How we helped Australian Unity transform their close process

Australian Unity Reconciles Its Account Balances with Infor SunSystems & BlackLine

AustralianUnity

Company:

Australian Unity is one of the nation’s oldest mutual companies owned by its members. Its heritage goes back more than 175 years, and the organisation now employs more than 7,500 people spread over 100 companies and legal entities. Australian Unity provides around one million Australians with health, wealth, and living services, including private health insurance, dental care, home care services, and disability services.

Industry:

Health Insurance

Key Software Used:

 

blackline BLACKLINE

infor sunsystems INFOR SUNSYSTEMS

The Challenge:

Until November 2017, Australian Unity did not have a centralised financial control function. Instead, the function was fragmented between its legal entities, each performing financial reconciliation processes independently of the other. Australian Unity’s Chief Financial Officer Darren Mann was ultimately responsible for the mutual’s statutory accounts, but had limited visibility into where a business or entity was with its reconciliations, including how frequently they were being completed, their timeliness, and quality.

Australian Unity didn’t know just how many reconciliations were being performed across its operations, or how many were being improperly completed because people ran out of time.

 

The Products:

The company decided to centralise its financial control function and define standard processes for its 100-plus businesses and legal entities for accounting and financial reconciliations. The standard processes are defined and implemented through BlackLine Account Reconciliations. “The centralisation of the financial control function commenced in November 2017, in line with when we first went live with BlackLine,” Papakonstantinou says.

Australian Unity engaged Forpoint Solutions to assist in their BlackLine implementation. This choice was based on Forpoint’s experience of working with various ERP procurement and planning systems, and many years of successfully integrating complex cloud-based ERP data into BlackLine across a diverse range of organisations. Additionally, most of the company’s specialists are accountants by trade, so Forpoint Solutions was able to bring these specialist skills to the table in complex finance deployments.

Forpoint Solutions had also previously upgraded Australian Unity’s SunSystems ERP system, which is the single source of truth for all the company’s financial information. “It was an extra benefit that we were familiar with Australian Unity’s ERP platform and could deploy our own ETL tool developed especially for BlackLine to speed up implementation time,” says David Shahinian, director at Forpoint Solutions.

The Results

Papakonstantinou says that the company-wide transformational change of creating a centralised financial control function underpinned by BlackLine has absolutely realised efficiencies. “With over 64 users in BlackLine, 3,100 reconciliations completed monthly in excess of 9,700 general ledger account string combinations, even a small saving of between two and four hours per month per user translates into substantial cost savings with improved visibility and consistency.” Indeed, the business case for centralisation and BlackLine was predicated by the efficiencies that Australian Unity would gain.

“We expected BlackLine to provide us better governance, better due diligence, better reporting, and the ability for us to produce financial reports where we could depend on the integrity of those numbers to a greater extent,” Papakonstantinou says. “BlackLine gives us the ability to determine which reconciliations are required to be done on a monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, or yearly basis. We’re able to determine that from the outset. We can clearly identify those accounts and mark their frequency because we now have that visibility.”

“With over 64 users in BlackLine, 3,100 reconciliations completed monthly in excess of 9,700 general ledger account string combinations, even a small saving of between two and four hours per month per user translates into substantial cost savings with improved visibility and consistency.”

Kon Papakonstantinou, Head of Operational Finance Systems

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Discover

Forpoint

Want to know more about how Forpoint can help your finance team modernise?

Understand if Forpoint are the right fit for your finance transformation needs.

Book a call & speak to our experienced team today.

Products                              Solutions

Sage Intacct                                                  Financial Management Systems

Planful                                                               Forecasting, Planning & Analysis

BlackLine                                                         Financial Close Process

Infor Sunsystems Cloud                         Accounts Receivable Automation

Workday Adaptive                                      Accounts Payable Automation

Zudello                                                             Expense Management

Webexpenses                                               HR & Payroll

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