BlackLine Systems: Redefining the Financial Close Process

Therese Tucker, Founder & CEO Companies spend hundreds of millions of dollars on enterprise resource planning and general ledger systems only for them to cater resort to using Excel spreadsheets because of ERP’s shortcomings. Even today, certain processes in finance departments are manual, error-prone and very repetitive–which when automated results in effective use of resources and time, eventually Saving enterprises a lot of money in the long term. BlackLine Systems, realizing that obstacles can be opportunities and Addressing the pain points with automation, came out with its comprehensive next-gen cloud-based Financial Close Suite which is being utilized by the likes of Boeing, Northrop Grumman, DynCorp and AT&T.

Started in 2001 by Therese Tucker as a wealth management software developer, BlackLine shifted gears in 2005 and provided a tailor-made accounting solution to the First National Bank of Nebraska, marking the company’s entry into the financial close and accounting operations arena.
The BlackLine Financial Close Suite, despite being named so, is widely used all month long for various other purposes and not just during the close period, standing as a testament to the product’s versatility. The highly configurable application consists of six different modules that help companies streamline processes, increase efficiency and see a positive return on investment, usually in just six months or less.

When customers use an application for purposes the creator did not intend it to be used for, it is a sign of flexible, powerful and intuitive software; and BlackLine has experienced that multiple times. It might be hard to believe, so here are a couple of instances where the firm’s offering is being used creatively:

A very large American airline has used BlackLine for fuel ticket and wheelchair transit matching, and Cox Communications utilizes BlackLine to track the return of cable TV equipment, in addition to the latter’s solution being widely employed in Cox’s finance department. “The customers are the ones who come up with the best ideas of how to extend our functionality, opening up new market opportunities for us,” says Therese Tucker, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, BlackLine Systems.

One of their long term clients, Cox Communications, led by Executive Director, Enterprise Accounting and Finance Solutions, Tammie Coley, has been an active partner with BlackLine since their first encounter. When they first started as a BlackLine client they had accountants all over the country, and BlackLine was then able to centralize all their accounting operations.
Bottom line: Today, Cox’s accounting operations cost a fraction of what they used to andthe quality is much higher. On another occasion, Cox had approximately a thousand manual journals that theywere generating each month based on a tremendous amount of data, and BlackLine’s bulk journal functionality of their Journal Entry module was able to automate that entire process and cut the number of journal entries to half. Over the years, BlackLine has been improving Cox Communications’ productivity, accountability, and overall operations while keeping costs to the minimum. Overall, Cox estimates BlackLine has saved them 52,000 hours annually at the corporate location alone.

As a part of Therese Tucker’s multi-year plan preparing for the potential eventuality of taking the company public, BlackLine went through a private equity process last year, and they have also acquired some amazing talent over the last few months, making quick progress towards achieving their goal of doing an IPO in the next few years. Apart from that, they also intend to continue sophisticating their already top-notch security model so as to counter the vulnerabilities that come with the skyrocketing adoption of SaaS model.


When you win customers over, they become your advocates and your sales force. You cannot buy that kind of reputation

Company
BlackLine Systems

Headquarters
Los Angeles, CA

Management
Therese Tucker, Founder & CEO

Description
A provider of Software-as-a-Service-based solutions that automate the entire financial close process.