On-Demand: Centralize and Standardize the Monthly Close with BlackLine

July 21, 2021

EisnerAmper and BlackLine discussed project strategies related to finance transformation.


Transcript

Gregory Fritsky:Hello, everybody. It's Greg Fritsky, practice director at EA Digital. Thank you for spending some time with us today. Hope everyone's doing well, hope everyone's enjoying your summer. It's been very hot across the country and hope everybody's having a chance to spend some time with family. Just pretty excited about this session today.

Gregory Fritsky:I'm practice director here. I run the EA Digital solutions space, do a lot of work with intelligent automation and process automation. But I'm very excited today to be joined by our partners, BlackLine. I'll introduce Jay Pilster. He's a Global Alliance director. Worked with Jay for a number of years now.

BlackLine is a leading provider of finance accounting solutions in the marketplace. If you are already working with them or you're considering them, this is hopefully an informative session. But also joining this moderated discussion is Cindy Daniele, my colleague. Cindy is a leader in the firm focused on outsourced accounting and cloud accounting solutions. She's been a CFO, she's worked in the transformation space. We EisnerAmper is actually a client of BlackLine, so she's been leading the efforts to roll that out. She's gone through the whole process from evaluation to implementation, so I think she'll give a lot of helpful insight today and really happy she was able to join us.

Also want introduce my colleague Kaitlyn Skudera. Katie is our moderator today. She's part of our digital team focused on internal audit, controls, and digital solutions as well, so she really plays in multiple spaces. So we have a very diverse group and excited to begin. So, just to introduce our panels. Just to level set a little bit, I think it's an understatement a challenging year, a year and a half. But anybody who's focused in the finance accounting space knows how challenging a close can be, just getting your books done, being able to manage things. Many of you have had to do that remotely.

Virtual closes have taken place and it was always a negative experience. Polls have shown again and again that the financial close is something that people just do not look forward to. It always seems to be a negative experience. We seem to get to the finish line, but it's a challenge sometimes of how to get there. That hasn't changed. In fact, it's been a little bit more difficult now that we're remote, we're not necessarily together, and some closes are taking longer than others. But what we're starting to see is that people are starting to look at cloud solutions and other opportunities to improve the whole experience.

I want to also mention that there's a lot of focus on where people are spending their time. One of the challenges is that a lot of our time is spent just doing transaction processing as accountants. Typically, half your time is just processing and doing, and very little time is left over to do controls, to do decision support, analytics, other activities, maybe risk activities, other responsibilities you have. So, we continue to spend a lot of our time doing, and all these years later, even with all the best automation efforts, we still continue to do that. That's what the polls consistently seem to show. People are very focused right now on bringing automation into their organizations through technology.

What are those transactions? Where do you spend your time? Just think about all the postings you do, all the reconciliations you perform. Are you doing a lot with data, with different disparate systems, trying to bring data together, consolidations? What are you doing around data quality? Do you do spend a lot of time doing transformation on spreadsheets? We continue to use a lot of spreadsheets. For large organizations, intercompany reconciliations is a real challenge and consolidations. So, continue to see a lot of challenges in this space. With that said, I'm going to pass this over to our moderator today. Katie, if you'd like to take the audience through the first polling question.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Fair. The first polling question that we have for the audience is, what is a key driver in your organization's push to transform the financial close process? Is it a manual effort, remote workforce, a lack of resource or capacity, or a lack of controls and visibility? We'll just give you about a minute to answer the question and then we will flip through to the poll results.

Gregory Fritsky:Okay. Thank you. This is very telling, consistent with what we've seen. 48% of you say it's the manual effort. Again, a lot of doing, not a lot of thinking. The remote workforce obviously is also front and center as well as capacity planning. Very interesting and I think leads into our first discussion point.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Right. The first discussion point, Greg, if you want to talk about this question, is, what are the business drivers accelerating the digital transformation of finance?

