Technology EY

Modern Finance: Learning To Face Forward

Sponsored by EY

While the rest of the business focuses on the future, the accounting function is often perceived to spend its time looking at the past. This podcast episode explores how finance can align to drive support value creation for the business.


The modern accounting function can only move forward by not looking back.

That’s the main takeaway from our discussion with Therese Tucker, CEO and founder of BlackLine, in our latest episode of the Better Finance Podcast. BlackLine’s mission is to focus on the automation of the financial close process, with the greater goal of modernizing finance in a constantly evolving environment.

According to Tucker, modern accounting must move away from a “batch mentality” of focusing on reviewing data in historical intervals, and push further to become forward-thinking, strategic business planners fueled by live data.

“Nobody cares in business about what happened four to six weeks ago. We really don’t,” says Tucker. 

Most data is now available in real time, which affords accounting a tremendous opportunity. Tucker indicated that she believes that data should be captured and processed automatically, allowing accounting professionals to deal with issues and exceptions in real time and to focus on more interesting and challenging work. According to Tucker, this cultural and process shift is what will truly modernize finance.

So how can businesses enable this transition to a more valuable and respected partner within the organization?

The repetitive processes in finance, according to Tucker, are perfect for automation. Automating these tasks can enable finance professionals to spend more time acting as business partners.

However, when it comes to implementing automation in an organization, it’s important that AI, machine learning and other technologies not get lumped together. Each of these technologies presents its own advantages and challenges, and business leaders should implement them in alignment with a larger vision for the success of the business.

“If you are simply automating a single kind of crappy process, then what you’ll get is a much faster crappy process,” said Tucker.

According to Tucker, these technologies provide the most value only when they are in the context of a larger strategy. Automation should not simply be about alleviating costs. Instead, business leaders should think about using these resources in light of a future vision.

“Technology by itself, it’s like having a hammer that sits on the shelf. And you can use it really badly or you cannot use it at all, but if you actually have a plan to build a house, the results can be phenomenal,” says Tucker.

Successful technology implementation is overwhelmingly dependent on a clear road map and a well-defined value-add for the employees, department and organization as a whole.

Organizations that are able to define that vision successfully and make decisions in a more proactive way will ultimately be the ones to succeed.

For more information on Modern Finance, listen in to our conversation with Therese Tucker at iTunesGoogle Play and Stitcher or visit