Vaillant is an international market leader in the field of heating and ventilation technology. Vaillant offers its customers worldwide environmentally-friendly and energy-saving heating and ventilation systems. Based in Remscheid, Germany, the Vaillant Group was founded in 1874 and is still 100% family owned. Proving one of the firm’s tag lines true, “because Vaillant thinks ahead”, the company recently started a financial transformation for Internal Accounting guided by Kai Hennig.
Working for such a large international organization has its challenges. “Vaillant is big,” says Hennig. “We have branches in multiple countries around the world sending information to each other across time zones in order to collect data for the closing process. It’s no easy task and can seriously hinder progress on projects.” Hennig and Vaillant foresaw the need to automate their financial procedures based on the lengthy lists of time-consuming manual tasks employees faced at each closing and the need for establishing clear and transparent financials. “When I started here, the monthly close was too reliant on manual activities and emails. Fortunately, Vaillant and I were on the same page—a modern corporation needs automation because it creates clear processes, workflows, and ownership.”
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