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Beyond Automation: A CFO's Guide to Continuous Improvement of Finance Processes

At the start of 2021, many finance leaders have learned how to exercise extraordinary discipline as their companies deploy far-flung resources to perform routine yet essential processes such as closing the books. Finance leaders have also learned how to determine which tasks lend themselves best to automation, as well as how to apply automation to reduce the amount of time and resources finance teams require to complete these tasks.

But although automation can accelerate the execution of tasks, it cannot fix processes that are flawed to begin with. By attending this webinar, you will learn how finance leaders can identify opportunities to improve core finance processes before automating them. We will discuss:

-Why reliance on automation alone reinforces rather than redresses underlying issues with finance processes
-How recent technological developments enable finance leaders to eliminate informational silos and operational bottlenecks that undermine effective automation
-How to apply advances in technology in conjunction with best practices in continuous improvement to determine which core finance processes are most likely to benefit from automation
Recorded Jun 8 2021 62 mins
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Presented by
Thomas Morrow, Finance Executive Consultant
Presentation preview: Beyond Automation: A CFO's Guide to Continuous Improvement of Finance Processes

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  • Close Faster by Optimizing Your Journal Entry Process Jun 30 2021 7:30 am UTC 64 mins
    Brandon Maciejewski, Director, Revenue Center of Excellence, Blackbaud; Senior Manager, Marketing Performance, BlackLine
    More than ever, organizations rely on real-time trusted information with continuous digital controls monitoring. Journal entries are a crucial part of the month-end close, so you must know how to automate them to reduce cycle times as efficiently and correctly as possible.

    Worse yet, traditional journal processes take a great deal of accounting’s time when handled in an uncoordinated, manual way and can badly skew the results in your financial statements.

    In this webinar, Brandon Maciejewski, Director, Revenue Center of Excellence, Blackbaud, Inc. will discuss:

    -How to identify upstream process issues that increase close cycle times
    -Practical use cases to significantly reduce the number of journal entries, human involvement as well as the risk of error
    -Implementing journal scorecards for relevant, timely KPIs, and benchmarking purposes

    Join BlackLine experts to explore how the number of journal entries your organization books is directly correlated with the time it takes to close.

    Note: this
  • Driving Financial Sustainability Through Accounting Operational Strategies Jun 22 2021 6:00 pm UTC 67 mins
    Susan Parcells, finance transformation leader, BlackLine
    The coronavirus pandemic has placed tremendous pressure on colleges and universities, leaving many campuses to face acute financial challenges. According to a recent report from McKinsey, the percentage of institutions with budget shortfalls of more than 5% will increase to more than 50% — and for private four-year colleges, that percentage can rise to as high as 77%.

    Across-the-board budget cuts may stopgap challenges but won’t necessarily ensure a sustainable future. Now may be the time to invest in an operational framework that goes beyond traditional manual accounting processes. Automation can free up time for analysis and decision-making as well as improve transparency and balance sheet integrity.

    During this webcast, our panel of experts will cover:

    -Challenges and bottlenecks in traditional manual close processes
    -Strategies for automating and streamlining critical close activities
    -Forward-looking plans for guiding institutions toward an improved future

    Join us to learn what campus experts are doing to automate and improve accounting close processes and how similar strategies can drive financial and accounting sustainability on your campus.
  • Thriving in the Age of Change Recorded: Jun 22 2021 58 mins
    Michael Shultz Head of Digital Transformation
    A progressive shift has been taking place within organizations, and this change has been in the works long before the current pandemic. Finance automation solutions are enabling corporations to embrace this change: to increase efficiency, improve accuracy, and decrease risk.

    BlackLine’s Michael Shultz will discuss how accountants at your organization can be more proactive, focus on complex and judgmental areas, and drive strategic business decisions.

