As the oldest university in The Netherlands, founded in 1575, Leiden University has long held a reputation for excellence. Regularly ranked by QS University ratings as one of the top 100 universities in the world, it prides itself on not simply maintaining its legacy but continuing to build on it. This is one of the reasons it has a world-leading shared service center.
With over 6,500 staff members and one shared service center, the university’s SSC struggled with a lot of paperwork, open line items, and manual controls. Labor-intensive processes resulted in a peak workload that was overwhelming and left employees working long nights and weekends. Barely able to keep up, much less deliver the financial insights that could help the university, the shared service center knew it could do better.
Leiden University started looking for a software solution that would first help streamline their financial close processes and then automate those tasks. Looking for more than just a solution with automation opportunities, they knew that automation would only be beneficial if close processes were efficient.
Therefore, rather than focusing on adding a layer of technology on top of unclear processes, the university chose to find a solution that would help standardize its processes and deliver
a transparent financial close.
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