Hello everyone and welcome to today's webinar on financial close excellence. As you can see this is a webinar series from S APN Black Line. So there are multiple parts and this is the second part of that series. We're having you could join us today. I'm very excited to have some other speakers with me today, Michael Gilmartin, Elizabeth Mill, my name is Molly boil. I'm with us Black Line Ana finance transformation expert with several years of experience implementing and optimizing Blackline Nsap solutions. Michael is black lines vice president of value architecture. He helps our customers understand the value that our solution spring, particularly in an SAP space and he's going to talk to us today. About the use case around Journal entry management. Elizabeth melon is also joining us, she's a financial close expert and senior director in the product marketing group at ASAP. I'm excited to welcome her to kick-off today's webinar in just a minute, but let's quickly cover our agenda. As I mentioned this is the second web and are in a series from black line and SAP. The first webinar focused around the use case of balance sheet substantiation how black line extends apes core functionality in that area. Will do a brief review of what we covered in the previous web and R and we'll talk a little bit about the solution extension offerings. An essay Tees priceless by black line. The focus of today's webinar is Journal entry management will talk through the core use cases and will share some results and impactful outcomes that our customers have had. As we mentioned there are some other resources for you and you can ask a question by clicking on that. Q and a widget at any point during the web and R. With that let's go ahead and get started. I'm going to turn it over to Elizabeth to kick us off. Elizabeth. Great, thanks very much. I am Elizabeth Mill. I work at SAPI have worked at SIT for just over 20 years now. Direct position I've always focused on the area of the accounting and financial flows and I've been working with the black line solutions for probably. 8 plus years, so working together with black line to see how the black line solutions fit with the ASAP Solutions is really something. That we're going to be talking about today and digging right into. So what is the solution extension you may ask so that's a fancy word that SAP created in order to name? This special relationship that we have with black lines. So as you can see on the bottom there that sleepy partner network is is huge. There's over 18,000 companies that are part of that. But the solution extensions are special companies. We've only got 30. One of them right now and what this means is that S app sells the black line solutions. Directly, but it also means is that we've gone through testing an understood what the Black Lion Solutions are. And how they fill a whitespace in ASAP for portfolio. So Blackline Nsap together can give you that expensive. And and financial clothes. It's important to know that we've got a number of direct customers that are out there and then also our development team. Work together from a product road map standpoint to ensure that we continue to complement an. Have these solutions really work together in order to deliver you the best experience for your accounting and financial clothes. So accounting and financial close also called record to report there's a lot of different names that are out there. But there's a lot of different pain points that people have during the various steps and processes during your. Accounting processes and with that, we've got a number of different solutions that are offered by ASAP and you can see right here. That the both the black line solutions are real complement to the whole offering of the end to end. Accounting and financial closed process. A quick review from our last session, we want to talk about balance sheet substantiation. Took you to know that FPS for Hana Architecture, which is based on the Universal Journal as its backbone. It eliminates data reconciliations within the ERP this is key to our messaging and if you hear anybody talk about SA PS4 Hana. They will often say that there are no more reconciliations needed when you go to an S4 Hana architecture. Now that is true within the ERP itself and you need to think about this beyond the ERP as well, too. The fun thing about the word reconciliations is it means a lot of different things to different people so the data reconciliation. Within the Universal Journal. Absolutely is illuminated between all your ledgers and subledger tables that existed in an ECC world. However, That being said an account reconciliation when you're talking to an accountant is all about being able to. Substantiate the completeness and the accuracy of those general Ledger balances. So data reconciliation is one thing account reconciliation slash substantiation also a different thing. To dive into that just a little bit more right. We've got a nice bite here that shows you that that data reconciliation aspect of it is just a small little circle. That exists within the bigger area of of substantiation so substantiation. You've got comments and workflow really keeping here is all about the auditability aspect So what? Black lion brings to the table as the ability to substantiate that data that's in the ERP if you think about. You balance your checkbook. Even though your bank is going to record all those transactions in there, you still go in and make sure that all the checks that are written are correct that. All the automatic postings are correct and then you're going to go back and look at the invoices and have that. Instantiation