A publicly traded company headquartered in Dallas, TX, U.S., Braden Europe designs and engineers components for power plants. Braden Europe is a subsidiary of the US-based Global Power Group.
The majority of Braden employees are engineers, with the company running small sales and HR departments. The company’s accounting team also runs lean, with four people responsible for managing all 300 account reconciliations, as well as aggregating and reporting data to Global Power for consolidation. The team’s reliance on spreadsheets guaranteed the monthly close process was both time consuming and error prone, with two to three days reserved just for updating Excel
files. Even worse, the manual nature of the process didn’t enable all reconciliations to
be finished on time—or at all.
According to Wesley Haagmans, Financial Analyst at Braden, “When I started with Braden, there were accounts that weren’t properly reconciled. Some weren’t reconciled at all. There were mismatches between the balances on the Excel templates and the balances in our ERP system. And there were overdue items on the balance sheet.”
These errors and inefficiencies also made audits even more challenging, with auditors keeping the small staff busy answering questions and providing additional documentation. The existing close process also threatened the company’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance. “We’re a public company, and so we must be SOX compliant,” said Haagmans. “But there were SOX-related deficiencies in our balance sheet reconciliations.”
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