The so called ‘Final Mile’ of the financial reporting supply chain is, as the name suggests, the last stage in the preparation of filing results and reporting to external and internal stakeholders. Compiling the complex web of figures, notes and disclosures required to maintain regulatory integrity, or even to assemble the internal board pack, is a necessary but time-consuming process for any company. In fact, a 2016 study, (the FSN Future of the Finance Function) highlighted that 42% of global finance professionals considered that they spent too much time on statutory reporting, and 32% complained that they spent too much time on regulatory reporting.
The creation, review and validation of these reports is often a risk-laden set of manual and disjointed processes within the corporate finance function, due to an over-dependency on personal productivity tools such as Microsoft Excel and e-mail.
Both are unsuited to an environment which requires collaboration, communication and control, especially when that environment spans the numerous financial reports and disclosures created across the modern finance function. As the finance function has evolved from its traditional role grounded in financial stewardship to a more strategic and advisory one, reports must be tracked, shared, analyzed and delivered across even more business functions and stakeholders. But finance functions accustomed to marshaling numbers through the reporting supply chain (from subsidiary and reporting entity to the corporate center) feel less at ease with documents and narrative.
A decade ago, the founders of Workiva recognized this intrinsically complex problem and set about creating a software solution from which to manage the disclosure process. In 2010, they launched their solution in the cloud, choosing to innovate on a platform that was still relatively new, and often mistrusted and misunderstood. It turned out to be a prescient decision, as Wdesk, the core compliance reporting and management solution from Workiva is now used by 70% of the Fortune 500.
Their innovation is validated every time regulatory strictures are placed on organizations around the world. Not least of these is the reporting requirements of XBRL, the standardized method of organizing and tagging data that underlines the electronic filing of financial statements. The constant revision of regulatory requirements and the shrinking window between close and report publication has wedged disclosure management into a critical corner, one which Workiva is particularly adept at relieving.
Wdesk is designed to tackle the issue of document preparation by providing a secure environment in which multiple participants with different roles and responsibilities across many different functions can collaborate to assemble complex outputs and filings. Their centralized environment maintains the security of sensitive data and implicitly promotes accuracy by eliminating many of the error-prone processes of old.
In this showcase, we highlight three major Workiva innovations, namely: how it leverages the cloud to support collaborative reporting; the way it enables a single reporting repository; and finally, how the Workiva environment can be used as a platform for wider finance transformation.
Download the Workiva Innovation Showcase following the link below: