Founded in 1898, the Arizona Cardinals Football Club is a charter member of the National Football League and the oldest continuously run professional football franchise in the nation. The Club, in tandem with Rojo Hospitality Group, caters to football fans nationwide.
For the Arizona Cardinals Football Club’s small finance department, monthly closes were incredibly challenging. Not only did the eight-person team have to manage more than 600 reconciliations every month, but also the entire process was paper and spreadsheet based—with reconciliations stored in more than 60 binders. According to Christine Harms, Controller, “We used Excel templates, which were saved on the server. Paper copies of spreadsheets were then kept in binders on shelves and in boxes. It was virtually impossible to find anything in a timely manner, and storage and paper costs were continually increasing.”
The Club’s biggest concern was maintaining this inefficient process during periods of anticipated expansion. “Our plans for growth had us asking questions about how technology could help us be more efficient and earth friendly during the close,” said Harms. “There were so many obstacles with our current process. We knew that as we grew, there was no way we could keep the same headcount and yet perform more reconciliations each month.”
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