Improving the Healthcare Financial Close Process with BlackLine Automation

May 24, 2022
3 Minute Read

A leading educational, research, and clinical healthcare institution needed to immediately comply with external auditor requirements and wanted to make substantial improvements to their financial close processes. They reached out to RGP and BlackLine to implement a modern accounting solution that would address both their short- and long-term challenges.

Post-Merger Challenges

Following a merger, our client’s organization had an overly complicated application architecture, new lines of business, and insufficient accounting visibility and controls. They had also experienced a lot of turnover during the post-merger transition, as Finance and Accounting team members left, taking institutional knowledge with them.

Improving speed and accuracy while reducing risk.

To address the most urgent priorities, we implemented BlackLine Transaction Matching, starting with about a dozen match sets. “They had been doing everything manually in spreadsheets, so it was easy for things to get missed,” says Steve McKechnie, RGP VP, Finance Transformation. “There was just too much to do.”

Looking beyond immediate compliance needs, our client embarked on a finance modernization initiative to standardize disparate accounting processes, improve controls and gain efficiencies in their close cycle.

90 percent of reconciliation spreadsheets eliminated

“By improving and automating these processes, they were able to not only go faster but also eliminate error-prone manual tasks and reduce risks,” Steve says.

Automating large volumes of manual work and centralizing financial data enables accounting teams to:

  • Increase the F&A team’s focus on analyzing exceptions (missing transactions, errors, in-transit items).
  • Deliver timely, trusted and meaningful insights to executive and operational leadership.
  • Track KPIs such as net days in accounts receivable, cash collection as a percentage of net revenue, claim denial rate, and cost to collect.
  • Eliminate bottlenecks and operate at scale without needing additional headcount.

Partnering with RGP and using BlackLine technology, our client implemented:

  • Account Reconciliations to gain close efficiencies and improve controls.
  • Further use of Transaction Matching to address auditor requirements and the increasing number of identified cross-system matching scenarios.
  • Task Management to better track and streamline close tasks.

With Account Reconciliations, our team configured optimal BlackLine templates to replace manual spreadsheets used to perform the close. This relieved an administrative burden on accounting resources and allowed them to focus on higher-value activities. We also implemented Task Management to further standardize the close process, provide real-time visibility into the close, and enabled management to balance workloads across the accounting team during the close.

At the same time, we developed and provided a portfolio management tool to aggregate, prioritize and solve for numerous matching scenarios as the list continued to grow. This allowed transaction matching efforts to be targeted on the highest priority scenarios, such as those involving audit, and to plan the additional scenarios in waves.

The various matching scenarios included data from numerous sources such as ERP, Epic, credit cards, banks, grant tracking systems, billing and invoicing systems, and more. By using BlackLine, the healthcare institution was able to shift resources’ time from pulling data and manually reconciling it to analyzing exceptions. As a result, the majority of patient invoices could be processed and distributed automatically.

Faster and More Accurate Close with Less Risk

Our client was able to quickly address and resolve the most pressing requirements from their external auditor—both immediately and long-term. This was our client’s highest priority. But they were also able to:

  • Eliminate 90% of their reconciliation spreadsheets used in the close.
  • Improve efficiencies and controls while mitigating risk and reducing errors.
  • Quickly adjust to merger-related employee turnover without a loss in overall productivity.
  • Reduce reliance on IT to manually produce reports and extracts.
  • Free time to focus on value-add tasks while improving user experiences.
  • Implement additional transaction reconciliation automation with minimal external assistance.

Facing similar pain points with your financial close?

Learn more about the benefits of accounting automation in our whitepaper, produced in partnership with BlackLine. Or, drop us a line. Our Finance Transformation team is here to help. As a BlackLine Alliance Silver-tier and certified implementation partner, we’ve helped more than 200 clients on over 400 BlackLine projects.

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