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Moving away from the patchwork to the holistic process

The consequences of patchy digitization and how BlackLine's holistic approach to automation is making a difference to corporate finance departments.
Ralph Weiss, Blackline
28 March 2023
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This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

Less is more - integrative platforms instead of isolated solutions

While everyone is now aware that companies that want to remain successful in the future must digitize their processes - many organizations are struggling with unnecessary additional expenses because they are not consistently implementing this paradigm shift. The result of incomplete digitization is that companies have to deal with an increasingly heterogeneous IT landscape: a patchwork of individual automation solutions with increased maintenance requirements, susceptibility to errors and disadvantages in monitoring.

Close gaps consistently

This makes it all the more important to close the process gaps. We are not talking about the processes in the ERP, but those that lie outside and are usually covered with Excel. If we look at the important area of Finance & Accounting (F&A), for example - especially the challenges of month-end closing - it is easy to identify the disadvantages of a patchy approach. Although the processes in the ERP systems, for example SAP, are largely automated in the companies, the validation of the financial data nevertheless takes place outside the ERP. The reconciliation of the recorded data with the systems in the financial accounting is lacking. This can have undesirable consequences. The use of selective automation solutions increases the risk that companies plan on the basis of inaccurate or even false data. Process automation using an end-to-end platform can provide a remedy here and close the gaps.

The need for action is confirmed by the Results of a studyconducted by Censuswide Market Research Institute on behalf of BlackLine 2022. In it, 28 percent of executives and finance professionals surveyed globally say they are investing in their data analytics capabilities. They said they are implementing automation technologies or scaling them to provide more accurate financial data. While in 2020, 80 percent of companies said they planned to implement automation technology, according to the latest study, most companies have already done so: in 2022, 76 percent of respondents said they had improved financial planning, analysis, budgeting and forecasting through automation. That's nearly twice as many as two years ago. 75 percent of respondents also reported having automated financial reporting and filing - more than twice as many as respondents who said they planned to do so in 2020.

If in smaller steps, then with a view to the overall process

Therefore, beware - one should not give in too quickly to the temptations of automation. The term automation also includes, for example, RPA solutions that promise selective improvements but require a great deal of maintenance. In this case, individual processes are automated, which certainly provides relief, but leads to considerably more effort for upgrades and data consolidation. Future-oriented methods, such as continuous accounting, in which postings in F&A are automated end-to-end and distributed over time instead of at the end of the reporting period, cannot be realized with selective automation.

Platform-oriented automation of F&A processes, such as BlackLine, not only enables the implementation of continuous accounting, but also opens up new perspectives. How? By enabling CFOs and their financial experts to create resilient analyses and scenarios through high data quality and significant capacity gains in order to provide management with the most solid decision-making tools possible.

The role of CFOs and finance experts is changing as a result of both the time and quality gains of comprehensive, consolidated automation and the continuous accounting that can be realized as a result. They are becoming increasingly important for agile, future-oriented corporate management. For example, predictive accounting can be used to anticipate reliable trends for the future, giving companies a competitive edge. BlackLine not only helps to automate individual process steps, but also contributes to the future viability of companies by providing a holistic view of valid financial data in real time.


In recent years, companies have been concerned with exposing potential weaknesses in F&A processes and eliminating manual processes in favor of greater transparency, accuracy and agility. These aspects will become even more important. However, automation should be based on a strategy along holistic processes to take full advantage of the technology, because highly integrated solutions generate maximum effects in terms of data quality, capacity gains and process transparency.
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,
At the exhibition center 2,
A-5020 Salzburg

Event date

June 5 and 6, 2024

Regular ticket:

€ 590 excl. VAT


Event Room, Hotel Hilton Heidelberg,
Kurfürstenanlage 1,
69115 Heidelberg

Event date

28 and 29 February 2024


Regular ticket
EUR 590 excl. VAT
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.