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October 22, 2023
Min Read

Blackline Review: Is Blackline Worth It?

Understand BlackLine, how it works and what it offers accounting teams. Read reviews and explore alternative solutions.

Dennis Shirshikov
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In today's complex financial landscape, organizations are constantly seeking solutions that can simplify, streamline, and enhance their finance and accounting operations. Manual processes are not only time-consuming but are also prone to errors, leading to inefficiencies and compliance risks. Enter BlackLine and other close management solutions, platforms tailored to address these challenges head-on. 

While evaluating BlackLine, consider Numeric as an option to get started with close management fast. Numeric’s free option allows you to upload a checklist and get started in minutes managing your close. Built to scale with your team, Numeric is easy to set up and easier to configure to your business’ changing needs.   

What Blackline Is

BlackLine is a cloud-based software platform designed to automate and streamline financial and accounting processes for organizations. It's aimed at enhancing the efficiency, accuracy, and effectiveness of these processes, which includes tasks like financial close management, account reconciliations, intercompany accounting, and other related activities. 

Here are some key aspects of BlackLine:

  • Automation: BlackLine provides automation tools that help reduce the time and effort required to perform various accounting and financial tasks.
  • Real-Time Visibility: The platform offers real-time visibility into financial processes, which helps in monitoring and ensuring the accuracy and compliance of financial data.
  • Account Reconciliation: One of BlackLine's core features is account reconciliation, which assists in ensuring that financial statements are accurate and complete.
  • Financial Close Management: BlackLine aids in managing the financial close process in a more organized and timely manner.
  • Intercompany Accounting: It provides tools for handling intercompany transactions and reconciliations, which is crucial for organizations with multiple subsidiaries or divisions.
  • Compliance and Controls: BlackLine incorporates built-in controls to aid in compliance with various financial regulations and standards.
  • Integration: The platform can integrate with other financial systems and ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) solutions, making it a versatile tool for managing financial processes.
  • Cloud-Based: Being a cloud-based solution, BlackLine allows for accessibility from anywhere, which is beneficial for distributed teams and remote work environments.

BlackLine is suitable primarily for large enterprises, looking to improve their financial and accounting processes, ensure compliance, and achieve a more efficient financial close.

How Blackline Works

BlackLine operates as a cloud-based platform that centralizes, automates, and streamlines financial and accounting processes. Here's an overview of how BlackLine works:

  • Centralization: BlackLine centralizes financial data and processes, making it easier for teams to access and manage financial information from a single platform.
  • Automation: The platform automates routine and repetitive tasks such as account reconciliations, transaction matching, and journal entry postings, which helps in reducing manual errors and saving time.
  • Real-Time Visibility: It provides real-time visibility into financial processes and data. This feature enables timely monitoring and analysis, facilitating better decision-making and compliance checking.
  • Account Reconciliation: BlackLine automates the reconciliation of accounts by comparing data from different sources, identifying discrepancies, and highlighting areas that need attention.
  • Financial Close Management: The platform organizes and streamlines the financial close process, enabling teams to complete the close in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Intercompany Accounting: BlackLine facilitates the management of intercompany transactions by automating reconciliations and providing a platform for intercompany collaboration.
  • Compliance and Controls: It incorporates built-in controls and compliance tools to ensure that financial processes adhere to required standards and regulations.
  • Integration: BlackLine can integrate with other financial systems and ERP solutions, allowing for a seamless flow of financial data and processes.
  • Reporting and Analytics: The platform offers robust reporting and analytics tools that provide insights into financial performance, helping in identifying areas for improvement.
  • User Access and Collaboration: It enables collaborative work by providing controlled access to financial data and processes to relevant team members, promoting efficiency and accuracy.

By amalgamating these features and functionalities, BlackLine empowers organizations to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and compliance of their financial and accounting processes, ultimately contributing to a more effective and streamlined financial management.

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Getting Started with Blackline

Embarking on a journey with BlackLine to streamline your financial and accounting processes requires a systematic approach. Here are steps to get started with BlackLine:

  • Research and Contact BlackLine: Look into BlackLine's offerings through their website or contact them directly for detailed information on how their platform can meet your organization’s needs.
  • Request a Demo: Request a demo of BlackLine's platform and similar platforms to understand its capabilities and how it can be used to automate and streamline your financial processes.
  • Evaluate Pricing and Implementation Timeline: Obtain pricing information and understand the terms of engagement to ensure it aligns with your budget and operational expectations. Ask about the implementation timeline and what’s required from your team to get started.
  • Engage Stakeholders: Involve key stakeholders in your organization to gather input on requirements and ensure buy-in for adopting BlackLine.
  • Choose a Suitable Plan: Select the BlackLine plan that meets your organization's needs based on the features offered.
  • Implementation: Engage with BlackLine or a certified implementation partner to set up the platform, including integrating it with your existing systems.
  • Training: Enroll in training programs offered by BlackLine to ensure your team is well-equipped to use the platform effectively.
  • Data Migration: Migrate necessary financial data to BlackLine under the guidance of BlackLine support or an implementation partner.
  • Configure and Customize: Configure BlackLine to meet your specific financial process requirements, and customize it as necessary. Depending on your organization size and scale, this may require involving consultants or team members familiar with BlackLine’s software.
  • Go Live: Once satisfied with the setup, commence using BlackLine for your reconciliation and financial close processes.
  • Ongoing Support and Evaluation: Leverage BlackLine's customer support for any issues, and continuously evaluate the platform’s effectiveness in meeting your financial process needs.

By following these steps, you'll be better prepared to implement BlackLine successfully and make the most out of its features to enhance your financial and accounting processes.

Blackline Plans and Costs

BlackLine's pricing structure and plans are not publicly listed on their website as the cost can vary depending on various factors including the size of the organization, the number of users, and the specific needs and features required. Here's how you can get information on BlackLine's plans and costs:

  • Contact BlackLine Directly: Reach out to BlackLine directly via their website or by phone to discuss your organization's needs and obtain a customized pricing quote.
  • Speak with a Sales Representative: Engage with a BlackLine sales representative who can provide detailed information on the pricing and plans available.
  • Online Reviews and Forums: Look for online reviews or forums where other users may share their experiences with BlackLine's pricing and plans.

Each organization's needs and circumstances are unique, so it's advisable to engage directly with BlackLine to obtain the most accurate and tailored pricing information.

Blackline Terms and Contracts

The specifics regarding the terms and contracts of BlackLine's services are not publicly disclosed on their website, however, there are several steps you can take to obtain this information:

  • Contact BlackLine Directly: Reach out to BlackLine via their website or phone to inquire about their terms of service and contract options.
  • Request a Sales Consultation: Schedule a consultation with a BlackLine sales representative who can provide detailed information on the terms and conditions, as well as contract options.
  • Legal Consultation: Consider consulting with a legal advisor to review and understand the terms and contracts proposed by BlackLine, especially if there are complex clauses or commitments.
  • Industry Forums and Reviews: Look for discussions or reviews on industry forums or review sites where other BlackLine customers might share their experiences regarding the terms and contracts.
  • Peer Interaction: If possible, interact with peers or other organizations that have used BlackLine to get their insights on the terms and contracts.
  • Custom Contract Negotiation: Discuss with BlackLine or your legal advisor if there's a possibility to negotiate custom contract terms that better suit your organization's needs.

It's crucial to have a clear understanding of the terms and contracts, including the commitments, obligations, and any other legal implications before engaging with BlackLine or any other service provider.

Blackline Reviews and Testimonials

User reviews and testimonials for financial software like BlackLine highlight aspects such as automation capabilities, customer support, and the efficiency it brings to financial processes. Users appreciate the platform for its ability to streamline and automate tedious financial tasks, provide real-time visibility into financial data, and ensure compliance with financial regulations. 

On the downside, some users find the platform challenging to navigate initially and reference on-boarding hurdles, others may find the cost to be on the higher side. It's recommended to check online review platforms, forums, or BlackLine's official website for user reviews and testimonials to get a comprehensive understanding of user satisfaction and the value the platform provides.

Blackline Competitors and Alternatives

Several financial software platforms serve as alternatives or competitors to BlackLine. 

Here are the top Blackline competitors and alternatives:

  • Numeric: Start for free, with features that integrate deeply into your close workflow. Numeric supercharges the month-end close by offering task management purpose-built for accountants, lightning-fast reconciliations, AI-powered flux analysis and accounting tools, and transaction level detailed search and reports. With built in reviews and controls for audits, your team closes faster and with improved accuracy. 
  • FloQast: FloQast is often considered for its close management software which helps accounting teams to close books faster and more accurately.
  • Adra by Trintech: Adra, a part of Trintech, offers a suite of solutions including Adra Matcher, which is a reconciliation software aimed at streamlining the reconciliation process and improving accuracy.

Each of these platforms has its unique features, advantages, and pricing structures. The right choice among these would depend on the specific needs, size, and budget constraints of your organization.

Bottom Line

Navigating the intricate maze of today's financial environment demands cutting-edge tools that not only simplify processes but also ensure accuracy and compliance. For those poised at the crossroads of financial transformation, solutions like BlackLine, and alternatives like Numeric, open doors to seamless operations and growth. As the accounting and finance domain continues to evolve, leveraging such platforms will be the key to maintaining a competitive edge and fostering clarity for accounting teams.

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