aspect of it, so that's really where black line comes to the table is the ability to have that completeness. And the accuracy. So, In addition, we want to embed best practices and continuously improve your processes so the financial closed process is the combination of people. Process and technology and why less APU in black line together provide the technology. It's for the accountant and for your finance Department to really leverage this. Technology to change their processes so the legacy processes that existed lots of binders share drives lots of manual things that are existing. Somewhere offline you've got spreadsheets and formulas that don't have trace ability to them and it's really just hard to have an idea of what's going on? With the financial close excellent you've got a single cloud repository. You've got lots of templates. I can't emphasize the templates really end up. Because so many people have been using FAP and black line together for years now. There are best practices that are out there that are completely baked into these solutions themselves so the templates that are out there. Based on SCP processes based on on things that are going to be familiar to you in your environment. Great an with that I will turn it back over to Molly. Thanks, Elizabeth. Before we get into the meat of today's presentation, which as I mentioned is focus on Journal entry management. I want to review. A few concepts that we discussed last time as well, and this is really how these black lines solution extensions. Help optimize the end to end process and so, if we think about what's going on in the industry now and some of the trends. We're seeing in terms of the roles that accounting is playing in the organization. We're noticing that just as CFO's are expanding their role in being asked to drive strategy and partner closely with the CEO and CIO. Likewise, controllers are being asked to do more as well. The financial close and handing over those sort of ending financial statements is really just. A piece of of what we're being asked to do were were also being asked. You know to participate in some of those strategic discussions to provide more real time information and. Insights etc. And so let's talk about how we can move from sort of those legacy processes which really look kind of like this, if you think about the traditional clothes. Right on the left hand side as we discussed in the first web and are you have all of your sources of data your systems of record. And your other key data sources and again when you're talking about the black line solution extensions. It doesn't matter if you have. A single instance of S4 Hana or if you have dozens of different E arps across your entities and. Organization those data sources are all equally important an all can be sort of imported into our platform. But those systems of record are not the areas of the process that black line is going to address your transactions are going to continue to. Occur in those source systems and likewise the solution extensions as you saw in as Elizabeth mentioned in an earlier slide. Do not address that external reporting piece as AP has other great solutions that help with those outputs. The consolidation process. The management reporting in the planning process. In the middle there is where we're focused and we're going to talk about the Journal entry piece of this process today. But again what we typically see in accounting organizations is just a lot of Excel work. A lot of swivel chairing. A lot of moving data from place to place a lot of preparing documents again in spreadsheets emailing them for approvals. Routing them through maybe a shared drive or something like that, but a lot of extra work and effort. An honestly a lot of room for error. In that process and it's important to focus in on that middle area right? What are those types of activities? Why can't? As for Hana or why can't your ERP system address all of those well. That's really because of sort of the role the fundamental role. In my organization, the fact that accounting is not just always transactional that there's a lot of judgment and analysis involved often times. And that the accounting regulations. Whether that's USF Gabor. I FRS all require this accrual based accounting that has some. Areas to it that are not always black-and-white an that require again. Those analysis those outside the ERP system activities to take place in order to potentially post adjustments or even recurring entries. Q your ERP. So we want to focus on or we want to remind everybody's Elizabeth did already. That this is where the solution extensions by Black Eyed really extend that core ASAP functionality while your ERP system, particularly if it's S4 is going to contain? All that critical information your general Ledger your subledger. It's going to unify all that data, which is super powerful. To the end, customer, but we need to streamline and we need to better organize, and again provide that audit trail around those processes that are happening and need to continue to happen outside the ERP. So again it's a quick reminder that solution extensions by black line sort of address that middle area. Those typically Excel driven processes. And there are multiple solutions within those solution extensions that drive different benefits, an address different use cases for the customer. So again we talked about balance sheet substantiation last time in a future web and R will be will talk. Talk about the automation capabilities of our transaction, matching solution. But today, we're really going to focus in on Journal entry management. And before I hand