Energy Transfer is a large publicly traded pipeline company providing transportation for natural gas, crude, and oil. Since 2002, the company has grown from 200 miles of natural gas pipelines to 71,000 miles.
The company’s rapid growth—from a small, one-state business to a large Fortune 100 company—put tremendous pressure on the accounting department to streamline and automate their close
processes. Managing monthly reconciliations across multiple business units was not only inefficient but time consuming, forcing staff to focus on manual tasks instead of crucial analysis and discrepancy management. Worse, the spreadsheet-driven process hampered the accounting team’s ability to track and monitor the closing process in real time. According to
Mark Gonsoulin, Director, Strategic Planning, for Energy Transfer, “We have multiple publicly traded statements, and we operate across the country, so visibility and transparency is critical. And as we continued to grow, we knew we needed better control of our close process.”
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