Gregory Fritsky:Yeah, thanks Katie. Again, this is a discussion, so my colleagues will join in, but I'll start. I mean, seeing those results is interesting. I would say obviously the pandemic, remote work. The need and ability to collaborate together through the cloud is paramount and do it in a secure fashion. That's always a concern. Obviously, cyber issues continue to haunt many and we have to be careful with the assets that we have at home. But we also want to focus on scale and capacity building. We're seeing an uptick. Everyone is seeing how the economy is coming out of this pandemic. Growth is strong, which is good for all. However, the labor force, it's difficult necessarily to find the right skill sets to meet demand.

That said, being able to scale up quickly can be a challenge, and thus, one of the reasons I think you'll see a lot of need for automation. The other thing is that I hear a lot from clients is just the ability to get better data, faster data, and predictive information, so predictive analytics, not just responding to information from last quarter, but what's happening now.  Things are moving so quickly and transactions are occurring all the time, so what are the impact on the business? And the business is really looking to finance, to supply that information on a much more urgent basis, so you're seeing organizations trying to push that front and center. I don't know if Cindy or Jay if you can share your thoughts on that as well.

Jay Pilster:Okay. I can add a quick thing to this. I think really highlighted by what happened last year is organizations plugged along over many, many, many years using Excel sheets, using email or that note and written things and meetings. Last year really highlighted the fact that the traditional methods of closing the books and doing accounting were just not sustainable, they couldn't last through something as difficult as last year was. So, organizations are having no choice but to look at the digital transformation of finance and say, "How can we do this better? How can we make it sustainable?"

Kaitlyn Skudera:Thank you, Jay. That leads into a good segue to our next question of, what is modern accounting? Jay, if you wanted to describe BlackLine's outlook on what modern accounting is?

Jay Pilster:That's a loaded question. I don't know if we have the time in this or meeting for this. But I'll dig into it. I'll try to be succinct. We generally look at modern accounting as a three-pronged approach. The first is unification or being unified. What that means is taking all the disparate systems that Greg had mentioned and processes and unifying them into a central thing. You want your data to be in one location where you can substantiate and validate it. Once you've done that and you've got that standardization and that centralization, that does a lot of things for an organization. That adds an immeasurable amount of visibility into where you're at, where you're going, and what's happening.

That also adds a significant amount of control over how these things are done across your organization, rather than just having control over little bits and pieces of it. You can actually have global control over your accounting organization with these tools. It also adds a lot of efficiencies, right? Centralization, standardization will add efficiencies in the process. Once you've done this, the second component of modern accounting comes into play, and that's automation. Greg also mentioned that as well. Automation is key, right? Once you've sent centralized and standardized things, you can begin automating things like reconciliations or your close calendar in your tasks or your journal entries or your intercompany processes.

What automation does is free up resources, adds capacity to your organization, allows you to do things like analysis and value added activities that are going to help you get through things like the pandemic and the growth that we're seeing now. Once you've unified everything and centralized, standardized, automated processes, then the third component of modern accounting comes into play, and that is what we like to call continuous accounting. There's a couple of facets of that. One of the first one and probably key point is taking those processes that you do and going, "Hey, why do I do this once a month? I can do this every two weeks or every week or even maybe daily. From that, I can act on information faster and know that that information is accurate, substantiated, validated, and the business is going to move better because of that."

Obviously, that's very important in the times that we're in. The second component to continuous accounting, I believe, it's kind of the path. You can start small with modernization of accounting. You can go, "I'm going to first start making sure my reconciliations are done correctly and centralized and standardized. Then I move to my close calendar. Then I can do matching large data sets together. Then I can automate my journal entries. I can move to my inner company processes or get a better understanding of how cash is affecting my organization." So, it's a continuous process and we're always growing and learning and trying to understand what we can do better. That's hopefully a short answer to modern accounting.

Gregory Fritsky:Just want to just add to Jay's point there. One of the things I think of modern accounting and I'm seeing this transformation is the roles that we played. When I grew up in accounting, I very much sat there doing a lot of the activities we mentioned, right? So, the postings and reconciliations and what have you. But now you're playing more of a role. You see people focused on testing controls, you see people focused on even working with customers. They're going beyond just doing accounting, right? Working with the vendors, resolving exceptions directly with external parties.

