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EY AND BLACKLINE FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO OFFER FINANCE PROCESS AUTOMATION TO ORGANIZATIONS WORLDWIDE

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EY AND BLACKLINE FORM STRATEGIC ALLIANCE TO OFFER FINANCE PROCESS AUTOMATION TO ORGANIZATIONS WORLDWIDE

Ernst & Young LLP (EY) and BlackLine, Inc. (Nasdaq: BL) have today announced a new strategic alliance that will expand EY process automation capabilities and finance transformation services offered to clients to improve finance and accounting operations.

BlackLine, a leading provider of enterprise-class financial automation software solutions, is working with EY to help companies govern and automate their finance and risk processes. This alliance is an extension of an existing collaboration between EY and BlackLine to help companies across industries automate their formerly manual and spreadsheet-driven processes and help finance transformation through BlackLine implementations.

Bill Thomas, Ernst & Young LLP Principal, EY Americas Financial Services Organization and executive sponsor of the alliance with BlackLine, says:

“Finance process automation is a complex problem to solve and requires specialized tools to deliver a complete solution, especially with growing volumes of financial data that is increasing the strain on finance departments to manage and certify reported results. As customers embrace the digital future, they need solutions that deliver timely and accurate financial information without the costly maintenance of on-premises solutions. EY and BlackLine are uniquely positioned to help provide a foundation for continuous improvement that supports a company’s strategy and responds to rising competitive and regulatory pressures.”

Through the alliance, EY can help modernize enterprise business processes using BlackLine’s Continuous Accounting capabilities. The offering leverages emerging robotic process automation tools, traditional enterprise resource planning systems and the capabilities of BlackLine’s cloud platform to help clients:

  • Automate manual-intensive finance and accounting processes for increased efficiency and a more predictable workload for finance professionals.
  • Continuously improve the quality and accuracy of reported financial information, and increase visibility and control over critical finance and accounting data.
  • Govern and automate the management of intercompany transactions and respond to increased regulatory scrutiny in this area.

Greg Sarafin, EY Global Alliances Leader, says:

“Chief financial officers are at the center of driving performance improvement across the modern enterprise. The EY and BlackLine alliance can help CFOs and their organizations to lead by example through the improvement and automation of critical finance operations like accounting, financial close, inter-company processing, reconciliations and tax management. By improving and automating finance operations, we help CFOs reduce cost and risk and free up resources to spend more time on financial planning and analysis, providing higher levels of insight to business decision-makers.”

Under the terms of the agreement, EY will provide its experience in data integration, finance and ERP technology and experience in audit, framework-as-a-service, tax, and finance advisory to develop an end-to-end solution and a sustainable foundation for continuous improvement. EY will also provide insights into product enhancements, alignment with EY digital transformation and intelligent automation initiatives and systems, integration, implementation and deployment support for BlackLine’s cloud-based portfolio.

Therese Tucker, CEO, BlackLine, says:

“The BlackLine Strategic Alliances are an integral part of our go-to-market strategy. We continue to seek out and build relationships with leading organizations such as EY, whose software and services experience, deep technical skills and global reach complement our own. EY was one of the first consulting organizations we worked with, and we’ve collaborated on many joint projects over the years where EY’s in-depth experience and hands-on advisory services have helped us meet the strict requirements of global customers. In addition, EY is a leader in financial fraud advisory services, an area that we believe will become an increasingly critical resource for customers going forward.”

For more information, visit ey.com/blackline

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Euro zone factories buzzing in February as demand soars

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Euro zone factories buzzing in February as demand soars 1

By Jonathan Cable

LONDON (Reuters) – Euro zone factory activity raced along in February thanks to soaring demand, a survey showed on Monday, although the burst of business led to a shortage of raw materials and a spike in input costs.

Restrictions imposed across the continent to try to quell the spread of the coronavirus have shuttered vast swathes of the bloc’s dominant services industry, meaning it has fallen to manufacturers to support the economy.

IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to a three-year high of 57.9 in February from January’s 54.8, ahead of the initial 57.7 “flash” estimate and one of the highest readings in the survey’s 20-year history.

An index measuring output, which feeds into a composite PMI due on Wednesday that is seen as a good guide to economic health, climbed to 57.6 from 54.6, well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction.

“Manufacturing is appearing as an increasingly bright spot in the euro zone’s economy so far this year,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit.

“The solid manufacturing expansion is clearly helping to offset ongoing virus-related weakness in many consumer-facing sectors, alleviating the impact of recent lockdown measures in many countries and helping to limit the overall pace of economic contraction.”