    He will reveal what modern accounting looks like: processes are automated, data is connected, and the role of the accountant is elevated. Your accounting team’s value can expand beyond executing checklists and historical reporting to include proactive analytics and a seat at the de

    Learning Objectives

    After this webinar, you will be able to:

    Employ best practices, resulting in a better utilized, more efficient organization that focuses on risk management, compliance, and data analytics.
    Describe how to transform the way accounting departments work by reducing less-rewarding tasks, resulting in better attraction and engagement of top talent.
    Recognize the power of automation and how it strengthens accounting organizations.
  • Setting Up Finance & Accounting for a Successful IPO Recorded: Jun 17 2021 62 mins
    Deepika Sandhu, Partner, Connor Group
    You’ve dedicated tremendous resources to innovation, growth, and meeting customer needs—now, are you ready to go public?

    Successful finance & accounting teams not only ask this question, but they also start transforming their people, processes, and systems to be public company ready early. Even if you’re not planning an IPO or SPAC any time soon, operating as a best-in-class public company now will pay dividends.

    Join BlackLine and subject matter expert Connor Group for an in-depth discussion about preparing for life as a public company.

    You will learn how to:
    ·       Take stock of your current processes and systems before selling your stock
    ·       Determine what your internal and external talent needs are
    ·       Assess where you are on the controls maturity model

    Please note: this webinar is a replay of one that previously aired for which CPE credit issued for live attendance only. This webinar will not be eligible for CPE credit.
  • A Guide To Cash Application: People Vs Processes - Episode 3 Recorded: Jun 15 2021 30 mins
    Andy Lilley, VP of AR Product at BlackLine
    Too many organizations have good people working hard and providing “workarounds” for poor processes to make sure the “job gets done.” Join this session to explore ways Intelligent Automation is helping organizations overcome common F&A challenges, so their teams are not only getting the job done, but also transforming processes to make them more effective and efficient. The results are striking—happier teams, improved customer experience, and the ability to drive greater value for stakeholders. Discover some real-world use cases that can be applied within your organization, and reshape the future of your finance function today.
  • How To Advance Your Audit Despite Disruption Recorded: Jun 11 2021 57 mins
    Sonia Chu, Sr. Finance Transformation Specialist, BlackLine
    There’s no question that F&A teams have been disrupted by the ongoing pandemic. In fact, nearly half of respondents in a recent survey said that closing virtually with a distributed workforce impacts the audit and other third-party engagements.

    How companies are closing the books and conducting the year-end audit has changed, along with where accounting and audit teams are performing these tasks. So, how can organizations continue to operate effectively despite disruption?

    Join us as we explore how to structure your team and processes so they can securely function from anywhere, from period-end to audit.

    After this webinar, you will be able to:

    -See how the pandemic has permanently disrupted accounting and audit
    -Apply three methods that will empower remote accounting and audit teams to operate effectively
    -Identify ten ways to run more efficiently virtually, today and into the future
  • Champions of Controllership: Advancing Accounting Despite Disruption Recorded: Jun 10 2021 69 mins
    Tammy Coley, Chief Transformation Officer, BlackLine & Molly Boyle, Finance Transformation Expert, BlackLine
    Stressful deadlines, stretched resources, and limited budgets.

    The close must go on, but manual accounting processes are not sustainable.

    Champions of controllership find ways to innovate, automate, and scale accounting processes amidst continued disruption and despite a host of challenges. They have a vision for the future, believe in using technology to bring about change, and activate teams to modernize accounting.

    Join this webcast to hear from BlackLine’s Champions of Controllership on how companies are advancing with technology.

    You will learn why traditional close processes continue to challenge accounting teams; leading practices for optimizing and automating despite disruption; and how technology improves accuracy, saves time, and benefits everyone.
  • Beyond Automation: A CFO's Guide to Continuous Improvement of Finance Processes Recorded: Jun 8 2021 62 mins
    Thomas Morrow, Finance Executive Consultant
    At the start of 2021, many finance leaders have learned how to exercise extraordinary discipline as their companies deploy far-flung resources to perform routine yet essential processes such as closing the books. Finance leaders have also learned how to determine which tasks lend themselves best to automation, as well as how to apply automation to reduce the amount of time and resources finance teams require to complete these tasks.

    But although automation can accelerate the execution of tasks, it cannot fix processes that are flawed to begin with. By attending this webinar, you will learn how finance leaders can identify opportunities to improve core finance processes before automating them. We will discuss:

    -Why reliance on automation alone reinforces rather than redresses underlying issues with finance processes
    -How recent technological developments enable finance leaders to eliminate informational silos and operational bottlenecks that undermine effective automation
    -How to apply advances in technology in conjunction with best practices in continuous improvement to determine which core finance processes are most likely to benefit from automation
  • FSN 2020: The Future of Automation in the Finance Function Recorded: Jun 7 2021 32 mins
    Gary Simon, Chief Executive of FSN & Leader of the Modern Finance Forum for CFOs
    No organization remains unscathed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even those in the least affected industries with the strongest balance sheets found that their supply chains, customers, suppliers, and employees were significantly disrupted.

    When it comes to the record-to-report process, the potential for automation is large, with 84% of survey participants saying they could “do more” to automate the process.

    As we approach year end, automation leaders will be well placed to timeously close the books, produce their financial statements, and satisfy demanding audit requirements.

    In this webinar, FSN will unveil the main highlights of their research, synthesizing the views of 530 senior finance professionals from around the world. You’ll learn informative and actionable insights, including:

    -Which finance processes were hit hardest by pandemic disruption
    -The characteristics and business advantages of being an automation leader
    -Expectations for Finance and Accounting post-COVID
  • Be Smarter: BlackLine Cash Application Automation - Episode 2 Recorded: Jun 7 2021 30 mins
    Andy Lilley, VP Product - AR
    Get a firsthand look at how BlackLine Cash Application, powered by AI and built by finance professionals, is helping F&A teams make smarter, more accurate finance and credit decisions by transforming the invoice-to-cash cycle.

    By reducing the time it takes to apply cash to open invoices, organizations are realizing reductions in unapplied cash of up to 99%. You’ll also hear from a customer and learn how the solution has helped enable greater organizational agility.

    In this session learn how to:

    Reduce unapplied cash by up to 95%
    Reduce manual effort by up to 85%
    Reduce DSO by 5-10 days
  • Virtualizing Audit: Ground Rules for Ensuring SOX Compliance From Anywhere Recorded: Jun 7 2021 56 mins
    Sonia Chu, Finance Transformation Specialist BlackLine & Michael Shulzt, Director of Finance Transformation BlackLine
    The ramifications of the current crisis will long outlast it—including how companies will close the books and ensure SOX compliance, and where accounting and audit staff who perform these tasks will be located.

    Join us as we explore:
    - How to redesign your operating model so that it can securely function from anywhere, from period-end to audit.
    - How to achieve simplified SOX compliance
    - Which three methods will empower remote accounting and audit teams to operate virtually
    - Ways to mitigate work-from-home (WFH) cybersecurity risks
  • How To Leverage Technology that Enables Remote Audits Recorded: Jun 4 2021 60 mins
    Stephen Arietta, Vice President, Internal Audit, BlackLine; Molly Boyle, Director, Solutions Marketing, BlackLine
    Although company management and auditors may not see eye to eye on everything, they can agree that teams must find new ways to effectively work together during the COVID-19 crisis.

    Moving to a remote audit can present seemingly unsurmountable challenges, such as tracking PBC requests and status or providing and obtaining supporting documentation. But remote work doesn’t have to hinder your productivity.

    Organizations that enable a technology-driven close and audit processes gain more streamlined collaboration, even with a distributed and virtual workforce. But with BlackLine our customers can:

    Overcome new and emerging challenges with remote audits
    Capitalize on the work you’re already doing in BlackLine to streamline audit processes
    Gain benefits like real-time visibility, increased collaboration, and reduced audit time and cost with BlackLine Compliance

    Join industry experts to hear best practices for transforming the financial close and audit processes with technology, including how to:

    •Increase transparency and improve client-auditor relationships
    •Streamline key audit processes, including PBC management
    •Adapt to a remote audit with added visibility
  • Measuring the Real Cost of Manual Accounting Recorded: Jun 3 2021 76 mins
    Michael Shultz, Senior Director, Finance Transformation, BlackLine
    Manual accounting processes are a top frustration of every accountant—the repetitive work, endless spreadsheets, and late nights at month-end.

