Hyatt Hotels Corporation, headquartered in Chicago, is a leading global hospitality company with a proud heritage of making guests feel more than welcome. The company’s worldwide portfolio includes 618 properties in 51 countries.
While Hyatt’s corporate office had already eliminated spreadsheets from their monthly reconciliation process, the accounting consolidation department still had to outsource much of their month-end reconciliations to a service provider in India. “We were monitoring 200-plus hotels but using this webbased tool that was really limited and very slow,” said Jeanette Nimmo, GL global process owner at Hyatt. “We were always waiting on a report that would tell us where the hotels were in the close process. Nothing was in real time, and our visibility across the process—and across the company—was incredibly limited.”
The existing system also made audits laborious. The team had to manually download statements and sort through backups to collect data for auditors.
Complicating matters, the department’s task management tool wasn’t integrated with their reconciliation data, which meant the team never had full visibility into dependencies. As result, keeping employees on task was a highly manual process. “We had a separate tool for task monitoring,” said Nimmo. “It really slowed us down.”
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