It’s a different day and age in the world of finance and accounting, and there are many companies that are here to help. BlackLine is one of them, providing cloud-based solution that are transforming the financing and accounting industry.
This is done via automating, centralizing and streamlining financial close operations, intercompany accounting processes and other processes for large and midsize organizations. It is designed to complement financial systems like SAP, Oracle and NetSuite.
Senior Public Relations Manager, Ashley Dyer, spoke with RewardExpert about how BlackLine increases operational efficiency, real-time visibility, control and compliance through the use of one single unified platform.
Started by a Visionary
Therese Tucker is the company’s creator. She was among the first women to graduate with a degree from the prestigious Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois, and went on to become one of the only female engineers at Hughes Aircraft in Los Angeles. Later, she founded and bootstrapped BlackLine in 2001 after leaving her position as chief technical officer at a major financial service software company.
“BlackLine was the first cloud-based software focused on back-office automation for finance and accounting,” Dyer said. “The idea was simple: Software that automates many of the rote, manual processes that accountants and other finance professionals have to complete in order to achieve a fast, efficient and accurate financial close. Yet, the idea was revolutionary in that it provided what every business needs: accurate data and efficient processes, all while reducing costs.”
Tucker has helped improve accountants’ lives worldwide, with clients that include Coca-Cola, Costco, eBay, Western Union and Qantas Airways. Aside from being praised for giving accountants a more soothing lifestyle, Tucker has built a company bred on loyalty — including full benefits, office renovations and “work from home Fridays.”
On Oct. 28, 2016, BlackLine had its IPO and, in turn, became the first company in Los Angeles funded by venture capital to go public with a female CEO.
Different From Others
“Our mission is to transform how accounting and finance departments operate,” Dyer said. “Our approach modernizes what historically has been done through batch processing and manual controls typically applied only during the month, quarter or year-end financial close, and delivers dynamic workflows embedded within a real-time, highly automated framework — a process we refer to as continuous accounting.”
“It also enables up-to-date analytics, provides industry-benchmarked metrics, and is designed to help customers run more efficiently while achieving greater accuracy, control and transparency. We believe the need for our software has been driven by growing business and information technology complexities, transaction volumes and expanding regulatory requirements.”
BlackLine software integrates with and obtains data from more than 30 different enterprise resource planning systems, along with other financial systems and applications, such as bank accounts, sub-ledgers and in-house databases.
The platform is designed to provide customers with the following benefits: flexibility and scalability; embedded controls and work flow; real-time visibility; automation and efficiency; and continuous processing.
“We believe that we have a leading position in the enhanced financial controls and automation market because we were one of the first companies to bring software with this functionality to market, and we have a limited number of competitors,” she said.
A Strong Culture and Investing in the Future
BlackLine is a place where people like to work. Employees are offered various professional development and growth opportunities, including orientation and training programs in areas of management, administrative, professional and personal development.
Last year one-third of the entire employee base was composed of former clients — mostly accountants who wanted change and became sales executives, solutions consultants, product experts and customer success managers.
“When Therese founded BlackLine, she was the mother of two small children,” said Dyer. “So, attention to family has always been an integral part of BlackLine.”
“Our central purpose at BlackLine is to help finance and accounting departments automate and streamline their work so that employees have time for work-life balance,” she said. “The simple fact that many of our employees are former clients underscores the importance of our mission.”
BlackLine intends to continue investing in a number of growth initiatives, including innovation and expansion; enhancing leadership position in the enterprise market; expanding into international operations; and extending customer relationships and distribution channels.