BlackLine’s Smart Close and Alternatives for Streamlining Your Financial Processes

What is BlackLine Smart Close?

BlackLine Smart Close is a module that enables a standardized and automated financial close and is embedded directly within SAP. BlackLine close management tools provide clear, real-time visibility into the finance team’s progress, improves controls and documentation, enhances overall accountability, often leading to shortened close cycles for organizations and greater efficiencies in resource allocation.

BlackLine Smart Close Alternative

BlackLine Smart Close is an SAP-specific module. However, mid-market organizations using other ERPs and financial management systems can still benefit by leveraging BlackLine’s financial close suite to improve efficiency and allocate personnel resources more effectively by centralizing and automating close processes.

BlackLine’s task management tools help organizations improve the speed and accuracy of their financial close by streamlining processes, ensuring required tasks are completed timely, and reducing potential bottlenecks.

For many organizations, using an automated close tool will replace spreadsheets maintained by individual finance team members, which only list specific responsibilities within the overall process. This decentralized approach to close management hinders visibility into the whole process, leading to tasks being distributed inefficiently among team members, less-important tasks being completed ahead of more important ones, and even tasks slipping through the cracks as the process is underway.

BlackLine’s Financial Close Modules Can Help You Understand Your Process

Easily Identify Every Task Throughout the Close

One of the most compelling advantages of implementing the BlackLine financial close suite is improving the transparency of your workflow by helping you identify every task that needs to be completed, as well as the associated dependent tasks. For instance, closing the general ledger may depend on closing the fixed asset subledger, which in turn involves completing a number of related tasks.

BlackLine allows you to define the specific steps that must be completed every month, quarter, or year-end, including due dates and supporting documentation that can be accessed directly with each task.

Improve Consistency by Uncovering Strengths and Weaknesses

BlackLine also helps organizations improve the consistency among their period closes by providing a holistic view of the process and ensuring the same steps are performed every time — and in sequence. By understanding who is completing which tasks within the close process (and when), financial leaders can identify potential bottlenecks and inefficiencies within the process.

For instance, the team may have problems on the first or second day of close completing tasks that can safely be shifted to later on or perhaps performed in advance of the period close. Similarly, one team member may be struggling to finish work that can be allocated more efficiently to a colleague, automated, or performed by an outsourced professional.

By identifying these bottlenecks, management can address them and improve the efficiency of the process while potentially reducing administrative costs. For most organizations, understanding how the process works and how it can be improved allows them to, over time, perform their financial closes in less time and with fewer mistakes.

Discover How BlackLine Can Help You

So, while BlackLine’s Smart Close is an excellent solution for businesses using SAP, mid-size companies can get comparable advantages by utilizing BlackLine’s other modules, regardless of ERP. Interested in learning more? Reach out for a demo and see how BlackLine can help automate and centralize tasks within your organization’s close process.