What this allows you to do is as you automate and take a lot of the doing out, you're spending more time on analysis and reporting. So, what I see it at is almost like a modernization of our roles too and I think that this really allows you to expand what you can do as an accountant in this day and age. So, it's very much not just the technology, but I think what you're seeing with the people and the skill sets that we're developing.

Cindy Daniele:Absolutely.

Jay Pilster:Yeah. We've seen a massive increase in the morale of the employees at the clients that adopt tools like BlackLine where they're excited to go and do their jobs because they're not working massive overtime just to get the close done. They're able to go home and be with their families and yet still do very, very value-added work, as you mentioned, like analysis. So, it's a great thing for morale.

Gregory Fritsky:Cindy has a team as well. Maybe you could share your thoughts on that.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Yeah. I was just going to lead into the next question of Cindy as a user and a client of BlackLine. What are the benefits that you've seen of a continuous financial close and what exactly does continuous accounting mean to you in your group?

Cindy Daniele:Oh, sure. This is probably one of my favorite topics to talk about. I spend most of my day thinking about our process here at Eisner. We are the outsource accounting practice for hundreds of clients of all different sizes. My role is to focus on how to centralize and standardize and automate that. The whole concept of continuous close, it's a change of mindset. You're moving from that batch mentality of, "I do things, I collect the data either all month or in the subsets and then I process," to moving into this live processing environment. It does give you the tools to make decisions faster.

It'll also flatten out the curve, well, the original flatten out the curve, of the month and close process and breaking that into smaller pieces. And just what Jay said, depending on the size of your organization, be able to do things on a daily basis, a weekly basis, so that you can move into close faster. Breaking down some of those things for examples can be, again, if you look at your accounts payable area, there's so much information that's there. For our clients that use Intact for example, whenever a bill gets posted to prepaid, we get an alert saying you've got a bill in prepaid.

At that point, it gets put on a schedule, the journal entries are created, and then all that process is taken care of. Some other things that you can do is to be able to do your vendor analysis. Instead of waiting to do your accrued expenses in the next month, you can do that on like the third week of the month and place that in accounts payable, go upstream to have them help with your month end close process. They know what vendors are expecting and you can have tools that can do that. That's one of the things that I like about BlackLine, is that it does that analysis for you and can tell you what you're missing and what's not.

Other things, large-scale reconciliations that you do for credit cards or Shopify or intercompany transactions. We do a lot of work in the real estate industry and they're doing a lot of billbacks within their properties. You should be able to balance that in a real-time basis. Again, one of the things that BlackLine allows us to do is that it will constantly compare your GL and your subsystems and tell you when you go out of balance. You can group your intercompanies together and it'll tell you when you go out of balance. I mean, how nice is that to get that message? So, it's really prompting you through.

And that's all about the change of mindset. I was talking to one of our colleagues and they were just steadfast, they wanted to be able to approve every single bill coming through accounts payable. When I asked them, I'm like, "Well, tell me why." The response was, "I want to be able to see what expenses are coming through, which ones needs to be written off. Any invoices that are over a certain amount, are the proper approvals there?" I said, "Well, what happens if you just got a report that said, 'You need to look at these five invoices instead of paging through the hundred AP invoices that they get in the month?'"

That's really the change of mindset of being able to have reports that can come out and help you identify anomalies and irregularities. You have a checklist in your head of what you're looking for, why not just automate that? That can be a first step. With continuous close, it's crawl, walk, run method. You can completely overwhelm yourself, say, "Oh, I have to all these different things." No, you have to start and just say, "Listen, let me focus on our six biggest recs that we're doing." Your bank recs, AP, AR, prepaids, fixed assets, and get those automated. Again, anything with bank recs, that is the number one place to look when you're doing your continuous accounting close.

