Liverpool Victoria (LV) serves more than 5.8 million customers with a range of financial products. The company was recently recognized for the second year running as Moneywise
Customer Services Awards 2017 Most Trusted Insurer.
As a result of continued expansion, LV has become one of the United Kingdom’s largest insurance companies. Yet with that expansion came challenges, especially for the accounting and finance organization. The company’s existing reconciliation process was dependent on the use of spreadsheets—a system that not only couldn’t keep up with the increasing amount of data but provided few internal controls. The process was also highly manual, and lacked the real-time visibility so crucial to a rapidly growing global company.
“We were highly reliant on Excel, and all of our reconciliations were done in separate spreadsheets. With paper reconciliations, there’s no guarantee that queries are resolved, and there’s always the risk of lost or missing data,” said Andy Young, head of finance at LV. “We were reconciling 3,000 items, and the reporting of those reconciliations and their aging was a lengthy and cumbersome process. Plus, we couldn’t always find supporting documentation.”
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