Therese Tucker

CEO & Founder, BlackLine

Biography

Therese Tucker is not your usual buttoned-up CEO and entrepreneur

On a typical day at BlackLine’s Los Angeles headquarters, BlackLine CEO and Founder Therese Tucker is fast on her feet, a blur of color as she sprints from one meeting to the next across three floors of the office tower that bears BlackLine’s name. A certified yoga instructor, she is equally nimble with words, a necessity given the arcane language of Finance & Accounting (F&A) that she has mastered. Her financial acumen and technological ingenuity have combined to make the work of thousands of accountants more efficient and humane, lowered the stress levels of internal auditors and given CFOs extraordinary visibility into their organizations’ business performance, informing smarter decisions to enhance competitive standing.

Prior to launching financial controls and automation software company BlackLine in 2001, Therese was the Chief Technology Officer at SunGard Treasury Systems. When she started BlackLine, she had more than 25 years in financial accounting and technology development experience under her belt and was focused initially on providing a wealth management solution to First National Bank of Nebraska. When an accountant expressed frustration over the bank’s manual processes to reconcile the books, Therese took notice.

A software programmer at heart (and someone who deeply detests waste and inefficiency), she put her nose to the grindstone and developed the first automated solution for account reconciliations. BlackLine, as we know it today, was born, albeit Therese was the sole investor at the time, balancing two school-age children at home with the demands of a burgeoning enterprise.

In subsequent years, she merged her two passions in technology and finance to the behest of Finance & Accounting organizations across the world, adding new functionalities that addressed the expressed problems of clients. Under Therese’s direction, BlackLine also was first to market with enterprise-class SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) applications automating the entire financial close process. It was an open field and business grew exponentially. The company now has users in over 130 countries served by some 700 employees worldwide. The impressive client roster boasts such global household names as Boeing, British Gas, Costco, Dow Chemical, DuPont, eBay, Lafarge SA, Northrop Grumman, Qantas Airways, Saint Gobain and United Airlines, to cite just a few.

Altogether, BlackLine touts at least 25 customers in the Fortune 100 and 100 of the Fortune 500. The company also has penetrated the ranks of mid-sized companies, and has offices now in more than 10 cities around the world. Additional Europe and Asia offices are planned, as BlackLine continues to add global clients, demonstrating the increasing demand worldwide for software to automate key F&A processes.

Running the business has required making risky moves. When Therese led the company’s shift to a 100 percent SaaS/cloud business model in 2008, she was well aware this would restrict cash flow. Nevertheless, she believed the decision would encourage more customers to sign on because of the lower upfront capital expenditure. The gamble paid off—nearly all of the company’s SaaS customers increased the number of their licenses, generating an increasing volume of recurring revenue.

Today, many leading advisory firms, like Ernst & Young, KPMG, Deloitte and PwC, employ a growing list of representatives that are ‘BlackLine Certified Implementation Professionals.’ In 2013, the BlackLine Financial Close Suite for SAP® Solutions became an SAP-endorsed business solution, joining the ranks of fewer than 40 other software offerings globally to be recognized by the enterprise application software leader. BlackLine also is an SAP Gold Partner. In 2016, Therese spearheaded the acquisition of Runbook, a Europe-based provider of F&A automation solutions to the SAP market, further solidifying BlackLine’s position as a leading provider of software solutions to automate and control the entire financial close process for SAP customers worldwide.

In addition, BlackLine is recognized by global technology industry research firm Gartner as a Leader in its Magic Quadrant for Cloud Financial Corporate Performance Management (FCPM) Solutions and as a pioneer in the cloud market for enhanced financial control and automation of FCPM.

Growth and Honor

After self-funding, bootstrapping and turning down several offers from venture capital firms, in 2013 Therese partnered with Silver Lake Sumeru, the mid-market arm of leading technology-focused global private equity firm Silver Lake, to undertake a recapitalization of the company and drive its next phase of growth. This vital financial commitment from Silver Lake validates the huge market opportunity for solutions that automate processes for the office of the CFO. In 2016, Therese went on to lead BlackLine through an IPO, debuting on the Nasdaq Select Global Market and becoming one of the first/only female tech company founders to take her company public.

Therese’s leadership, passion and persistence have not gone unrecognized. BlackLine ranked No. 7 on the 2016 list of the ‘50 Fastest’ Women-Owned/Led Companies in the world, as reported in Fortune. BlackLine also has made the Software 500 list of the “world’s largest and best-performing software companies” for the past seven years, the Deloitte Tech Fast 500 for the past eight, and the prestigious Inc. 500/5000 for nine years in a row, joining the ranks of such high-growth brand name companies as Jamba Juice, Microsoft and Patagonia. BlackLine also has been named a Red Herring 100 Global Winner – recognizing the company as one of the “most innovative and promising” tech ventures in the world.

