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Borr Drilling turns to BlackLine to streamline account reconciliations across 114 legal entities

Borr Drilling is an international drilling contractor that owns and operates jack-up rigs of modern and high specification designs, providing drilling services to the oil and gas exploration and production industry worldwide in water depths up to approximately 400 feet. The company is one of the largest premium jack-up companies in the world, with the youngest fleet. Borr Drilling’s finance function is currently headquartered in London, UK, where its finance department helps Borr Drilling operate across more than 114 legal entities around the globe, from the North Sea to Africa.

The Challenge

Since being incorporated in Bermuda in 2016, Borr Drilling has experienced a period of rapid growth. The company was listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange in 2017, the New York Stock Exchange, and the London Stock Exchange in 2019. By the end of 2019, the company was turning over around $350 million (£270 million) annually, leaving the finance department to manage in excess of 1,200 account reconciliations each month, each requiring six rounds of approvals – all with a modest team of only 20 individuals.

To help the finance team streamline their operations, Borr Drilling began searching for a unified approach to help consolidate processes, simplify typical month-end cycles, and achieve an enhanced control environment.

With the promise of greater internal collaboration, control, real-time visibility, and standardisation of financial data, Borr Drilling turned to BlackLine.

Why BlackLine

The decision to implement BlackLine ultimately came down to the experience and expertise of Borr Drilling’s Finance Controller, who knew first-hand about the benefits the company’s automation software could provide.

‘’During my initial interview at Borr Drilling, I spoke very highly of BlackLine and my previous experiences of using the software. I began making the business case for implementing the tool from the get-go. It was not only the use of the tool that stood out for me in my previous experience, but the ease of implementation, design, and of course flexibility of the platform. Although we considered other solutions as part of the process, we didn’t feel any could top the capabilities that BlackLine could offer,’’ explained Borr Drilling’s Finance Controller.

The implementation of BlackLine was kick-started in March 2020, and completed by May across all 114 legal entities, taking a total of only six weeks to complete. The successful implementation was in large part due to the exceptional BlackLine consultants who supported Borr Drilling’s finance team every step of the way.

“We spoke with our BlackLine training consultant every day during the implementation process, she was very hands on—and overall did an excellent job.’’

‘’Even today, our consultant continues to keep an eye on our activity and usage, sending reminders for ways to enhance what we’re doing. The six-week implementation phase wouldn’t have been possible without her.”

At the time of implementation, Borr Drilling looked to BlackLine to overcome a specific challenge: facing too many account reconciliations with a small team and tight timeline. BlackLine’s software offered the finance department the ability to view key aspects of the month-end cycle, such as segregation of duties, and who was performing what tasks, where and when. This led to a positive change in behaviour, as it created a discipline for individuals to complete tasks accurately, and on time.

Another factor that made BlackLine a good candidate for overcoming this challenge, was its ability to group together reconciliations.

‘’It is not sustainable nor achievable for such a small team to complete 1,200 reconciliations per month manually, especially given other commitments. BlackLine’s ability to group account reconciliations offers us a huge advantage in this sense. It allows us to group together a lot of the reconciliations such as intercompany types and transactional accounts, to save us time and resources,” he added.

The Results

Improved control and compliance. There were three main considerations that the Finance team hoped BlackLine could address. Internal control and compliance, Borr Drilling’s Finance Controller explained, was near the top of the list: “Improving control and compliance were certainly the initial drivers for adopting a tool like BlackLine. With a finance function that encompasses six rounds of approvals for over 1,200 account reconciliations, aiming for consistent compliance is a real challenge. Now that the company is listed on the New York stock exchange among others, there are additional compliance considerations we must address, one of those being the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX).’’

With the real-time intelligence and greater control offered by BlackLine’s Account Reconciliation solution, he and his finance team can now take a proactive approach to identifying and monitoring risk, as well as helping to ensure that the required approvals process has been effectively fulfilled.

The software also dramatically enhances internal controls, by removing the risk of paper-based, manual spreadsheets. It does this by maintaining proper segregation of duties, creating post-certification view-only records, automatically adding new ERP accounts, and gaining unprecedented visibility into accounting processes.

Optimised and standardised reconciliation process. ‘’The second driver to implementing BlackLine was the promise of standardisation that the Account Reconciliation solution offers,’’ he said. While the finance function is based out of London for external reporting purposes, much of the company’s finance team is still decentralised, with individuals dispersed across different regions. This includes the North Sea, the Middle East and Asia, Mexico, and Africa, all of which had a finance manager, cross controllers and Accounts Payable (AP) functions. With this in mind, Borr Drilling’s Finance Controller hoped to standardise and optimise processes across all regions.

With BlackLine, the team can now enforce standardisation across the reconciliation process to improve the quality and accuracy of financial data. This helps to reduce errors and inaccuracies, so that accountants can instead focus on analysis, risk mitigation, and exception handling.

Achieved a seamless month-end cycle. The final factor behind Borr Drilling’s decision to choose BlackLine was its ability to improve the entire month-end close process over the long-term. Having greater visibility over which stage each employee is at the during the process helps to ensure they are adhering to timelines and enables Borr Drilling to achieve successful closes each month with far less hassle