Zurich is constantly challenging the status quo and searching for innovative ways to gain efficiencies without compromising accuracy or compliance. In the search for a solution, the company engaged a third-party consultant and also reached out to other organizations going through the same transition or in a similar situation.
“None of the suggested solutions were acceptable on our end,” says Doug Tramp, director of finance systems & operational change, Zurich North America. “Each option still increased either the work or maintenance required of our accounting workforce for the foreseeable future. I kept thinking there had to be a better way.”
Zurich had implemented several BlackLine solutions in 2011 to manage the financial close around the globe, while addressing regional requirements. With its initial implementation of BlackLine, Zurich North America was able to strengthen controls and improve visibility across the 170 entities that exist in its environment.
“Before BlackLine, account reconciliations were a very cumbersome process,” says Tramp. “BlackLine definitely helped us improve our controls, not just with reconciliations, but also in the whole close management process. We thought it could help us do the same during the move to SAP S/4HANA.”
Because BlackLine was already a trusted, user-friendly, and agile solution for Zurich, leadership supported the decision to use additional BlackLine functionality to support the ERP transition, along with other use cases.
During the transition to SAP S/4HANA, Zurich North America used BlackLine as a control center and automation solution to reduce staff workload. With the assistance of advisors at BlackLine, Tramp and his team were able to map legacy account structures to the new, creating consistency and maintaining history—including policies and procedures—across systems.
Successfully transitioned to SAP S/4HANA in two years, coming in on budget and on time. Implemented parallel ledgers in preparation for IFRS17 and automated 98% of increased number of reconciliations. Maintained link and transparency between old and new systems without additional data entry or rework. Absorbed over a 160% increase in the number of reconciliations without adding headcount and identified additional use cases for future automation.