Many prestigious industry organizations have recognized Therese’s myriad accomplishments, as well. In 2010, Accounting Today selected her as one of '10 To Watch' in the accounting profession. In 2011, San Fernando Valley Business Journal honored her as a ‘Woman of the Decade’ for her continuous accomplishments in building and growing the software company. The same year, she earned the 2011 Stevie American Business Award for Software Executive of the Year, awarded the previous year to Oracle’s Larry Ellison!

The accolades keep coming in. In 2016 alone, Therese and BlackLine were honored with ‘CEO of the Year’, ‘IPO of the Year’ and ‘Europe Deal of the Year’ awards. She also earned the ‘2013 Enterprising Women of the Year Award’ from Enterprising Women magazine, and both she and BlackLine received the Patrick Soon-Shiong Innovation Award that same year – a unique honor, recognizing the company for innovations that help companies save time, reduce costs and make life easier for those working in corporate Finance & Accounting.

Therese has been invited to speak multiple times at the Harvard Business School ‘Dynamic Women in Business’ conference and also at Columbia University’s ‘Women Leadership Summit.’ In addition to leading BlackLine and teaching yoga when time permits, Therese also has developed a tax/wealth planning software tool, which has been marketed to tax preparers and CPAs since 1998.

Giving Back

Therese believes strongly in giving a percentage of her salary to charitable organizations and causes. She is on the Board of California Community Foundation. On an ongoing basis, she has supported the Los Angeles Mission, Los Angeles Christian Health Centers, PATH and Dream Center, a distributor of food to high-risk, poor areas of downtown Los Angeles. Therese has a personal goal to one day provide Dream Center with a technology/software platform that would automate the distribution process and allow the organization to deliver more food to more people.

Therese also makes every effort to get BlackLine clients involved in these endeavors. Before each Annual User Conference, the company conducts a community event engaging clients, partners and employees to work together as volunteers. One year, for instance, more than 80 people helped build homes in New Orleans through Habitat for Humanity.

As a company, BlackLine gives back to the local community in Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley through sponsorship of concerts in the park and benefits/events with the local Loaves & Fishes and Toys for Tots organizations. BlackLine employees also volunteer at least several days each year with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, GLIDE and Toys for Tots.

To people who know Therese well, these philanthropic initiatives go with the territory. In her business life, she is most proud of the ways in which BlackLine has made work more humane for people, relinquishing them from rote, repetitive manual tasks and freeing them up to spend more time with their families. Therese is on a mission to modernize corporate finance. The fact that these automated solutions generate revenue is merely icing on the cake. Pink icing.

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In The News

The latest media coverage on Therese Tucker

The Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting

September 07, 2018

Accounting Today

Top Talent: Here’s What It Takes to Land It

September 04, 2018

CFO Magazine

Busting the Myths About Startup Success with BlackLine (Video + Transcript)

July 30, 2018

SaaStr.com

Automation, Integration and Modern Finance

July 01, 2018

EY Better Finance Podcast

The pink-haired CEO of a $2 billion tech company talks glass ceilings, #MeToo and equal pay

May 25, 2018

CNBC.com

Manual processing of reconciliations is a critical audit matter

May 14, 2018

Accounting Today

Interview with Therese Tucker, BlackLine

April 02, 2018

SoCalTech

From Bootstrapped to $1.15B IPO – Therese Tucker of BlackLine

March 26, 2018

Backstage Capital

Navigate 2018 - Therese Tucker shares lessons she’s learned on her journey to taking her company public

February 28, 2018

Nasdaq

BlackLine Snags Top NetSuite Exec As The Woman-Led Software Company’s Stock Soars

February 16, 2018

Forbes

10 Most Inspiring Entrepreneurial Stories of 2017

December 27, 2017

Inc. Magazine

This Tech Founder Runs a $1.8B Software Company. Now She’s Trying to Help L.A.‘s Homeless

December 15, 2017

Inc. Magazine

11 Startup Founder Podcasts Discuss Bootstrapping First, Raising Money Later

December 11, 2017

Huffington Post

Therese Tucker: Making Accountants’ Lives Easier

December 01, 2017

Enterprising Women

How This Woman Went from Flunking Out of College to Starting a Billion-Dollar Company

November 21, 2017

MSN

How BlackLine chief Therese Tucker conquers in a man’s world

October 10, 2017

The Australian

The Single Most Important Trait for Female Leaders

September 29, 2017

Inc. Magazine

Top 25 Women Leaders in SaaS

September 26, 2017

The SaaS Report

Therese Tucker says easier as female tech founder than employee

September 26, 2017

Financial Times

Top Women in the Business World Discuss Their Careers

September 22, 2017

USA Today/Media Planet

Meet the Woman Who Broke Silicon Valley’s Gender Barrier—and Built a $1.5 Billion Tech Company

September 19, 2017

Inc. Magazine

How the boss of BlackLine went from agriculture to automation

September 11, 2017

City A.M.

