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Continuous accounting thanks to automation and AI

Why SAP and BlackLine complement each other perfectly and provide relief in the month-end closing process SAP and BlackLine have been working closely together for a long time. Since last year, BlackLine's automation solutions have even been part of the exclusive group of SAP Solution Extensions and have become an integral part of SAP's product strategy for the record-to-report process. For customers, this partnership means not...
Ralph Weiss, Blackline
December 6, 2019
Continuous accounting thanks to automation and AI
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Modern ERP and business intelligence systems reduce the predominantly manual effort involved in financial closing processes. Manual activities are an enormous time burden for companies, as one literally can no longer see "the forest for the trees" when working through tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of entries to check the accounts for completeness and correctness. The enormous workload and the high time pressure in financial closing lead to a high risk of error in today's still predominantly manual work steps.

End-to-end record-to-report process

This is where the partnership between SAP and BlackLine comes into play: BlackLine's automation solutions close the gap between ERP and reporting systems between orchestration and consolidation. This eliminates the need for time-consuming coordination processes, often in the form of emails or phone calls, and data consistency is maintained with full transparency throughout the entire closing process.

And there are further advantages: BlackLine's automation solutions make it possible to distribute tasks that usually accumulate at the end of the month over the entire accounting period. This principle is known as continuous accounting. It ensures that the closing process no longer extends over a few days at the end of the month, but that the individual tasks can be completed successively through automation. The result: bottlenecks and stress situations are significantly reduced and, perhaps even more importantly, the financial data is always up to date, which makes forecasts or business decisions more reliable at all times.

Intelligent account reconciliations

If one considers, for example, the laborious reconciliation process of different accounts, the advantages become clear. The solution is able to perform these reconciliations on an algorithm basis, so that the accountant ultimately only has to clarify the transactions that the system cannot perform automatically. However, since BlackLine's automation solutions have a machine learning principle, they learn after each exception: The algorithm learns on the basis of the (still) manual assignments, so that the degree of automation increases continuously and the risk of human error decreases.

Thanks to this technology, the validity of complex balances derived from hundreds of thousands of individual entries from a wide variety of data sources can be proven. This is the only way that automation solutions can match millions of transactions within a few seconds. To manually reconcile such a volume of data in the same amount of time would exceed the reasonable time and staffing limits for such a project. And there would still be the risk of data quality.

Live Accounting - always the right numbers at hand

Live Accounting gives the closing process unprecedented transparency, and a company's finance department can always make valid statements and offer resilient evaluations. This also enables CFOs for the first time to answer detailed questions during the closing process. The central, largely automated and, above all, end-to-end process forms the basis for Accounting 4.0, in which precise figures are available at all times and the business can be readjusted if necessary - regardless of the size and complexity of the company.

The joint solution from SAP and BlackLine thus sets new standards in terms of transparency, validity and speed of financial statements. For the first time, companies can perform a far-reaching soft close at any time. The precision and timeliness of these figures are the basis for better planning or corrections - a flexibility that is an immense competitive advantage in times of dynamic markets.

Close the Gap: the automation solutions from BlackLine

BlackLine's automation solutions complement SAP ERP Financials by streamlining and automating core tasks such as account substantiation, manual journal entries, or reconciling high-volume transactions in seconds rather than days. This improves the financial close and enables more complete and meaningful data to be reported at any time.

BlackLine's automation solutions provide maximum transparency, efficiency, simplification and auditability for the financial close process.

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Ralph Weiss, Blackline

Ralph Weiss is Geo Vice President DACH at BlackLine.

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Working on the SAP basis is crucial for successful S/4 conversion. 

This gives the Competence Center strategic importance for existing SAP customers. Regardless of the S/4 Hana operating model, topics such as Automation, Monitoring, Security, Application Lifecycle Management and Data Management the basis for S/4 operations.

For the second time, E3 magazine is organizing a summit for the SAP community in Salzburg to provide comprehensive information on all aspects of S/4 Hana groundwork. All information about the event can be found here:

SAP Competence Center Summit 2024


Event Room, FourSide Hotel Salzburg,
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Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
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Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
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The organizer is the E3 magazine of the publishing house AG. The presentations will be accompanied by an exhibition of selected SAP partners. The ticket price includes the attendance of all lectures of the Steampunk and BTP Summit 2024, the visit of the exhibition area, the participation in the evening event as well as the catering during the official program. The lecture program and the list of exhibitors and sponsors (SAP partners) will be published on this website in due time.