Prior to Tarmac’s acquisition by CRH in 2015, the business had been reviewing its approach to balance sheet reconciliations and month-end management. The acquisition prompted a delay whilst the new owners took over responsibility and it also prompted a plan for a migration to a single ERP and implementation of Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. The combination of these factors created the perfect opportunity to transform control and compliance issues with new technology. “We wanted technology that would create an accurate and controlled month-end process,” said Parris. “At a minimum, we wanted balance sheet reconciliations, journals, and monthend task management. Ideally, we would also have access to analytics, dashboards, and alerts.”
BlackLine’s financial controls and automation platform met all of Tarmac’s criteria, including the company’s need for a system that would integrate multiple ERPs and function solely in the cloud. To ensure a smooth rollout, the company named a part-time project manager and a full-time business lead to spearhead Project MERIT—Month End Reconciliation and Internal Control at Tarmac. With Project MERIT, BlackLine was rolled out over seven months, in three phases, to accommodate the company’s c6,800 GL accounts and five ERPs. Sponsored by Parris, the project has been highly successful, integrating best practice change and project management with best of breed technology.
Project MERIT was designed to not only streamline implementation but to gain the early buy-in of users. Many organizations, when implementing new systems focus on the technology, with Tarmac’s implementation of BlackLine, there was a clear focus on all three aspects of process, technology, and people. “We wanted to ensure this project focused on all three,” said Parris. “We impact assessed systems and people to ensure minimal disruption. We created a communication program and followed a standard change methodology to create the vision and sustain buy-in.”