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 presenting reports 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 process for any company. But, it is not easy.
Last year’s Future of Financial Reporting survey from FSN found that almost all (97%) senior finance executives lose sleep over their reporting processes, and that 90% worry about at least two financial reporting concerns. In some cases, the worries were actually part of a larger pool of misgivings and process failures indicative of a malaise in their entire financial reporting system.
It is clear that 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 unsecure channels such as email. According to the survey, 71% of organizations depend on spreadsheets for collecting data across the majority of their business units.
Both Excel and email are unsuited to an environment that 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 position, reports must be tracked, shared, analyzed and delivered across even more business functions and stakeholders. But finance functions accustomed to marshalling numbers through the reporting supply chain (from subsidiary and reporting entity to the corporate center) feel less at ease with the accuracy of resulting documents, narrative and other outputs.
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 early on. It turned out to be a prescient decision, as the Workiva platform ushered in a new era of connected reporting and which is now used by 75% of Fortune 500® companies.
Workiva 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 financial close and report publication has wedged disclosure management into a critical corner, one which Workiva is particularly adept at relieving.
Workiva solutions are 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. The centralized environment maintains the security of sensitive data and implicitly promotes accuracy by eliminating many of the error-prone processes of old. Data is linked throughout the Workiva connected reporting platform with a full audit trail into origin, destination and edits, providing data assurance and integrity. Finance chiefs haunted by nightmares of presenting inaccurate or outdated numbers can rest easier knowing figures are consistent from statement to statement.
In this innovation 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 into which finance can import all relevant data; and finally, how the Workiva environment can be used as a platform for connected reporting and wider finance transformation.
Download the Workiva Innovation Showcase following the link below: