Tarmac, a CRH company, is the United Kingdom’s leading sustainable building materials and construction solutions business. The company has contributed to some of the UK’s biggest construction projects, including Wembley Stadium, Heathrow Terminal 5, The Shard, and London 2012. Tarmac has over 150 years of experience and directly employs around 7,000 people across a nationwide network of over 400 sites.
Recent mergers created new opportunities for Tarmac—and new challenges for the company’s shared services center (SSC). The center had not only inherited multiple ERPs, but multiple close processes from previous service centers. Combined with a reduction in staff, these factors lead to integration and stabilization challenges, especially during the month-end financial close. According to Andrew Parris, Director of Shared Services at Tarmac, “All reconciliations were completed manually, and different business practices were used across the business. As a result, we had little control overreconciliation quality, and there was considerable variability in the quality of evidence to support reconciliationsand journals.”
A reliance on spreadsheets to track tasks and completions was also problematic, especially as the SSC operated across four business units in the United Kingdom. “We kept track of whether or not reconciliations had been done using a spreadsheet, so we had little to no visibility over the status of reconciliations except at the end of the month. This also meant we had no insight into risks or opportunities in the balance sheet.”
In step with Under Armour’s mission of relentlessly pursuing innovation, over the last two years the company has acquired several new mobile app businesses and aptly named this market “Connected Fitness.” For Boyle, these businesses — MapMyFitness (acquired in December 2013), MyFitnessPal and Endomondo (brought on in the first quarter of 2015), and Under Armour’s own app, UA Record — represent not only a new reportable segment, but also three new company codes that operate on completely different non-SAP ERP systems and need to be incorporated into the company’s monthly close process. Using BlackLine, the company has been able to gain visibility into account balances and important information regarding the newly acquired entities. “BlackLine has been really useful in terms of gaining quick visibility into the ending balances in each of the accounts, giving our leadership a chance to review transactional details and key account balances without having full integration of those other ERP systems,” says Boyle. “That will continue to evolve as we go forward.”
Goals: Adopt a less manual and more scalable approach to monthly account reconciliations and book closing processes, as well as journal-entry retention, support, and review
Strategy: Implemented a scalable, automated, cloud-based solution for account reconciliations, journal entry, and financial tasks that integrates with SAP ERP and delivers push-button reporting and real-time access to data
Outcome: Shaved days of work off the desks of Under Armour’s accounting employees, who are now able to spend more of their time analyzing balances, reviewing results, and ensuring relevance and accuracy, rather than monitoring completeness and executing administrative tasks