it over to Michael just a quick reminder that from an architecture perspective. One of the benefits of having a cloud solution like black line. Is that we can we can work with all of those source systems so if you have multiple air peas or if you have one. TRP you can not only bring that data into the black line platform to really drive that automation and that standardization of those processes. But also black line has ASAP connectors that allow us to post those entries are those adjustments back into your. TRP really in real time as if you were posting them to the ERP themselves. So with that I'm going to go ahead and turn it over to Michael, who can introduce himself a little more and share some of the solutions around Journal entry management. Michael. Thank you. Molly this is Michael Gilmartin, I'm the vice president value architecture blackline been with black line about. 8 years, helping customers evaluate both my client solutions. But before that, I was a black line customer. I was an accountant. That was ASAP project manager implemented black line and got a lot of positive results with it before coming to black line and. And one of the things that that I definitely did as an accountant was hundreds if not thousands, of Journal entries. And it was a it was a process that was a bit of a struggle where I worked Molly. Actually mentioned some of the reasons for manual Journal entries. There's different accounting rules and regulations that drive the need to prepare. Manual Journal entries accounts need to post entries for accruals. I need to post entries for prepaid amortization allowance for doubtful accounts is. A lot of things that need to be analyzed in adjusted during the closed process some of the challenges. Is that much of the data used to drive that often comes from outside of the ERP system from? Uh no external systems 3rd party systems from agreements and other things, of that nature some other things you know. Before posting to the general Ledger, oftentimes there's a a documentation process and they and approval process that has to be completed before. Entries are posted auditors need to be able to access information after the fact which that can be a challenging. Exercise in order to provide all that information, especially if the current processes of paper driven process. You know, then trying to report on an isolate certain entries, especially in a in a hetero genius environment where there's entries. In a lot of different systems, it can be really difficult to get a full comprehensive view of all the Journal entries. To get absolutely I think a key thing to know here is that accountant, they do think that's important right. Is it part of accounting decisions in deciding? What needs to be done and those manual processes again as Molly mentioned that are typically done. In spreadsheets and all those types of things that's where in a cloud based environment where black line comes to the table. In order to substantiate an help make those decisions to decide what you want to post into your ERP. Even the automated adjustments that exists within an ERP system. An accountant had to decide what that adjustment was that automatic posting was going to be. The Journal entries have lots of different flavors. There's manual Journal entries. There's automatic Journal entries. There's consolidating Journal entries. And again all of these that documentation around it. The Workflow and approval. The discussions around what accounting adjustments are we going to make. That's where black line is going to come to the table to really help facilitate all that so that you can ensure that was posted in your? Is complete and accurate? Thanks, Elizabeth. Let's take a look at a legacy process more manual process versus a more streamlined more modern process. In the legacy process with a lot of companies. We work with you know, there's thousands of manual entries being posted. I have worked with some companies that are posting nearly 100,000 manual Journal entries a month. There's often duplication between the Journal entry and account reconciliation process because in many cases, the Journal entries are substantiation for the account reconciliation. And an accountant goes through a double effort of substantiating the balance sheet account with those entries. Many companies are still using a paper driven process using binders and no manual sign offs at best, maybe using? The shared drives or maybe a share point but. There's not a lot of visibility or workflow associated with these spreadsheets are often the driver, the issue, there is that there. It it's difficult to keep a standard process with a spreadsheet spreadsheet templates morph overtime due to lack of. Controls and they're also a error prone as well. Your entries off and have to be created or loaded into different ERP systems because of the manual nature of the process. Approvals will often occur after the GL posting which is often times, too late into actually catch it in error. Also, there's a significant amount of time and effort spent on the back end of the process of gathering all of this information and being able to provide it to an auditor. Took in a more streamlined process entries that are predictable or standard entries or recurring in nature, or fully or partially automated. Meaning that the entries are being generated automatically a user doesn't have to go through the same exact process month in and month. Out to re create an entry similar to the one they did last month master data is auto validated. SAP meaning that as a user is creating an entry they're getting messages and alerts based off of. If their current entry is valid in the ERP system entries can be used as supporting items in a reconciliation. Entries can be created. Through a reconciliation process to prevent someone from having to identify an error in one system and then go manually create. An entry in another system. Business defined rules drive workflow, meaning that you know accounts can set up rules related to their workflow and related to their Journal entries. An audit trail is Seamless and maintained and auditors would have access direct access to the information to see. Who completed what? When they did it and see the evidence in the supporting documentation for the Journal entry? Also segregation of duties is embedded within the process. Let's take a very specific example uhm for prepaid reconciliation and amortization entries. So often times a user is working with an amortization schedule that they created in Excel that they're using month in and month out to track. Prepaid invoices there's updating this monthly updating formulas which is inherently prone to errors. They're preparing reconciliations 12 months. Out of the year. And then also having to get that reconciliation approved every single month. They're having to create for every single invoice amortization entries. For every single month and there, having to get those. Entries approved every single month. For every single, prepaid amortization. Oftentimes, the supporting documentation for both the reconciliation and the Journal entry. Are printed and signed off on saved in binders potentially in shared drives and then auditors in order to access that information. Have to ask the accounts to provide it in which case new accounts have to go back to the Binder. Make copies or potentially go to the shared drive and download the information and email it to an auditor. In a more streamlined approach with modern tools. Amortization schedule is created in the cloud during month. One of the contract, meaning one time a one time setup of an amortization schedule. That's automatically calculated based off of key information like starting and ending dates supporting documentation is attached one time. Up to that particular reconciliation. The first month of the reconciliation is approved, the entries should be able to be automatically derived from there, the accountant has already. Decided what the future of that account should be and what the amortization should be so in a streamlined process. The software knows what entries to create and then the audit trail and supporting documents are all electronically captured there in that process. The Journal entries can be posted in ASAP just like any other ERP system. There's even new tools in order to be able to. Upload spreadsheets into S4, however. The entire Journal entry process can be managed with solution extensions like black line, where recurring entries can be automated. Workflow can be embedded documentation can be attached and auditors can have access to the information on the back end of the process. So to summarize some of the things we just talked about the legacy Journal entry process contains a lot of manual steps. Uh, which generally requires downloading information from other systems using Excel to generate entries going through approval and documentation. Documentation process before posting into ASAP it usually requires a lot of effort and then also a lot of effort. On the back end of the process the Journal entry management tool by black line. It helps you centralise your Journal entry process, especially across multiple ER PS helps you sign off and certify. Journal entries electronically and attach supporting documentation provides full transparency and visibility across all different types of manual Journal entries. In one location and reduces risk by giving you a standardized process that creates a lot of visibility and Auditability. And give you the ability to track who prepared which entries and give you the evidence for those entries. Let's talk about some of the the benefits, obviously being able to centralise data across all your peas and all sources is a huge benefit. Uh you know, optimizing these processes that are generally happening outside of the ERP system. This also gives you the ability to maximize the talent, so that you don't have highly skilled people spending. Hours going through manual effort also using tools managed by the business minimizes it effort in the process best practices. Uh are embedded into the tool and audits are simplified and streamlined with the embedded workflow and documentation. Great and just to continue that discussion. Michael you know, I like you I was a customer before I joined. Black line and spent many years both as an auditor and sort of living through audits as a customer. Our client rather and one of the benefits, which you highlighted that I think you know can't be overemphasized. Regarding black line is really how the audit process gets a lot better when you sort of address the underlying process and when you centralized all of this so I think when. You know when we think about audits and what the process is typically like it's you know, oftentimes, especially for public companies kind of on going there. There's almost. Always some sort of field work. Whether that's quarterly reviews or year end audit or control testing, etc. But these things are sort of. On going and often times that there are a lot of challenges their associated with basic things like you know. Getting a full population of items to test having these prepared by client list. San regular meetings just to. To get on the same page in terms of what's been provided to the auditors