How to go from “Newcomer” to “nirvana” in just 90 days
For midsize organizations, following BlackLine’s Modern Accounting Playbook is akin to taking a journey. Each small step leads to the next, and organizations can go as fast or as slow as they need to.
Using our learnings from thousands of customers, we have mapped an achievable route to modern accounting with seven key milestones.
The journey to modern accounting starts with streamlining the very essence of the close process, those critical activities that require the most time and oversight—and overtime.
With BlackLine’s foundation for modern accounting, accounting professionals no longer have to deal with manual reconciliations, spreadsheet-driven task management, and time-intensive preparer-reviewer email chains. Instead, reconciliations, tasks, and alerts are automated, enabling a continuous and streamlined close.
By starting with the Modern Accounting Playbook foundation, midsize organizations gain visibility and tracking across close tasks, automated reconciliations, role-centric reporting and proactive alerts, and enhanced controls. And because BlackLine is a holistic, fully integrated platform, organizations can access financial data and perform close tasks within one system, from anywhere.
A single, secure login enables insight, visibility, and true transparency into the entire close, from start to finish. The result? A streamlined, clean, fast, and efficient close that eliminates stress, overtime, and human error.
Pluralsight shaved five days off its existing close.
Brooks Rehabilitation saw a 36% reduction of manual journal entries, reducing the risk of misstatement and control failure.
Red Wing Shoes saved 3,500 hours per month on reconciliations alone, an annual savings of $1.2 million.
For GoodRx, implementing BlackLine enabled real-time visibility into close progress, as well as confidence that the close process itself maintained integrity.
Midsize organizations don’t have the time or the resources to spend half a year implementing new technologies. That’s one of the reasons it often seems easier to stick with a broken process: change takes time, energy, and effort.
That’s why the Modern Accounting Playbook is designed to be implemented in under 90 days, greatly accelerating time to value and enabling midsize organizations to modernize without significant disruption.
Existing BlackLine customers have called their own 60- to 90-day implementation “straightforward,” “organized,” and “smooth-running.”
“I have done a few IT implementations in my career, and they are usually all over the place. The BlackLine implementation was different. It was highly organized. We had a project plan, a clear timeline, and regular meetings every week. Our consultant was very proactive and made sure we submitted everything on time.”
Milton Massery, Director of Accounting, GoodRx
Post implementation, midsize organizations begin to see results, from a shorter, more efficient close to enhanced visibility. In fact, most companies experience significant change after the next close cycle.
This is also the time when organizations begin to think about doing more, like addressing subpar internal controls. For many, internal controls have been one of the most difficult challenges of a manual close process.
With the Modern Accounting Playbook, establishing rigorous controls is a simple and built-in part of the platform. Organizations can effortlessly ensure segregation of duties, centralize supporting documentation, and enable clear audit trails.
“BlackLine allows us to put robust controls in place and helps ensure flexibility as we grow and scale. We see it as a long-term solution.”
Mark Hansen, Director of Accounting & Finance, Pluralsight
Optimizing the close doesn’t require switching over to an enterprise-level system or buying multiple platforms. Instead, the Modern Accounting Playbook enables midsize organizations to start small and grow over time. Organizations can easily expand close capabilities when they’re ready simply by adding new functionality. Additional transaction matching use cases like credit card reconciliations and prepaids, journal entry automation, and variance analysis functionality and can be adopted as you continue your modern accounting journey.
BlackLine lets organizations add what they need, when they need it. And while they’re building their own connected accounting ecosystem, BlackLine provides ongoing guidance on finetuning F&A processes, boosting efficiency, enabling Continuous Accounting, and providing leading-edge practices.
"Not only did we reduce the overall days in the close from 15 to five, but we also reduced the number of hours needed each day. People are working eight hours during the close instead of ten.”
Ray Willardson, Controller, sPower
Modernizing the close is only the beginning. That’s why, as organizations evolve from a traditional, manual close to a continuous and automated one, BlackLine enables additional growth and transformation in other areas of Accounting.
Midsize organizations can take advantage of audit and compliance process solutions, cash application solutions, and intercompany accounting functionality. New features can easily be adopted as volume and complexity grows—and in alignment with the organization’s unique business strategy.
“Our audit was seamless this year. Auditors didn’t have any questions about our documentation. To me, that was so valuable. The compliance aspect of BlackLine, with respect to documentation for control purposes, is almost priceless.”
Mike McNamara, Senior Director of Finance & Corporate Controller, Marinus Pharmaceuticals
What does BlackLine hear most frequently from customers? They “sleep better at night.” Because BlackLine increases security, reduces risk, and improves visibility, customers have newfound confidence in the books.
This confidence comes from knowing that processes have integrity, data is transparent and accessible, and errors and discrepancies are easily identified (no more “financial surprises.”) In addition, users know that the close will finish on time and gathering data for audits will take minutes, instead of hours.
“It’s the hidden dividend of BlackLine, the ability to streamline these core business processes. I’m not worried about if we’re closing the books on time or if everything is accurate. When it comes to the close, I sleep well at night.”
Eric Evans, CFO, Big Ass Fans
The most effective way to put the six previous habits into practice is to follow this principle: if you can’t eliminate it, automate it.
Manual processes are time-consuming and responsible for the huge spike of work during the financial close. As organizations automate these processes, it will accelerate their close and free up time to focus on more value-adding activities.
Automation increases accounting efficiency and transparency, and creates more satisfied and engaged finance and accounting teams.
Better yet, you can trust the numbers again.
“Even though we keep adding complexity, we still have to close the books on time. We actually have to close them faster now because there is a lot of pressure on us to report faster. With BlackLine, we can keep up with the increased workload—and increased complexity—as the company grows.”
Milton Massery, Director of Accounting, GoodRx