One of the homework pieces that I'll give everyone is to go back to your office and make sure that your banks are attached to your general ledger package, because then you can do, again, what's right sized for your company. Is it every day, every week, or even doing it on the third week of the month of doing your bank rec? It'll tell you obviously what items that you have in the bank that you don't have in your GL. That's also going to give you a roadmap when you start to look at, what processes should I be identifying to improve? Because the things that aren't in the GL and that you can't match up, you need to say, "Let's go back up and find out why the deposits aren't being posted.

Is it the receipts aren't in? What makes the receipts not going in? It's data entry, it's this. Well, can we switch it having people pay their bills online?" And really having those conversations. Again, with doing the close process, it identifies those irregularities that you might have. And rather than waiting until the 10th or the 15th day to do your financial reports, by doing these all throughout the month, you can identify areas of risk much earlier in the process.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Thank you, Cindy.

Cindy Daniele:You're welcome.

Kaitlyn Skudera:The next one I'm going to direct towards Jay. I know this is one of his favorite slides to talk about, just about the record and reporting and an overview of the BlackLine accounting cloud system and platform.

Jay Pilster:Thank you. Greg can speak to this as well. Basically, a lot of people always ask, where does BlackLine fit in my record to report process? Help me to understand this. In general, the way I look at it, it's exactly what this slide shows. You record information, you record that in an ERP system, in a variety of different third-party systems, whether it's Concur or any other. The bank is recording information for you. You may have credit card merchant processors. There's a wide variety of systems that are gathering data for your organization. That's the record segment of it.

Then organizations go through a substantiation validation of all that information that's in there so that they can at the end report on it and consolidate it and deliver that to all the people who need to see it, whether that's board of directors, a VC or a PE firm or shareholders or a bank. That information has to be correct. BlackLine sits right in the middle there. We substantiate and validate that information through all your financial close tasks, your reconciliations, posts to your journal entries, your validation of those journal entries, the workflow that goes into those, and all the supporting documentation across the board so your auditors can come in and say, "Hey, I know everything is there.

I know everything it's done the right way. It's been done period after period after period this way. It's automated and there's a system that looks at it and says it's been done right." So, that's the way it works there. Maybe you can add some color to that, Greg.

Gregory Fritsky:Yeah. Well, one of the top questions I get often when clients are evaluating. Right now, a lot of folks looking at their ERP, they're also looking at BlackLine, other solutions. The question I get is, what do I get different from BlackLine that I wouldn't get out of my ERP? Because ERPs have many different tools built in, they've acquired many different companies, and they string it together. And the question always is, if I'm going to make this big investment, what is this that BlackLine is doing for me? And the biggest thing is exactly what Jay had said, where it sits between you and the ERP. There are still a lot of activities.

You saw the poll, a lot of you are on ERPs. 50% of the work is being still very much manual. You're still doing very much everything. So, a lot of the activities that BlackLine has addressed within those ERPs is to put automation into the equation. When I started at this practice focused on automation, BlackLine was more of an application-based form of process automation that would allow people to automate the activities that they were performing before. So, I've seen a lot of companies use RPA, robotics process automation. I had one client on the west coast that used bots to essentially get their close down to one day, if you can believe that. But they actually did to some extent.

But what I've seen here is that this is very much focused on the user, the end user, the accountant, the person who's actually going to do the activities. It becomes something almost like it's your clerk. Back in the day, I had a clerk that actually did a lot of these activities and a lot of these functions now are performed within BlackLine. But it gives you the additional warnings, it gives you the additional out-of-balance notifications. It provides you a central place for putting your reporting and being able to point. Now, the auditors are coming in and they're reviewing, they're asking for access to the BlackLine instance, to the repositories, and plugging into some of the GRC tools.

This is very much an engine and taking basically the opportunity or the work that you've been performing and now being able to actually leverage it and through the different modules. The other thing is, it is cloud-based, so it's collaborative. So, you can work from anywhere and you can scale up and scale down as necessary and you can increase the usage of it as you move into different modules. It's built very much very logically, very easy to connect. They have connectors and APIs and the abilities to map into the ERP. So, back to the original point was, it's very much going to bring your ERP and give you that optimization that you desire. And I've seen that. I've seen more and more companies doing them in tandem as they move for that evaluation, something that you may be in the process of doing right now.