    But what’s the real cost?

    Michael Shultz, of BlackLine, will explore the costs of traditional manual accounting processes. He will discuss how you can measure the value of automating specific accounting tasks and identify the significant issues at your organization.

    After this webinar, you will be able to:
    -Discover why manual accounting processes are not sustainable.
    Recognize the real costs of accounting beyond hard dollars, including risk, time, and employee morale.
    -Explain the opportunity cost of doing accounting work the way it’s always been done.
    -Identify key considerations for building a business case for transforming accounting.
  • The Leading Playbook for Modernizing Finance & Accounting Recorded: Jun 3 2021 47 mins
    Mike McNamara, Senior Director of Finance and Corporate Controller, Marinus Pharmaceuticals
    Manual accounting processes are one of the biggest frustrations of every accountant—the repetitive work, endless spreadsheets, and late nights at month end.

    But what’s the real cost?

    How should organizations prioritize their digitization efforts? And how can F&A leaders accelerate the transition to a digital future in the new distributed work environment?

    A key to solving manual accounting challenges, and a first step in any modern accounting journey, is applying automation to redeploy teams to higher-value activities. And with a guided pathway, organizations can implement quick wins to increase efficiency, accuracy, and collaboration across F&A processes.

    Join this webinar for a discussion on the value of modernizing accounting tasks. Then hear from BlackLine customer, Marinus Pharmaceuticals, as they highlight the benefits of their investment in modern accounting.

    You will learn:

    • Why manual accounting processes are not sustainable, especially in the current environment
    • How automation and leading practices for modern accounting can be deployed quickly and effectively
    • How Marinus Pharmaceuticals adopted a true month-end close, simplified audits, and gained time for cross-training opportunities
  • How To Keep Up With Your Risk Landscape Recorded: Jun 2 2021 56 mins
    Michael Shultz, Director of Finance Transformation at BlackLine
    Are you keeping up with your organization’s evolving risk landscape, or are those risks keeping you up at night?

    Fraud and restatements are happening every day, and it’s important to recognize that your company is consistently exposed to risk. Change is constant, and the stakes are high.

    Leveraging technology enables your organization to reduce its overall risk profile and strengthen the control environment by automating repetitive tasks, limiting or eliminating data entry errors, and adding workflow visibility.

    After this session, attendees will be able to:

    - Recognize risk as a factor that consistently impacts all organizations, whether they are experiencing rapid growth, becoming more complex, resisting change, or continuously improving
    - Identify common practices and processes that can expose organizations to fraud
    - Review opportunities to leverage technology to reduce risk, challenge current processes, and better utilize and engage your accounting and finance team
  • How To Modernize Your Cash Application with Intelligent Automation - Episode 1 Recorded: Jun 1 2021 58 mins
    Brian Morgan, Director, Product Marketing, BlackLine
    According to PwC, $1.5 trillion is held hostage on global balance sheets. Why? Because applying cash is historically very manual. In fact, the APQC found bottom-performing organizations use 2700% more employees on order-to-cash processes than their top-performing peers.

    Make smarter, more accurate finance and credit decisions with BlackLine’s newest solution: Cash Application. Powered by AI and built by finance professionals, Cash Application matches customer payments against outstanding invoices to turn payments into cash.

    View this webinar to see how you can modernize cash application with intelligent automation to reduce:

    -Unapplied cash by 90%
    -Manual activity by 85%
    -Days sales outstanding by 5-12 days

    This webinar is hosted by Brian Morgan, a former customer of BlackLine Cash Application with Veolia, and now a customer advisor for BlackLine users. Brian shares how his team at Veolia managed to reduce unapplied cash from £15 million to just £1,000 by automating their Accounts Receivable processes. The event also features a 15-minute live demo of BlackLine Cash Application.
  • CAO Rising: How the Chief Accounting Officer role is evolving Recorded: May 28 2021 60 mins
    Michael Shultz, Director, Strategic Accounting; Ralph Canter Managing Director, KPMG
    The role of the chief accounting officer is expanding beyond the bounds of accounting operations. CAOs are being entrusted with critical projects and working as strategic partners with the business.

