For Brooks Rehabilitation, caring for patients is paramount. Yet providing high-quality care takes more than hiring skilled, compassionate providers. It also means adapting to and maintaining compliance with numerous regulations surrounding accounting accuracy and visibility.
Yet even as Brooks’ healthcare team made the switch to electronic medical records, the organization’s accounting team still struggled with a paper-based financial close. According to Hannah Marshall, senior accountant, “We had binders of journal entries for each user, organized by month. Our old process was to create the journal entry in Excel®, key it into our EHR, then print it out and attach proper backup documentation. Once the month was closed, all accountants had to hole-punch their entries, file them in a binder and then give the binders to the managers for approval. The binders would sit in offices and collect dust until managers had a chance to approve them.”
The manual process and hard-copy documentation severely hampered workflow—increasingly risky as the company expanded to serve more patients in need. “We were challenged by a lack of approvals. Sometimes entries were approved after the close was completed,” says Marshall. “Because everything was paper-based and highly manual, there was simply no visibility or oversight. It was very difficult for upper management to know where we stood during the close.”
Brooks Rehabilitation’s criteria for a new close solution were extensive. The team wanted a system that would improve workflow, allow real-time reporting, and enable access to both journal entries and reconciliations in one platform. “We wanted to reduce time spent keying, streamline the process, and be able to spend more time analyzing data instead of just reporting it,” says Marshall. “We wanted to say goodbye to our binders and increase transparency.”
According to Marshall, BlackLine’s Financial Controls and Automation platform was the only solution that offered Brooks’ their entire wish list. “BlackLine is cloud-based, so we could get real-time visibility across all our facilities, from anywhere. We knew from the company’s reputation and referral calls that their customer service was good, and the platform worked with our EHR. BlackLine was easy to use and free training through BlackLine U was always available. Finally, the price was right.”
Reduced manual journal entries by 36%. Previously, Brooks’ large number of manual journal entries consumed valuable accountant time and increased the risk of errors. With BlackLine, Marshall and her team have reduced the number of manual journal entries by 36%.
“My favorite aspect of BlackLine is quicker journal entry processing time. We no longer have to type up an entry in Excel, print it out, key it into MEDITECH, attach the backup, and file it,” says Marshall. “BlackLine’s Excel import templates have helped us reduce journal entries from 550 a month to 350 a month. We have additional time for analysis and review of financials due to less time spent keying, and our approvals are completed before the close is finalized. Our controller is much happier.”
Increased visibility across the entire organization. Brooks’ accountants can view any account, at any time, and get the true “big picture” of the entire close—without searching for the right binder. Files and documentation are stored within BlackLine, reducing the need for paper storage areas (and associated costs). “BlackLine has given us real transparency,” says Marshall. “We have easy access, from anywhere, to pull journal entries and backup for reference, reviews, and audits.”
Streamlined workflow. With BlackLine, Brooks’ accounting leaders can assign tasks, ensure standardization of entries, and automate rote processes. As a result, Marshall and her team now have an efficient, streamlined workflow every month, saving time and people resources. They’re also better prepared for growth as healthcare needs in Florida expand. “We love that BlackLine is web-based and easily accessible from any computer for any user,” says Marshall. “Our managers love the mobile access feature. They can log in from their phone and approve journal entries from anywhere. BlackLine has truly helped us modernize our financial close process.”