Founded in 1886, The Coca-Cola Company is the world’s largest beverage company with more than 500 sparkling and still brands. The company’s portfolio also features 20 billion-dollar brands, distributed in more than 200 countries and enjoyed by consumers at the rate of 1.9 billion servings a day.
The Global Finance Operations Division (GFO) of The Coca-Cola Company manages more than 50,000 GL accounts. Yet multiple systems and approaches to the reconciliation process created serious challenges for the global company. “For reconciliations, each region was allowed to determine what type of supporting documentation and technology they would use, from hard copies to Lotus Notes to the SAP ERP. Additionally, regions determined the frequency of reconciliations, who was involved, and training materials,” said Eamonn Matthews, business process lead – accounting & reporting, The Coca-Cola Company. This regional approach to the financial close ensured there was little to no standardization—and zero access to “big picture” analytics throughout the close. The process was also time consuming, with more than 800 associates spending 14,000 hours a month on reconciliations alone. “Every region created and collected its own metrics and maintained the administration and change management of its particular part of the technology,” said Eamonn.
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