Veolia is a global leader in optimized resource management. With over 174,000 employees worldwide, the company designs and provides water, waste, and energy management solutions that contribute to the sustainable development of communities and industries.
In 2013, Veolia North America created a shared services center for its three primary businesses: energy services, water services, and environmental services. Yet while this new approach reduced costs and streamlined workflow, it didn’t address one of the accounting group’s biggest challenges.
“We were still using Excel spreadsheets to manage reconciliations,” said Julie Egan, senior director of general ledger at Veolia North America. “We had financial analysts out in the field trying to verify reconciliations via a shared drive. They were very frustrated with the time it took to find files, as well as the lack of visibility.” In fact, visibility was so lacking that the accounting group missed an entire bank reconciliation for five months. “One person thought the other person was doing it and vice versa. It was a total miss because it simply wasn’t visible to the rest of us.”
Veolia’s continued reliance on shared drives also increased risk and left the company vulnerable to auditor inquiries. “The drives were open to such a huge group of people. We were continually worried about information being accidentally deleted or moved,” said Egan. “Plus, we were failing internal control group testing because sometimes recs couldn’t be found. It was very disorganized.”
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