AI-Powered automation for Accounts Receivable
San Francisco-based Zendesk builds software for better customer relationships. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the company has over 3,000 global companies and customers across 160 countries.
When Zendesk went public in 2014, it was growing rapidly. But the company’s growth brought challenges. Along with its paid customer accounts, employee headcount was shooting up and Zendesk’s IT group was planning to add new cloud applications for CRM, HR, and other functions to its NetSuite ERP system. Meanwhile, the accounting group was still using mostly manual processes for reconciling accounts at the monthly close.
The company brought in BlackLine to automate its transaction matching, account reconciliation, and task management processes in 2014. Since 2014, Zendesk’s paid customer accounts have jumped to 94,000 and annual revenues have grown past $300 million. BlackLine and the automated processes it offers have become even more valuable to monthly close processes and to Zendesk’s accounting group.
Cut time and effort from financial processes. Zendesk’s accounting workload has also doubled, yet Zendesk continues to cut time and effort from its financial processes. And some of the greatest savings have come from automating key transaction matching processes.
“We use transaction matching for a number of applications now, and we’re adding more every day,” says Patrick Loughnane, senior financial systems analyst at Zendesk.
A typical use is to compare systems, such as Zendesk’s bank account with the NetSuite general ledger. The bank account/GL comparison is used to track the company’s cash on a daily basis. It used to be a manual process, one that kept accountants plenty busy.
BlackLine’s Transaction Matching product automatically links matched transactions to Zendesk’s account reconciliation process. This saves significant time and effort during the monthly close. “An example is the Zuora application,” Loughnane says.
Source compatibility. For a company replacing manual processes with automation, it’s important for users to be able to trust in the new system. BlackLine facilitates that trust by integrating seamlessly with Zendesk’s other systems.
In one demo that he performed for a new user, Loughnane was able to import spreadsheets directly into BlackLine. The process, error-free as it was, surprised him: “I didn’t expect to be able to quickly import the Excel sheet she had been using, but it uploaded to BlackLine and it just worked. I ran a quick reconciliation. It was really easy.”
Operation simplicity. A family of matching rules and filters makes it easy for non-technical users to create accurate and effective matches. “The BlackLine system can analyze multiple invoices to one payment, account for variances due to bank fees or foreign exchange impact, and anticipate independent payee assignments. And that’s just a small example of the power of its rules,” says Loughnane.
Data accuracy. All BlackLine products work from a single, unified code base. As a result, numerical data is always up-to-the-minute accurate. “When you are focusing on an integration, you need something that is reliable, something that the users can depend on and be comfortable with,” Loughnane says.” We need to know that the information coming through is the truth, working all the time, and always accessible. This is what we have with BlackLine.”