Aker Solutions is a global provider of products, systems, and services to the energy and raw materials industry. Its engineering, design, and technology bring discoveries into production and maximize recovery. The company employs 17,000 people in 20 countries and has an annual revenue of 33 billion Norwegian Kroner.
When Aker Solutions created a new global finance operating model to get more out of existing finance resources, the improved use of technology was a key enabler. A benchmark of the finance function showed that the company’s cost of finance as a percentage of revenue was higher when compared to that of its peers. Aker Solutions was relying on approximately three times as many full-time employees (FTEs), per billion, of revenue to manage the record-to-report process.
The benchmark confirmed that the company’s manual, spreadsheet-based financial close was consuming too many people resources. “Our close was inefficient, and there were quality issues. As a consequence of the move from a decentralized to a more centralized business model, there was very little standardization,” said Anniken Røssing, Manager Finance Process Improvements at Aker Solutions.
For Røssing and her team, the use of spreadsheets made tracking and reporting on individual close tasks difficult. The ongoing need for follow-up and task reminders also meant staff had less time to spend on analysis and testing, true value added work. “We wanted one streamlined, simplified, standardized, fully automated, efficient, and transparent financial close process, including complete monitoring, workflow, and view into the whole process at any stage.”
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