    It’s a golden opportunity to take CAO careers to new heights and help the company operate more efficiently—but it will require new management skills and capabilities, particularly in digital systems.

    View this discussion with KPMG and BlackLine to learn:

    · Why CAOs are taking on transformational work and partnering with the business

    · Ways to make the accounting function more efficient

    · The right moves for CAOs now

    This webinar aired previously, during which CPE credit was issued for live attendance only. CPE credit will not be issued for this webinar.
  • Making the Move to Modern Intercompany Accounting Recorded: May 26 2021 59 mins
    Chad Soltman, General Manager, Intercompany Hub; Katie Thayer, Senior Value Architect, Intercompany Accounting, BlackLine
    Modernizing intercompany accounting can have a tremendous impact on an organization, but alignment is key to success. That’s because for many global organizations, intercompany processes are a challenge, often driven by complex regulations and local reporting requirements. At the same time, underlying activities also are heavily dependent on manual effort and require significant cross-functional finance and accounting collaboration.

    Join us as Chad Soltman and Katie Thayer, of BlackLine, discuss steps your organization can take to improve intercompany accounting processes and, as a result, reduce risk and cost while gaining productivity.

    Learning Objectives

    After this webinar, you will be able to:

    -Explain why manual intercompany accounting processes are not sustainable.
    -Discuss why your enterprise resource planning (ERP) system isn't designed to handle intercompany accounting.
    -Recognize the complex challenges of intercompany processes.
    -Identify key value drivers of intercompany accounting processes, including cost savings, productivity gains, and risk reduction.
    -Discover top intercompany use cases for technology to address.

    Please note: This webinar aired previously, for which CPE credit was issued for live attendance only. CPE credit will not be issued for this webinar.
  • BlackLine Cash Application: People v Process - stories from the front line Recorded: May 19 2021 30 mins
    Brian Morgan, Product Marketing Director
    Too many organizations have good people working hard and providing “workarounds” for poor processes to make sure the “job gets done.”

    Join this session to explore:
    - How intelligent automation is helping organizations overcome common F&A challenges
    - How to make processes more effective and efficient
    - How to improve customer experience and drive greater value for stakeholders
    - Some real-world use cases that can be applied within your organization
    - How to reshape the future of your finance function today.
  • EMEA Webinar: Process Excellence for Today – a Catalyst for Shared Services Recorded: May 18 2021 57 mins
    Brian Morgan, Director, Product Marketing, BlackLine
    Cash is king. Debtors are one of the largest assets on the balance sheet for most organizations. Right now, managing costs, collecting cash and minimizing risk of non-payment have never been more critical. This process is often overlooked; however, we will demonstrate how Intelligently Automated Accounts Receivable can be a catalyst for the AR and Credit teams.

    In this exciting session, you can learn from a Credit Professional why improving the Cash Application process transformed the Accounts Receivable and Credit Department. You'll also hear how doing so can results in the team delivering a significant improvement in cash and working capital, improved customer and stakeholder experience, reduction in costs and improved user experience.

    Watch this on-demand webinar and learn:

    - How to review the success of a process
    - How AR automation in Cash Application is an enabler and catalyst for debtor performance improvements
    - How to become a business partner rather than a service provider in finance, and specifically AR
Make the Move to Modern Accounting
Companies come to BlackLine because their traditional manual accounting processes are not sustainable. BlackLine’s cloud-based solutions and market-leading customer service help companies move to modern accounting by unifying their data and processes, automating repetitive work, and driving accountability through visibility. BlackLine provides solutions for financial close management, accounting automation, and intercompany governance, helping large enterprises and midsize companies across all industries do accounting work better, faster, and with more control.

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  • Presented by: Thomas Morrow, Finance Executive Consultant
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