sPower, an AES and AIMCo company, is the largest private owner of operating solar assets in the United States. sPower owns and operates a portfolio of solar and wind assets greater than 1.3 GW and has a development pipeline of more than 10 GW.
In preparation for the increasing demand for renewable energy, sPower has made systems optimization a high priority. “We expect to grow significantly,” says Ray Willardson, controller at sPower. “We’ve been focused on putting systems and processes into place that will enable us to scale.”
Recently, a key part of this optimization included addressing process challenges in Accounting and Finance.
“Coming from a public accounting background, I know how important it is to drive improvement in accuracy and efficiency,” says Willardson. “Yet, we were still doing so many things manually, including reconciling hundreds of bank accounts. Our close took 15 days and still required significant overtime from staff.”
sPower began the search for a cloud-based platform that would enable auto-reconciliation, a crucial step toward shortening the company’s 15-day close. Willardson also wanted a platform that would automatically import and match data from multiple systems, including NetSuite. “We found a few vendors that had this capability, but BlackLine was the only vendor that offered more. During the demo, BlackLine said, “yes, we can import and match data, but we can also do this and this and this.”
sPower implemented BlackLine Account Reconciliations, Task Management, Transaction Matching, and Journal Entry. “We thought it was a great opportunity to be able to address not just reconciliations, but also other routine tasks,” says Willardson. “BlackLine enabled us to organize our data, move away from Excel, and eliminate a lot of manual work.”
Reduced errors and increased efficiency, shortened close time by 66% and eliminated the need for close-based overtime. Enabled business continuity, increased access to real-time data, improved visibility for the controller role, and reduced the need for manual follow-up on close tasks.