For more than 160 years, Western Union has provided people and businesses with fast and reliable ways to move money. The company operates 500,000 agent locations and employs 10,000 people around the world.
Western Union uses technology seamlessly to help millions of people worldwide exchange money in minutes, from the United States to Mexico, Mongolia to Senegal. Yet the company’s reconciliations process was still highly manual and time consuming, requiring at least 10 processing days every month. Even though the company operates in more than 200 countries, all reconciliations were also managed solely in dollars.
According to Shay Carroll, accounting director GSAS at Western Union, “Our existing process had zero workflow. There was very limited reporting, and any kind of review or oversight was based on emails, scans, and paper being shuffled back and forth. We had 370-page back reconciliations that had to be scanned and sent as an email. And then signed and sent back. There was very little automation.
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