Auto-Reconciling 58% of Accounts with BlackLine

In 2013, a decision was made to find a better approach to the growing reconciliation challenge. Toga Group retained consulting firm Deloitte to review the range of available software tools and make recommendations as to which would be the best fit.

A shortlist was created and comparative testing conducted using samples of account data. The testing showed the auto matching performance offered by BlackLine was the best on the market.

“We were impressed by the fact that BlackLine was an integrated product and it could achieve very high rates of auto reconciliation,” says Michael Gowing, group financial controller, Toga Group. “It was simple to deploy and intuitive to use.”

Once the decision was made, initial roll out of BlackLine’s Reconciliation Management solution, a key component of the BlackLine Finance Controls & Automation Platform, was completed within three months.The BlackLine platform is a cloud-based solution that centralizes and streamlines financial close operations and other key Finance & Accounting processes for mid-size and large organizations. The solution is designed to increase operational efficiency, real-time visibility, control and compliance to ensure end-to-end financial close management.

The project was undertaken by Toga’s internal IT team in close consultation with BlackLine.

“We didn’t need an external consultant because BlackLine has a very strong mix of both technical skills and business knowledge,” he says. “They understood how our company operates and what we were trying to achieve with the improvements.”

Industry

ERP

JD Edwards

Region

APAC

COMPANY SIZE

Enterprise

BUSINESS IMPACT

Auto-reconciled 58% of accounts and more than 95% bank statement transactions, introduced rules and relationships between accounts, increased internal customer satisfaction rates, removed the need for manual reconciliations, embedded alerts within the system, provided remote access to external auditors

Why BlackLine

In 2013, a decision was made to find a better approach to the growing reconciliation challenge. Toga Group retained consulting firm Deloitte to review the range of available software tools and make recommendations as to which would be the best fit.

A shortlist was created and comparative testing conducted using samples of account data. The testing showed the auto matching performance offered by BlackLine was the best on the market.

Once the decision was made, initial roll out of BlackLine’s Reconciliation Management solution, a key component of the BlackLine Finance Controls & Automation Platform, was completed within three months. The BlackLine platform is a cloud-based solution that centralizes and streamlines financial close operations and other key Finance & Accounting processes for midsize and large organizations. The solution is designed to increase operational efficiency, real-time visibility, control and compliance to ensure end-to-end financial close management.

The project was undertaken by Toga’s internal IT team in close consultation with BlackLine.

“We didn’t need an external consultant because BlackLine has a very strong mix of both technical skills and business knowledge,” he says. “They understood how our company operates and what we were trying to achieve with the improvements.”

The Results

Removed the need for manual reconciliations. Once the BlackLine platform was deployed and configured with business rules, the reconciliation team took to it “like a duck to water.”

“Once they understood it would remove the need for manual reconciliations they were very happy indeed,” he says. “For them, it was like going from the stone age to the jet age in one step.”

Auto-reconciled 58% of accounts. During the three years since the deployment, the volume of accounting work has doubled, however the team dedicated to account reconciliation has remained at just three people. In 2016, 58 percent of accounts were auto reconciled as were more than 95 percent of bank statement transactions.

Introduced rules and relationships between accounts. Gowing says the finance team found it could achieve more with the software than had initially been hoped. They were able to introduce things such as rules about relationships between accounts, which support the internal integrity of the financials. This simply wasn’t possible in a manual environment.

Increased internal customer satisfaction rates. “Our internal customer satisfaction rates increased from low fives to high sevens, low eights,” he says. “This was helped by the fact that shifting from manual processes to automated processes meant the number of mistakes was dramatically reduced.”

Embedded alerts within the system. He says the finance team is now also able to spot issues before the business knows about them. For example, they can see if someone is sitting on cash and hasn’t banked it within the policy timeframe. “We can then alert their manager and quickly overcome the issue. We’re essentially using the system to generate alerts which is very useful.”

Provided remote access to external auditors. The company’s external auditors have also benefited from the change. They can access the BlackLine platform remotely and gain better insight into the state of all accounts and the reconciliation process.

Gowing says Toga Group plans to make further use of the BlackLine platform in coming years. An agreement has recently been signed to deploy BlackLine Intercompany Hub and there are plans to introduce Financial Close Management in the future, as well.

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