Getting the Most Out of BlackLine Systems

Getting the Most Out of BlackLine Systems

Improving financial controls using BlackLine’s native features

The first time I used BlackLine, most of the accounts were reconciled by the respective parties without a hitch. I was the lucky recipient of the difficult to reconcile accounts, now several months overdue (including the first year end). I was told they would likely take me days to research all of the balances in some of the accounts.

So I got into the accounting system and ran some reports of the transactions for the previous three years. After a lot of time in the accounting system and asking a lot of questions to other accounting staff, I was able to categorize all of the transactions for the last three years and came up with how the reconciliations should appear in BlackLine. And I started entering the balances in as normal reconciliation entries.

Fortunately for me, we had a status update and our BlackLine consultant asked how things were going. I explained that I had done all of the difficult work and expressed that I wished it was easier to get the information loaded into BlackLine. The consultant asked how I was entering the items and found out I was re-entering the balances each time the amount changed. The consultant recommended that I use the accruable template. My response: “Template?”

That started my education in how BlackLine can be easier to use through reconciliation templates. In that case, by switching to the accruable template, I could simply update the balance for each of the accrued entries each month and BlackLine would keep track of the schedule of former balances for me.

I moved on to a prepaid account and learned to use the Amortizable template to setup prepaid items: prepaid insurance, prepaid rent, and similar items with declining balances on a fixed schedule. Before BlackLine, each schedule would have been prepared in Excel, then entered into the accounting system, and hopefully the two would match each other and the documentation, which was stored separately.

After loading the schedules into BlackLine with the supporting documentation, the auditors had everything they needed and BlackLine already had all of the entries to handle the previous entries, so the only work to do each month was to enter the new items, upload the new supporting documentation, and verify that the balances still matched.

A few months later (in 2014), I received BlackLine Implementation Partner training and have helped clients use BlackLine features like reconciliation templates to streamline their processes, keep their documentation in a single place, and improve their internal controls.

Bryce’s areas of expertise include financial analysis, process analysis and documentation, and analysis and design of information systems. Bryce has broad-based experience that includes three years of information systems and database administration, five years in treasury investment accounting, and three years of management consulting. Bryce is licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), and is certified as a Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA), a BlackLine Implementation Professional, and a Caseware IDEA Data Analyst.