“When I think about BlackLine, seamless, transparent, greater visibility, and increased control are all words that come to mind.”
In late 2013, the company began reviewing their existing balance sheet reconciliation process and tools. According to Eamonn Matthews, business process lead – accounting & reporting, The Coca-Cola Company, “We found major audit concerns. Timely completion, inadequate explanations, lack of follow-up on aged items, and lack of overall visibility all needed to be addressed.”
During the same time period, The Coca-Cola Company was instituting 2020 Vision, a plan designed to double revenue within the decade. For GFO, supporting the company’s plan meant ensuring all processes were “standardized, global, accessible, and easy to use”—including balance sheet reconciliations. “In order to meet the Global Business Services (GBS) promise to the 2020 Vision, we needed to analyse all accounting processes and drive improvements and business value,” said Eamonn. “Improving our balance sheet reconciliations was our pilot program.”
The company began their search for a cloud-based, globally accessible reconciliation solution by stipulating certain non-negotiable features for any new system: auto-certification, administration rules and auto alerts, enhanced reporting and analytics, and real-time dashboards. While Eamonn and his team reviewed numerous vendors, they partnered with BlackLine. “One of the most important factors in assisting us in making our decision was the customer reference calls with BlackLine customers, in companies of a similar size,” said Eamonn. “These candid interviews formed a key part of our justification to partner with BlackLine.”
According to Eamonn, implementation of BlackLine was seamless. “It shows how good the implementation team was that we didn’t even need consultants to help decipher what exactly we were supposed to be doing. I have a lot of respect for the implementation team at BlackLine. They were absolutely brilliant.”
Prior to rolling out the BlackLine platform, the company created a global business process lead role. “Historically, we would have allowed each region to customize the technology to their local needs,” said Eamonn. “With a global lead, we used the introduction of BlackLine to drive standardization and improve controls. Some people suggest that you should fix a process before you introduce new technology. In our case, BlackLine’s technology drove us to fix and standardise our process.”
Reduced the number of employees involved in manual and routine reconciliation by 55%, increased productivity by reassigning workforce to focus on discrepancies and analysis, saved $0.6 million per year, improved controls and standardized reconciliation, increased client satisfaction, gained global transparency of the entire reconciliation process.