and what still needed. All these things considered result in unexpected delays or inefficiencies in the audit and for the client that means. Oftentimes unexpected fees or overages or even delays in certain parts of the process. I think a lot of that is driven by. You know the manual nature in terms of how customers share information with their auditors and when it comes to Journal entries how. Customers and clients sort of identify their full population of Journal entries that need to be tested and are subject to testing. So I think one of the things that black line does that's just a huge improvement is really bring. A lot of this data documentation sign off process into a single repository. I know for myself when it came to Journal entries. In particular, one thing I notice is that oftentimes we struggled with just our ERP system or our ERP systems. To prove to our auditors what that population of a manual entries that needed to be subject to testing. Was oftentimes document type in SAP or other characteristics were not enough to prove that out to the auditors. But having a solution like black line change that because we were. Able to put some of those segregation of duties and those business rules in place to make it more clear. That all Journal entries and all associated supporting documentation lived right in black line and even more so a lot of those Journal entries that would have. Previously been manual ended up automated so there were some auto signoffs and some some real benefits to the audit process, there in the sense that we could reduce the amount of. Entries that were subject to testing in the 1st place. So as we mentioned you know just some of the other benefits around the audit for black lines are really, that transparency. I didn't mention it yet, but The auditors have their own role within black line that gives them read only access allows them to see. All those documents and access them almost in a self service way PVCS can be managed as tasks within the platform as well so. Items that aren't Journal entries around aren't account reconciliations. Those supporting documents are those those things can be provided right in the task management solution within black line. And the amount of just sheer time and administrative effort that used to be required or is required without a situation out of solution like black line. Really significantly reduced because no longer are you copying or copying documents or putting documents on shared drives or. Come on, USB drives or whatever to provide them to your auditors. You have the same source of the truth. And providing those the black line and what that also can mean is that there's not as much travel. Oftentimes required where auditors would typically have to go on site in order to access certain documents alot of that work can now be done. Hear from headquarters or remotely so some benefits there to the cost of the audit as well. And just to review some of the results that some of our black line customers have seen in terms of using our platform. To drive audit efficiencies no shortage of impactful results, there hundreds of hours saved in terms of preparation time. And in time supporting the audit almost an entire prep time completely reduced their 97% and the audit itself. In terms of time to get through the year end audit reduced by up to 25% for one of our customers so. Really exciting impactful results as you can see. And just to wrap this up here. You know the audit benefits are huge, but there are lots of. Other sort of desired outcomes an goals that RSA P in black line customers have then we worked with some of the largest global organizations running ASAP. And whether that's reducing headcount, which is sometimes the goal but not always oftentimes. Our customers and clients are simply looking to reap. Re purpose their valuable resources make their core tasks more efficient as we talked about at the beginning, allowing them to expand their role beyond that core compliance function. Again, with the Journal entry solution specifically. Please sing customers. Automate just an absolutely massive percentage of their overall Journal entries. Taking those recurring entries that are normally prepared in Excel and letting the software. Handle those entries for them, so just a lot of great results as you can see it working across many different. Industries and with some of the largest organizations in the world as Elizabeth mentioned before blackline Nsap had been working together. For many, many years and have recently expanded our partnership to the solution extension arrangement. But before that. We had many customers that we continue to build our portfolio of customers together that are running. SAP for their ERP platform and and then using black line to really address some of these financial close. Use cases so just some. Some logos that I'm sure recognisable to many of you and we hope to. We hope will will continue to to do business together for many years to come. So with that I of course, want to thank Michael and Elizabeth for all their insights and thoughts today. You'll hear more from them on future webinars. I'm sure, but if you have some you know, some research you'd like to do immediately. But you can go to the solution pages for these black line escapes solutions or you can visitblackline.com. SAP. And if you have specific questions you can always reach out to us as well. With that we would like to thank you for joining. Thank you to Michael and Elizabeth for joining me today and for sharing your insights. Thank you to all of you for attending today's webinar. We hope you have a great rest of your day.