Spending More Time Analyzing Balances and Reviewing Results

A leader in the housing market, Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures, and distributes high-performance construction materials that address the challenges of sustainability, resource efficiency, and climate change. The company has a rich, 350-year history, and has grown to more than 170,000 employees in 66 countries and approximately €40 billion in annual revenue.

The Challenge

The Saint-Gobain Group is comprised of nearly 900 subsidiaries and three business divisions: Innovative Materials, Products for Construction, and Building Distribution. In 2008, the company created Shared Services Centers (SSC) to centralize, standardize, and simplify the accounting processes globally. These SSC’s span 25 countries and 629 legal entities.

Previously, each SSC prepared account reconciliations in its own way and then submitted them for review. This process, largely manual and still paper-based, was very time-consuming. It also hampered the traceability and accuracy requirements of the internal accounting teams, and both the internal and external auditors.

“After setting up our shared service network in 2010, we shifted our focus to improving and maximizing efficiency. Several parts were identified, including streamlining and consolidating accounts payables and automating customer and general accounting. Overall, we wanted to improve and standardize all our reconciliations and internal control operations,” says Pascal Perrier-Gustin, Director of Shared Service Centers and Financial Organization Projects at Saint-Gobain Group.

“In other words, our goals were to standardize our accounting processes through automation, strengthen internal controls, accelerate the monthly close, and ultimately, improve the relationship between the SSC’s and our customers.”

Branche

Construction

ERP

SAP

Region

Europe

Company Size

Enterprise

Business Impact

Automation and standardization of accounting processes; internal and external audit traceability; decreased printing and storage costs; facilitation of balance sheet review; improved process quality; increased efficiency and accuracy.

More Growth in the Playbook

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.”

The Results

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

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