SAPinsider’s Business Continuity Track Includes Case Study on Modernized Accounting

Completing the Virtual Close

By Brianna Shipley, Senior Editor, SAPinsider

“Traditional manual accounting is chaos and in the current environment it just got a lot harder,” Michael Gilmartin, Vice President, Value Architecture, at BlackLine, says. During the business continuity track as part of SAPinsider’s 2020 virtual event, Gilmartin will be joined by Molly Boyle, Finance Transformation Expert, at BlackLine and Sue Mozdzer, Finance Transformation Leader, R2R, at Hubbell to explain how Hubbell, Inc.—a global designer, manufacturer, and seller of innovative electrical and electronic products and a long-time customer of SAP and BlackLine—optimized its processes with BlackLine’s platform of cloud solutions.

During this case study session, “How Hubbell Modernized Accounting and Transitioned to Closing Virtually,” listeners will learn how Hubbell was able to maintain a normal close schedule and close on time with the assistance of BlackLine, despite having to work remotely on short notice as part of the safety precautions taken during COVID-19.

To explain how this was possible, Gilmartin begins by providing several reasons for why manual accounting is not sustainable, including the amount of time it takes, the risks involved due to lack of visibility (making errors more difficult to identify), costs incurred by inefficiencies, and now, the increased stress brought on by interruptions in communication in a virtual work environment.

He says that many of BlackLine’s customers are experiencing challenges right now around dependence on detailed spreadsheets and a non-standard form of working, difficulty accessing data, limited process documentation, daily manual efforts to complete activities, and the transition to a fully remote working environment. To solve these challenges, BlackLine aims to help their customers, such as Hubbell, move from manual to modern accounting, which Gilmartin says is “unified, collaborative, and achievable.”

Mozdzer says that on an average month Hubbell processes 5,300 manual journal entries and roughly 12,000 account reconciliations. As a result of many acquisitions over the years, Hubbell’s accounting function had become very decentralized. The company’s processes were not outlined, documented, or standardized and Hubbell lacked easy access to data. “The only thing we ever had standardized was closing our books within 3 to 5 days,” Mozdzer says. So, in 2014, Hubbell embarked on their journey, coined One Hubbell Finance (OHF). During the presentation Mozdzer will explain the vision behind this journey, which began with their initial concerns around account reconciliations and journal support.

Mozdzer believes that many of the challenges that Hubbell experienced with their account recons prior to working with BlackLine are universal. For example, “To this day some people might still think that a roll-forward is an accurate recon,” she says.

In addition to hearing how Hubbell and BlackLine worked together on account recons and journal support, Mozdzer will also review what could have been done better during the company’s early BlackLine implementations. Plus you’ll learn how:

  • Balance sheet substantiation laid the foundation for Hubbell’s use of BlackLine solutions
  • Leadership conducted workshops, in partnership with BlackLine, to identify additional automation opportunities
  • Hubbell is using Blackline to document and facilitate key SOX controls
  • SAP Intercompany Financial Hub by BlackLine benefits Hubbell’s M&A strategy and provides a simple, proactive approach to intercompany processes
  • BlackLine enabled a successful virtual close with a fully remote accounting team

Register for this session and others to learn strategies and quick wins you can apply to leverage SAP to maintain business continuity in this unique environment.