Under Armour is currently on an aggressive growth path both within North America as well as globally. “Some of Under Armour’s key growth strategies include the footwear, direct-to-consumer, and international businesses,” says Molly E. Boyle, CPA, Senior Manager of Corporate Accounting at Under Armour, and the business is also continuing to push the key growth drivers of men’s apparel and women’s apparel.
During this expansion, which most recently included three acquisitions of mobile app businesses, the company realized its manual financial processes — for reconciling balance sheet accounts at the close of each month as well as approving and evidencing journal entries — were no longer sustainable. In short, it needed a more scalable, real-time approach that could be easily duplicated among offices in North America and across the globe.
After a brief solution evaluation period in early 2012, Under Armour chose a cloud-based accounting solution from BlackLine that integrates with its SAP ERP system. A longtime SAP customer, the company has run SAP ERP since the early 2000s. The decision to implement the cloud-based platform was based on the ability of BlackLine’s Account Reconciliations product to solve its most pressing problem. “While the solution has some great added functionalities we are taking advantage of now, an account reconciliations application was our most immediate need at the time — and BlackLine solved that for us,” Boyle says.
In step with Under Armour’s mission of relentlessly pursuing innovation, over the last two years the company has acquired several new mobile app businesses and aptly named this market “Connected Fitness.” For Boyle, these businesses — MapMyFitness (acquired in December 2013), MyFitnessPal and Endomondo (brought on in the first quarter of 2015), and Under Armour’s own app, UA Record — represent not only a new reportable segment, but also three new company codes that operate on completely different non-SAP ERP systems and need to be incorporated into the company’s monthly close process. Using BlackLine, the company has been able to gain visibility into account balances and important information regarding the newly acquired entities. “BlackLine has been really useful in terms of gaining quick visibility into the ending balances in each of the accounts, giving our leadership a chance to review transactional details and key account balances without having full integration of those other ERP systems,” says Boyle. “That will continue to evolve as we go forward.”
Goals: Adopt a less manual and more scalable approach to monthly account reconciliations and book closing processes, as well as journal-entry retention, support, and review
Strategy: Implemented a scalable, automated, cloud-based solution for account reconciliations, journal entry, and financial tasks that integrates with SAP ERP and delivers push-button reporting and real-time access to data
Outcome: Shaved days of work off the desks of Under Armour’s accounting employees, who are now able to spend more of their time analyzing balances, reviewing results, and ensuring relevance and accuracy, rather than monitoring completeness and executing administrative tasks