Cindy Daniele:Oh, sure. If I can just add. Was it March 16th, 2020? Was the day that the earth stopped and everybody went home to work. At that point, how did you know who was doing what? Where were you in the process? I had been looking at many different systems who can manage our task management, that we can do load leveling to make sure that we get scheduling correct with our staff, and then to make sure that we have accuracy. BlackLine just really rose to the top very quickly because they gave us that full, complete package.

It gives you the ability to look at your tasks, you can break them down into tasks and sub-tasks and be able to see either by client where are you or by cash management tasks, where are you on the close process? And then you can make decisions very quickly, will I have to move these tasks to someone else? The tasks are also tied to all the reconciliations. So, it's very intuitive, it's everything is connected, and we just found that it was just critical for us to be able to maintain the service levels that we needed with staff that was all over.

Kaitlyn Skudera:That leads us to our next polling question for the audience of, when it comes to the financial close automation, where along the journey is your organization? Are you gathering information and in the discovery phase, currently evaluating solutions, are you implementing a solution like BlackLine or maybe another solution, or have a solution implemented but want to optimize and automate in addition to what you already have implemented? Give you a few minutes to answer this question and then we will show the results.

Gregory Fritsky:Yeah, everybody. It's a different point in time.

Jay Pilster:I hope more organizations are on the bottom part of this figuring what we went through last year. There at least in the evaluation, if not implementing or optimizing stages. We'll see that.

Gregory Fritsky:Absolutely. There's been an acceleration, especially latter part of last year and rolling into this year. Those that did budgets in the fall, I think most organizations slated something towards automation or this exercise.

Jay Pilster:Agree.

Gregory Fritsky:We'll see what folks come back with.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Yes. This is the current poll results, so Jay is in luck. He was hoping for a heavy bottom solution.

Jay Pilster:This actually highlights a very important thing. And this goes back to a little bit what I mentioned about modern accounting, and what Cindy mentioned as well, is the continuous aspect of it. You see 33.3% of the folks have a solution implemented and now want to optimize and automate more within those solutions, which is absolutely a crucial component. And it's expected too. There's no magic wand that you're going to wave and somehow Harry Potter your accounting system into this nirvana. You have to continually work at it and optimize and automate more and use the new tools that are developed on the platform to do that.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Right. For those that are in the process of implementing a solution or maybe in the discovery phases, Cindy, could you explain some of your project considerations that you had for your team and how do you identify the specific finance process areas that should be transformed?

Cindy Daniele:Great. When we were taking on this project, one of the biggest things is the change management aspect of it, because it's a different way of thinking, it's a different way of doing things.  But it's going to help your organization so much. So, being able to manage the change is important, being able to have your key people identified, including everyone in the decision-making process of what is important, what are the goals, ensuring that everyone is on board with that. One of the things also that's helpful is bringing resources in to help with that change process.

We're going to talk a little bit about the map process with BlackLine and that was really a quick start way for us to get BlackLine up and running for our clients. I think also with a system, it can be very daunting to too many people. They know what they do, they have their spreadsheets, they have their routines, how is that going to change? I think that the training aspect, it used to be, well, you train the trainer, you define the system and implement the system, and then you train the staff. I think putting the training upfront is so important. One of the things that we find successful that we've done, BlackLine has a BlackLine University and they've got awesome training tools in there.

But I tell people, "Listen, there's four training sessions that I think that you should take before we actually start to sit you in the seat and start having discussions on how we're going to implement that for that particular or that particular moment." Because it just gives them some context of what's happening. It's kind of reading the book and then seeing the movie, you know what's going to happen. But it'll also give them the way they can start to think about, well, how can I change my workflow that's going to mirror that? And there's different templates to how they can work with that. I also think that it's so important to let people know that you don't have to eat the elephant on day one.

It's one bite at a time and crawl, walk, run. When I say crawl, crawl is getting your tasks up and running, getting your key six reconciliations in the system, getting things connected. You don't have to give up all of your spreadsheets. They can be housed within BlackLine. But you know what? When walk comes along, it's okay. I always tell people, focus on where the data comes from. If you're looking at your work in progress and you're just taking your GL and you're dumping it onto a schedule, well, you know what? Let's just automate that piece and just have that report just come out and be there as part of your work papers.

The next thing too with walk is getting into more sophisticated matching, being able to look at how you can connect your credit cards into your systems, things of that nature. Also connecting the intercompany reconciliations so it can tell you, "Hey, you're missing these records." Again, I'll go back to the bank recs. Having that report, we do three, 400 bank recs a month, and we do them continually all month long so that we can keep them up and running. Then the run part of it comes from, let's get really slick with this and get the journal entries to be able to be produced from within the tool as well, because now you can have one centralized location.

What I like is that BlackLine will be able to talk to all different types of general ledger systems, but that standardized, centralized process is in one place, so people doing the reconciliations and the work only have to know BlackLine and they don't have to be an expert in all those different systems, which is terrific. I also tell people that when we're going through this process, we're looking for trends to see how we can, again, continue that automation. I think it's really important to have a good project plan that lays out the milestone dates that you have because people like to know what to expect.

Just like children, like my kids knew what our routine was at seven o'clock and we went from dinner to bath time, if people know what to expect, they can manage to those dates. But also too, I think there has to be some level of flexibility. And how you ensure you hit those milestone dates are having those internal champions or super users that can work with some of the other folks so that people don't feel like they're in this by themselves because they're not and they have like a buddy program almost, and that works out really well. Those are some of the things that we considered. To be talking about what you should identify, what you need to transform, all goes back to that whole review process.

Where are your bottlenecks? Where are the issues that you're having with things being out of balance all the time? Is it because of delayed postings or inaccurate invoicing, things of that nature? When do you look at accounts payable? That's one of my favorite areas to rip apart because there's so much efficiency that you can derive if you've got a smooth AP process. And then how do you make that work? I think that if you were to ask any one on our team for AP, what are the four goals of AP? Is being able to look at the lowest amount of approvals that are required, 100% vendor compliance, low rejection rate, and the shortest time to process an invoice. And then how do you make that happen?

It's really important to do that and then be able to find out what, again, are having too many levels of approval or what's making invoices hung up in the system. I would also look, if you're making journal entries every month, what's causing those journal entries to be made and can you automate them? I know that people say, "Well, I just copy the entry from month to month because I do the same payroll entry." And I'm like, "Well, how about we just import it and upload it and now you don't have to worry about having to key in an entry error?" And then it just makes it part of the flow so that you can take those repetitive transactional pieces and putting some automation into that. Greg, if you want to talk a little bit about how the bots can be used as well in that process?

Gregory Fritsky:Yeah, absolutely. One of the things that we focus on is, where's the doing? So, the activities where you're spending time, hands-on keyboard, I like to call it, and just basically there's no judgment, no decision. It's a very repetitive process. Actually can leverage RPA to actually help with some of the process automation aspects of it as well. We've even seen cases where you could use it and leverage it within BlackLine to pass along information to BlackLine, especially if it's coming from different systems or different entities.

So, there are additional ways to continuously optimize the instance and not just, again, once something is implemented, I always say the most important part of a project is actually the optimization phase which immediately follows and there's opportunities to further automate from there. But yeah, that's a way of looking at it.

Cindy Daniele:That's one of the things I liked about BlackLine as well. I mean, talk about the slide where BlackLine sits between record and to report. It gives you the connectors that can pull data from your GL and help you with that analysis.

Jay Pilster:Yeah. We're a big fan of BlackLine of RPA. Almost every RPA vendor is a BlackLine client and you can use RPA to bring data in and then substantiate, validate it, push it back to the ERP system so that what you have is solid and good, you're making decisions on good data, which is crucial in this time of big data.

Kaitlyn Skudera:The next question that we had for Greg or team to answer is, how can you accelerate the implementation of business applications like BlackLine to quickly show value?

