process would fall behind schedule. Yet we didn’t have real visibility into who was behind. Additionally, as a public company, it was critical that we made it to a five-day close.”

Groupon’s reliance on Excel spreadsheets to manage reconciliations not only left the company vulnerable to human error, but also consumed three to four hours of valuable team member time each day. Accountants were stuck entering data and coordinating spreadsheets, leaving little time to identify discrepancies or focus on analysis. According to Albrecht, “We really needed to find ways to make our processes more efficient and completely centralize our reconciliation process.

Industry

Region

United States

COMPANY SIZE

Enterprise

BUSINESS IMPACT

Increased visibility, country and individual accountability, streamlined end-of-year reporting and auditor requests, enabled ongoing scalability of accounting processes as the company continues to grow, reduced time spent on daily cash reconciliations by 85%.

Why BlackLine

After reviewing and testing several solutions, Groupon selected BlackLine’s Finance Controls and Automation platform. Because BlackLine is entirely cloud-based, finance and accounting team members all over the world can easily access financial close data without waiting for someone to aggregate, sign off/on, scan, and email spreadsheets. BlackLine also integrates with Groupon’s existing ERPs, Microsoft Great Plains and NetSuite. “We saw that BlackLine would allow us the flexibility to roll out the new system and process to accounting teams across the world very rapidly,” said Albrecht. “Additionally, BlackLine has a suite of products we could gradually add, in the future, as we need them. It was definitely a plus that all of the products integrate seamlessly with each other.”

Groupon rolled out BlackLine’s Account Reconciliation and Transaction Matching products to 80 business entities over seven months. “The implementation was fairly easy. BlackLine consultants walked us through the system configurations and provided many helpful recommendations and tips to ensure we didn’t run into problems. The system setup allowed us to build a strong foundation once we started rolling out to teams around the world,” said Albrecht. “The BlackLine solution is built out in a way that’s easy for end users to navigate, which in turn has increased our adoption rates.”

The Results

Increased visibility and accountability. Prior to implementing BlackLine, Groupon’s core accounting and finance teams had no real-time visibility of financial closing processes across more than 500 markets in 40 countries. Today, the team knows exactly where each business entity is in the close process. “BlackLineensures countries and individuals are held accountable. We can instantly see who is completing their tasks and who is falling behind schedule,” said Albrecht. “Additionally, upper management has more insight into the month-end reconciliation process. BlackLine solved our lack of visibility problem.”