10 Podcasts With Founders Discussing How They Built Their Unicorn Startups

June 16, 2017

Huffington Post

Unconventional CEO Builds BlackLine Success

June 12, 2017

San Fernando Valley Business Journal

How 10 Founders Launched Successful Unicorn Companies

June 12, 2017

Inc. Magazine

BBC News Interview: Therese Tucker of BlackLine

June 08, 2017

BBC News

Therese Tucker: Bring on the Saas

April 01, 2017

C-Suite Quarterly

Robots are not accountants

March 15, 2017

Accounting Today

An Entrepreneur’s Journey From a Farm to Nasdaq

December 23, 2016

The Epoch Times

Cloud Software Company BlackLine Soars in Its Nasdaq Trading Debut

October 28, 2016

TheStreet.com

Nasdaq CEO Signiture Series

October 28, 2016

Nasdaq

L.A.‘s Latest $1-Billion Tech Company has a Female CEO

October 28, 2016

Los Angeles Times

BlackLine CEO Interview

October 28, 2016

Reuters TV

On the Board: Leaders in Philanthropy

October 17, 2016

C-Suite Quarterly

100 Best Medium-Sized Workplaces - BlackLine Takes #65 Spot

October 12, 2016

Fortune

BlackLine Named to Inaugural Forbes Cloud 100 List

September 09, 2016

Global Banking & Finance Review

Does the Earnings Stripping Regulation Remove Too Much?

August 10, 2016

CFO.com

Continuous Accounting: A Marathon, Not a Sprint

June 22, 2016

Accounting Today

Putting Continuous Accounting to Work

May 06, 2016

CFO.com

These Are the 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Owned Businesses

April 06, 2016

Fortune

Stopping the Madcap Sprint to Close the Books

March 02, 2016

CFO.com

Announcing The socalTECH 50, 2015 Edition

November 19, 2015

socalTECH.com

The Impact 50 - America’s 50 Fastest-Growing Women-Led Companies

September 16, 2015

Inc. Magazine

Even Collaborative Cultures Need Space for Introverts

June 01, 2015

Inc.com

The 50 Fastest Growing Women-led Midmarket Businesses

May 11, 2015

Forbes

Could This Cloud Financial Software Reduce Dependence on Spreadsheets?

December 03, 2014

Female Entrepreneurs Are Happier Than Male Entrepreneurs

July 30, 2014

Just 3% Of Venture Capitalists Are Female, But There Are Reasons To Be Optimistic

June 05, 2014

"The biggest game changer in technology today is SaaS. Software as a service typically requires very little IT resources and allows the business owner to direct and control the implementation of their selected software. There’s no need to order hardware, schedule scarce IT resources or competition for resources against other systems. SaaS is the future."

- Therese Tucker, BlackLine Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Therese's Blog

Recent posts from Therese

A look at Continuous Accounting

For years, management consultancies have touted the benefits of continuous improvement, the ongoing efforts in a business to improve products, services or processes by increments. In doing so, companies can identify and eliminate waste, enhance operational excellence and focus on issues like growing the business, accountant stress, the risk of administrative and reporting errors, and the possibility of a material weakness.

At last, continuous improvement has come to the world of accounting and finance, as Russ Banham points out in our cover story, “Counting on Continuous Accounting.” We’re a leader in this movement to forge a new mindset in finance, breaking down the accounting tasks that usually pile up at the period-end close into a series of smaller steps, all of them automated, of course....

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BL Named to Garner Magic Quadrant

A business must boldly blaze a trail that others follow, striving to do what’s best for its customers, probing what the future will demand of them, and making innovative decisions that help move them forward. These are the attributes of a business leader....

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Continuous Accounting at the Speed of Business

ver wonder where the term, the “last mile” of finance, originated? This oft-used phrase to describe the month’s worth of work painfully squeezed into a few days to close the books refers to the final steps taken by a prisoner condemned to die. Company accountants can relate to this fate.

Compressing the closing activities for financial reporting into scant days results in overwrought accountants more likely to make mistakes, high labor costs to staff up for the peak overload, delayed forecasts by FP&A (financial planning and analysis), and tardier testing of Sarbanes-Oxley controls by internal audit....

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Welcome to the future of Finance

Last year in Chicago BlackLine introduced a new vision for the accounting and finance profession. It’s called Modern Finance, and it’s changing business – your business – in ways that might not have seemed possible a few years ago....

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