Customer stories, Finance IT modernization

Light & Wonder cuts days off its monthly close process by empowering financial analysts to freely drill into detailed transactional data

If your month-end close processes are extremely long and tedious, it’s probably because your financial analysts can’t easily drill down into data details or tap a reliable, single source of data truth. All they have is aggregate data—often manually compiled from different data systems—they can’t easily investigate to validate its accuracy or timeliness.

That’s exactly what was happening at leading cross-platform global game company Light & Wonder

The company was growing fast—both organically and through acquisition—and had many different lines of business. It all added up to a lot of different ERP systems, located across many different geographies, from which data needed to be pulled and reconciled every month.

Using BlackLine to smooth out their financial close reconciliation process was a good start. But the system only refreshed data every six hours, forcing users across the globe to sometimes wait an entire day to get the information they needed to continue month-end processing. Plus, to ensure only relevant ERP data was pulled into BlackLine in the first place, Light & Wonder’s data engineering team had to write and maintain a ton of custom business logic.

Explains Light & Wonder Accounting Manager and primary BlackLine administrator Rodney Gray, “It was really hard to access the data we needed to substantiate account reconciliation. Typically, a user had to log in to the ERP system, sort through information and accounts to find the data they needed, export the data to Excel, manipulate it in Excel, then attach that Excel spreadsheet to the reconciliation.”

But then Light & Wonder leaders had an idea. They’d already made Incorta the company’s de facto BI/analytics tool after Incorta proved it could deliver a single source of data truth from an unlimited number of data sources, preserve full data fidelity, and enable users to access trusted financial data at the detail level. So why not feed all the data from Light & Wonder’s separate business units and ERP systems into Incorta first, then create a single feed from Incorta to BlackLine? Essentially get the best of both worlds by integrating BlackLine and Incorta together. 

The plan worked. Even better, Incorta made it easier than anyone thought possible. With Incorta’s unique “data hub” approach, built-in connectors, for instance, automatically pull data from Light & Wonder’s many data systems and sources, then feed it as one stream of data truth to BlackLine. And materialized views replace the custom business logic data engineers used to have to write and maintain for each of Light & Wonders financial use cases.

Now, with just a single click, Light & Wonder’s Finance team can reach the data details they need to substantiate month-end reconciliations. They can freely drill into detailed transactional data, down to any sub-ledger detail. And they receive updated data every three hours, instead of every six or more.

But I think Rodney says it best. “The Incorta/BlackLine combination is a game-changer for Light & Wonder because it gives our financial users near real-time access to GL detail without requiring them to open up the ERP,” Rodney explains. “For individual GL accounts or groups, they just click the GL link in BlackLine to open up Incorta’s pre-filtered GL dashboards, which display everything from an overall GL balance to individual GL lines. But one of the coolest things is that you can actually drill further into any cell—you can dive right down with the sub-ledger!” 

This integration by Light & Wonder was such a hit, in fact, that we decided to make BlackLine one of Incorta’s standard data destinations within the Incorta Analytics Hub for Finance solution. Thanks, Light & Wonder!

Hear Rich and Rodney explain how in more detail how the BlackLine/Incorta integration has enabled Light & Wonder to significantly accelerate its monthly financial close processes. Watch their on-demand presentation.