CNH Industrial has streamlined its global account reconciliation processes with the assistance of BlackLine.
As a large manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment, trucks and commercial vehicles, CNH Industrial has facilities that span the globe. With a portfolio of 12 brands including Case IH, New Holland and IVECO, the company generates annual revenues of about $US 25 Billion and employs some 63,000 staff.
In Australia, this translates to clients in a range of sectors, from mining and construction to transport and agriculture, who take advantage of not just the extensive equipment offering of CNH Industrial’s brands, but also the added convenience of tailored finance options available through the company’s financial services arm, CNH Industrial Capital.
The challenge of efficient accounting processes
CNH Industrial Capital’s Australian-based finance team is responsible for not only the firm’s Australian operations, but also those of a range of countries in the Asia Pacific region including New Zealand, Russia, Turkey, South East Asia, Thailand, China, India and Uzbekistan. About five years ago, the team decided to review the way it was handling its monthly account reconciliation processes.
“Over the years, teams in these countries had developed different methods and processes for handling the reconciliation process,” says Magnesh Singh, CNH Industrial Capital’s chief accounting officer for the Asia Pacific region. “We needed to increase consistency across the region in order to be able to collate all the information into a single monthly report efficiently. This would also give us an accurate picture of the status of reconciliations at all times.”
The appeal of BlackLine
The Australian finance team looked for a way to address the issue, and opted to deploy BlackLine’s Reconciliation Management solution, which was already being used by their US-based operation. The decision was taken in mid-2012 and the tool was up and running within a month. Singh says the transition to the BlackLine reconciliation platform was very smooth. “The Finance department staff found the software very intuitive with only minimal training required.”
The BlackLine Reconciliation Management solution standardises and automates all types of reconciliations, including general ledger and balance sheet account, bank, credit card, cash, inventory, investment or any other type of reconciliation. A key component of the BlackLine Finance Controls and Automation Platform, is a cloud-based solution that centralises and streamlines financial close operations and other key finance and accounting processes for midsize and large organisations. The solution is designed to increase operational efficiency, real-time visibility, control and compliance to ensure end-to-end financial close management.
Demonstrable business benefits
The platform ensures that reconciliation is handled in a standard way across the Asia-Pacific region and has improved the efficiency of resulting reports. With BlackLine, the time taken to complete the reconciliation processing every month has been halved, so that the finance team saves a significant amount of time, which in turn, results in cost savings.
Finance staff in each country now use a standard template for their reconciliations and input data using the cloud-based BlackLine module. “It is now much easier for us to identify any lagging issues that might be causing problems,” says Singh. “The ability to generate accurate, up-to-date financial reports is one of the most significant benefits delivered by the BlackLine module. Managers can see at any point in the month exactly what is happening with key accounts and take any actions that might be required.”
Singh added, “BlackLine also helps us with our compliance requirements. As we are in the financial services space, this is particularly important and it makes it easier for us to make sure we are adhering to all the applicable rules and regulations.”
The company’s auditors have also benefitted from the move to BlackLine, as they can access real time data via the BlackLine online web portal.
Singh advised that the Australian finance team is also making use of the BlackLine Variance Analysis module to assist in comparing different accounting periods. Account balance fluctuations can be assessed to determine whether further investigation is required. The variance module enables both the efficient monitoring of account balances and easy investigation into the causes of those fluctuations. Workflows alert proper personnel to investigate fluctuations which are activated when flux thresholds are crossed, ensuring investigations are completed in a timely manner.
“Globally, we are required to report on quarterly balance sheet variances,” says Singh. “The BlackLine Variance Analysis module provides us with very detailed, up-to-date insights. We can see what was reported last quarter and easily spot any changes that have occurred month on month.”
With both the Reconciliation and Variance Analysis modules now in place, the Australian finance team is now exploring the potential of adding the BlackLine Task Management module which provides a configurable, web-based command centre where accounting and finance tasks can be managed. Utilising a hierarchical task list, role-based workflow, and real-time dashboards, the Task Management product allows users to track and control a variety of task types, including month-end close checklists, PBC lists, tax filings and more. This would help managers monitor workflows to ensure all items are processed as efficiently as possible.
“Because we have staff working in different time zones, this would make it easier to keep track of what staff are doing and provide an insight into whether there are any delays or problems,” says Singh.
Singh concluded by adding that BlackLine is now a standard reconciliation tool for CNH Industrial around the world. “BlackLine is an integral part of our accounting processes which adds value to our daily activity resulting in improved accuracy and efficiencies in financial reporting across the company.”
This case study is sponsored by BlackLine.