A Reuters poll last month showed the bloc was in a double dip recession and that the economy would contract 0.8% this quarter after shrinking 6.9% in 2020 on an annual basis. [ECILT/EU]

Rocketing demand for manufactured goods pushed factories to increase staffing levels for the first time in nearly two years.

But lockdown measures disrupted supply chains and factories struggled to obtain raw materials, leading to a big increase in delivery times.

“The growth spurt has brought its own problems, however, with demand for inputs not yet being met by supply. Shipping delays and shortages of materials are being widely reported, and led to near-record supply chain delays,” Williamson said.

Those shortages allowed suppliers to hike their prices at the fastest rate in almost a decade. The input prices PMI bounced to 73.9 from 68.3.

(Reporting by Jonathan Cable; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Strong exports lift German factory activity to three-year high in February – PMI

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Strong exports lift German factory activity to three-year high in February - PMI 2

BERLIN (Reuters) – Higher demand from China, the United States and Europe drove growth in German factory activity to its highest level in more than three years in February, brightening the outlook for Europe’s largest economy, a survey showed on Monday.

IHS Markit’s Final Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing, which accounts for about a fifth of the economy, jumped to 60.7 from 57.1 in January.

It was the highest reading since January 2018 and came in slightly better than the initial “flash” figure of 60.6.

Factories have been humming along during the pandemic on higher foreign demand, helping the German economy avoid a contraction in the last quarter of 2020 and offsetting a drop in consumer spending amid a partial lockdown to contain COVID-19.

Many manufacturers reported higher demand from Asia, especially China, as well as the United States and European countries, with export sales posting their biggest increase since December 2017, the survey showed.

Phil Smith, Principal Economist at IHS Markit, said supply chain pressures intensified as more firms reported delays than ever before in nearly 25 years of data collection.

“There looks to be further upward pressure on inflation in the German economy from supply bottlenecks and a subsequent surge in manufacturing input costs,” Smith noted.

The survey suggested that supply disruption is making it more difficult to replenish stocks, which could complicate production in the coming months, he cautioned.

“Nevertheless, the overriding sentiment for the longer-term outlook is optimism, with a record number of manufacturers expecting to see output rise over the next 12 months.”

Still, economists expect the economy to shrink in the first quarter of this year due to a stricter lockdown, which has shut most shops and services since mid-December, and freezing temperatures that slowed construction activity in February.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

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Tech demand drives Asia’s factory revival, China’s slowdown puts dampener

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Tech demand drives Asia's factory revival, China's slowdown puts dampener 3

By Leika Kihara

TOKYO (Reuters) – Solid demand for technology goods drove extended growth in Asia’s factories in February, but a slowdown in China underscored the challenges facing the region as it seeks a sustainable recovery from the shattering COVID-19 pandemic blow.

The vaccine rollouts globally and pick-up in demand provided optimism for a vast number of businesses that had grappled for months with a cash-flow crunch and falling profits.

In Japan, manufacturing activity expanded at the fastest pace in over two years while South Korea’s exports rose for a fourth straight month in February, suggesting the region’s export-reliant economies were benefiting from robust global trade.

On the flip side, China’s factory activity grew at the slowest pace in nine months in February, hit by a domestic flare-up of COVID-19 and soft demand from countries under renewed lock-down measures.

“The big picture, supported by the latest figures, is that China’s growth remains fairly robust, but it is slowing from previously very rapid rates,” Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

China’s was the first major economy to lead the recovery from the COVID-19 shock, so any signs of prolonged cooling in Asia’s engine of growth will likely be a cause for concern.

With the global rebound still in early days, however, analysts say the outlook was brightening as companies increased output to restock inventory on hopes vaccine rollouts will normalise economic activity.

“The recovery in durable-goods demand is continuing, which is creating a positive cycle for manufacturers in Asia,” said Shigeto Nagai, head of Japan economics as Oxford Economics.

“As vaccine rollouts ease uncertainties over the outlook, capital expenditure will gradually pick up. That will benefit Japan, which is strong in exports of capital goods,” he said.

China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 50.9 in February, the lowest level since last May but still above the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.

That was in line with official manufacturing PMI that showed factory activity in the world’s second-largest economy expanded in February at the weakest pace since May last year.

Activity in other Asian giants remained brisk.

The final au Jibun Bank Japan Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) jumped to 51.4 in February from the prior month’s 49.8 reading, marking the fastest expansion since December 2018, data showed on Monday.

In South Korea, a regional exports bellwether, shipments jumped 9.5% in February from a year earlier for its fourth straight month of increase on continued growth in memory chip and car sales.

The Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam also saw manufacturing activity expand in February, a sign the region was gradually recovering from the initial hit of the pandemic. (This story corrects to add name of institution linked to analyst comment in paragraph 5)

(Reporting by Leika Kihara; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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