IT Brief New Zealand - Technology news for CIOs & IT decision-makers
Story image
BlackLine offers free finance and accounting services to help business get through COVID-19
Fri, 3rd Apr 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

BlackLine has made a number of its services complimentary as it looks at ways it can help accounting teams operate during the COVID-19-10 pandemic.

The outbreak has caused many accountant firms finding themselves operating in a distribute fashion, BlackLine says, with many team members now working from home.

The finance and accounting business advisor has made available several complimentary offerings to help its customers who could benefit from extra support closing their books during the outbreak, which has created uncertainty for many.

The complimentary offerings include:

  • Open access to the entire BlackLine U library of educational online resources and self-led training including CPE-eligible (Continuing Professional Education) courses
  • A new curriculum focused on closing in a distributed work environment including 15- and 30-minute snackable videos, live virtual instructor-led training sessions and virtual coffee breaks featuring interactive Q-A
  • Pre-scheduled one-on-one time with a BlackLine subject matter expert to get real-time guidance
  • Task Management and Reporting free for six months to existing customers who havent yet licensed these solutions, as well as complimentary expert coaching sessions for those who subscribe to the software already

"Many organisations, including BlackLine, are requiring employees to work from home in an effort to protect themselves, their families and communities," BlackLine CEO Therese Tucker says.

"Even just having a few staff out of the office or unable to work can have an adverse impact on closing the books; the situation is compounded and exponentially more complex for multi-nationals that already have multiple global locations," she explains.

"In addition to doing all we can to ensure our mission-critical cloud-based accounting platform continues to operate flawlessly during this period, we wanted to do more to help our global community of accounting and finance professionals," says Tucker.

"We're putting our best minds together to compile leading practices and other content based on the expertise we've gathered working with so many organisations around the world. We want to share this knowledge to help alleviate some of the stress that may come with the impending month- and quarter-end closes.

"In addition, we want to help our customers who are CPAs keep their accreditations current, even if they are confined to their homes and at no cost in these difficult times," she adds.

The BlackLine U learning portal streamlines the process for onboarding new users and delivers ongoing education to ensure that users are maximising the value of their BlackLine investment. The BlackLine U catalogue includes 135 courses with 33 available CPE credits and spans a broad range of accounting and finance topics that cover not only industry best practices, but also continuous learning and professional development. Users can access the entire library through the BlackLine platform for the duration of the pandemic.

With a distributed/remote workforce, BlackLine Task Management provides real-time visibility into the status of all deliverables in a simple dashboard. Preparers and approvers can get scheduled alerts when there is a delinquency or reminders of deadlines to ensure their period end close stays on track without having to send e-mails or make phone calls. For deliverables that require multiple levels of review, Task Management allows a certification workflow to ensure all responsibilities are handled and all deadlines are met, without employees needing to engage with each other on a regular basis.

BlackLine Reporting provides visibility into the timeliness of preparation, approval and review of reconciliations allowing the executive team to automatically receive predefined reports, at a frequency of their choice, to track the progress of their financial close which in many cases is now decentralised.

"For those customers who already have our Tasks and Reporting solutions, we hope they will take advantage of the free one-on-one expert sessions were offering, as well as all of the other complimentary training and CPE courses available, to get the most out of their existing software, and also to advance in their own professional development," Tucker says.

"For those who don't have Tasks and Reporting yet, we're making it easy to get up and running quickly because we firmly believe it will help them close faster with greater visibility, particularly now with so many employees working remotely," she adds.