Could this cloud financial software reduce dependence on spreadsheets?
If you’ve never heard of BlackLine, that’s precisely the point.
The company’s cloud-hosted financial management software is intended to keep businesses out of the headlines. It automates balance sheet reconciliation, overhauling a process that relies heavily on mind-numbing, manual workflows at many companies large and small. “There are still many things that many people do in spreadsheets,” said BlackLine CEO and founder Therese Tucker, the former chief technology officer for SunGard Treasury Systems. “It’s a very uncontrolled process, which is not something that the market loves.”
As of October, Los Angeles-based BlackLine had signed up more than 900 companies as customers—100 from the Fortune 500, including AT&T, Boeing, Costco, eBay, Kimberly-Clark, Northrop Grumman, and United Airlines.
Aside from eliminating literally hours of work every month, BlackLine’s financial controls software lets controllers pay more attention to identifying patterns that deserve closer attention and that could be indicative of potential fraud. The software runs on servers in a secure, private data center. “You don’t have to send your auditors into the closet to make copies. It allows you to concentrate on the things that require accounting training,” Tucker said.
For the first nine years of its existence, BlackLine relied on self-funding and its own revenue to fund its strategy. In August 2013, however, it accepted a $200 million investment from Silver Lake Sumeru.
“We see an enormous opportunity to bring world-class transaction analytics and workflow technology to financial process management,” said Hollie Moore Haynes, managing director of the private equity firm.
The investment is meant to position BlackLine for an eventual public offering. Even though the company’s sales have consistently grown more than 50% annually for the last six years, the backing lends more credibility as the category attracts more players. Among the other vendors vying for share are big names including Oracle and SAP, and smaller players such as Runbook and Trintech.
“You can only take a bootstrapped company so far,” Tucker said. “We’d like to get to the IPO.”
This item first appeared in the Dec. 3 edition of Data Sheet, Fortune’s daily newsletter on the business of technology. Sign up here.