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SiriusXM Gets Serious with BlackLine, Matching Over 7 Million Transactions with 99.9% Accuracy

SiriusXM Holdings is a leading audio entertainment company that delivers a suite of subscription content through both satellite and online radio. Formed after the merger of XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio in 2008, SiriusXM has grown its subscriber base from 18.8 million in 2009 to over 32 million in 2017. Partnering with automakers and car dealerships, SiriusXM is available on over 70% of new vehicles entering the market.

The Challenge

Before developing a solution with BlackLine, SiriusXM was handling millions of credit card transactions each month from its subscribers. The company was unable to reconcile the order-to-cash process across multiple systems due to the volume of transactions; therefore, it was essential to identify an automated solution.

Why BlackLine

SiriusXM considered a number of solutions including products from Oracle, Trintech, and Chesapeake Systems in addition to BlackLine. SiriusXM decided to work with BlackLine to build the capabilities it needed for several reasons:

  • Cloud-based. Purchasing hardware for its accounting department was not an option for SiriusXM, so BlackLine’s cloud deployment and software-as-a-service subscription model fit with SiriusXM’s purchasing requirements.
  • Modern user interface. Some of the other solutions SiriusXM considered had user interfaces that were relatively dated.
  • Sophistication. Other solutions SiriusXM considered were too simplistic, and even though BlackLine’s solution was also not able to do everything that SiriusXM needed out-of-the-box, the company was confident that BlackLine could build out the capabilities to handle the volume and complexity that SiriusXM required.
  • Commitment to the customer. SiriusXM got the sense that BlackLine would be a reliable partner to help it overcome the challenges that were sure to arise in developing the solution it needed.

Upon selecting to work with BlackLine, SiriusXM spent the better part of 18 months working with the vendor to build out the solution to handle the volume of transactions that SiriusXM experienced. Ultimately, SiriusXM was able to match over 7 million transactions with 99.9% accuracy. While reconciliation of the Order to Cash process was the driver behind the search for a matching solution, the other financial close products included in the license were also a deciding factor in BlackLine’s selection. These products included Account Reconciliations, Tasks, and Journals. While implementation of the Matching product took 18 months, these products were implemented out of the box within three months.

The successful operation of these tools for many years led SiriusXM to embark on a project for Continuous Accounting, leveraging the cross-product functionality of BlackLine, and for which this ROI study was conducted. The following analysis includes only the incremental costs associated with this Continuous Accounting project (Automated Journals product and associated development time) over a three-year period. SiriusXM expects benefits to grow even further as it continues to automate additional close processes.

The Results

SiriusXM worked with BlackLine to automate many of its accounting processes, which significantly improved the efficiency of the finance department. Key benefits of the project included:

  • Automated journal entries. With BlackLine, SiriusXM has automated approximately 50% of its journals. The accounting department expects to expand the percentage of journals that are automated moving forward.
  • Automated matching. As transactions are captured and automatically imported into BlackLine, the system matches each transaction with the appropriate journal entry or other subledger transaction. BlackLine flags any exceptions for review. SiriusXM has achieved 99.9% accuracy in its matching automation process.
  • Automated certification. SiriusXM has configured rules that enable low-risk accounts, journals, and tasks to be certified without manual review.
  • Simplified financial close. By automating multiple steps and systematically accomplishing tasks related to the financial close throughout the month, SiriusXM has reduced the time it takes to reconcile its accounts and produce reports for decision-makers and compliance.

Leveraging multiple products, SiriusXM regularly loads data into BlackLine such as bank transactions, credit card payments, and general ledger and subledger data. The system automatically books transactions and matches them with their journal entries, reducing the amount of manual review required and the risk of errors from manual data entry and calculations.

A long-time BlackLine customer, SiriusXM deployed BlackLine’s automated journals capabilities to improve the efficiency of its accounting department and ease the review processes associated with the financial close. Leveraging the cross-product functionality of BlackLine, SiriusXM was able to automate 50% of its journal entries within two years and expects to automate another 20% within the current year.