Gregory Fritsky:Yeah, I can comment on that. I mean, my thoughts here is fairly simple, just make sure you have a clearly defined scope. That's very important. Cindy mentioned it too. Involve the business from the beginning. Help identify clearly defined areas that will benefit. Pick the groups, not the most difficult group or the most challenging use cases, try to find the groups that you know will be able to champion this forward. Create a hybrid project team because enablement is very important, that when you walk away after implementation, you have individuals who can go out and spread the gospel, if you will, to the others and share the information. But the important thing is to be able to stood this up fairly quickly.

The most successful projects I've been on over my many years in the space, three months or less. Anything after three months, we get project fatigue very quickly, and to show some sort of ROI is very important. So, one of the things I like is we have an accelerated implementation methodology, very much aligned with what BlackLine has offered as well, which is a very clearly defined scope and project timeline. We're talking about everything from initiation, through build and validating, training, and then deployment within three to four months and having something stood up, and sometimes even quicker. We've seen some organizations that want to a proof of value, which is even a smaller subset of what they ultimately want to implement.

There's no right or wrong here. It's just, how can you identify and implement change quickly? And again, that change management is probably going to be the biggest piece that might hold you back. So, having all that worked out in the early part, make sure the requirements are defined. I have a lot of clients that will do an initial assessment if you will, which is to develop the use cases and really understand, this is our business problem, this is how we're going to use it, this is how it actually works within BlackLine. All right, let's roll. We have that sort of understanding before we even get started. So, many different ways to accelerate this and to show success.

Jay Pilster:
I think Cindy hit the nail on the head. Don't be afraid to crawl, walk, run. Get results, show that you can get positive outcomes from this, because that allows you to go up to management, to the organization, and go, "Look what we've done in a very, very short period of time. We've created positive outcomes when we change the way we do things." Then you get to the walk and the run part as Cindy highlighted.

Cindy Daniele:Yeah. And one of the things that we've done, because we've implemented it so many times, is that we bring the best practice to the table. So, you can have whatever you want, but some people can get overwhelmed with that. So, when you have a rapid deployment in that aim program, we're able to say, "Listen you can have what you want, but this is what's the best practice and this is the guide to set you up to implement quickly and get those results. We brought one client aboard and the partner said, "Okay, but I'm not seeing all the time saving."

I'm like, "Well, it's month one, and by month three " "Okay. Now I start to see how things are coming up." So, it's really important to have people who have that background, and as I spoke earlier, is bringing some external resources in. And it doesn't have to be bleeding edge, it just can be cutting edge. How can you get that innovation that you need and who's the best person to talk to?

Gregory Fritsky:Right. I think we have a couple more minutes, so I'm just going to jump ahead here with regards to this. There's both qualitative and quantitative ways of understanding if you've achieved your outcomes. Quantitatively, look for the ROI, identify the opportunities to manual effort, try to understand how much time. If you could save the capacity of one FTE working on something and they can now be redeployed, you've achieved your goal. That's a great way of looking at it. And qualitatively, to Jay's point earlier, people, are they enjoying their jobs? I mean, are they doing the things, the meaningful work that they want to do? If this tool is enabling them to do that and they rely on it, then I consider that a success and that would be my opinion. Maybe we can go to the final polling question.

Kaitlyn Skudera:Sure. The final polling question is, after listening to this presentation, would you like to hear more and have us directly contact you? Feel free to answer yes or no and we look forward to hearing from you guys.

Gregory Fritsky:We're coming to the end and I know that Lexi will give some instruction on our follow-up session. But certainly, let us know. We're having these conversations all the time, happy to answer the questions that you have. And again, very happy that you were all able to join.

 

About Greg Fritsky

Greg Fritsky is the National Director of Robotics, AI and Data Analytics with years of consulting, technology, and internal audit experience. Greg serves as the robotics and intelligent automation leader internally and externally.

About Kaitlyn Skudera

Kaitlyn Skudera is a Senior Consultant within EisnerAmper Digital and assists clients with the requirements of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002.

About Cindy Daniele

Cindy Daniele is a Director in the firm’s Outsourced Finance and Accounting practice.

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