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25,500 Reasons Why It's Time to Revamp Your Reporting Process

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25,500 Reasons Why It's Time to Revamp Your Reporting Process
December 5, 2019

If I had a nickel for every time I've heard "our SEC reporting process takes too long," I'd have a swimming pool full of them.

Dissatisfaction with the entire financial reporting process has become a common theme across companies—especially the time it takes. If you've felt the same way, take solace in the fact it's not your fault. Ultimately, the tools teams use are at the root of the issue.

I've got a hypothesis that I'd like to prove for you.

If companies gave up those tools and spent just a little more time upfront evaluating their processes, they'd gain back an incredible amount of time, effort, and lost productivity.

Get out your TI-83, and sharpen your #2 pencil

Ladies and gentlemen, let's get mathematical.

From years of financial reporting experience, publicly available information from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and some simple math, I can draw a rough outline of how much real-life Workiva customers saved by ditching their old tools.

Of course, we don't know exactly what's going on behind the scenes at the companies I’m about to show you, but I’ve seen enough of the good and bad to know that bad tools lead to bad processes.

Each of the following three companies chose Workiva to trim time from their financial reporting and compliance processes. And, in doing away with their clunky, time-sucking processes, they saved monumental amounts of time and money.

Let me show you what I mean.

Example 1: ZAGG

ZAGG Inc. is an industry leader in mobile device enhancements and accessories.

Problem: With a small team of internal auditors, ZAGG needed to find ways to save time, collaborate quickly, and deliver trusted reporting.

Solution: ZAGG chose Workiva to automate the most tedious parts of their SOX compliance, which finally gave them time to initiate other process improvements and conduct operational audits.

After using Workiva: McKay Bates, the Internal Audit Manager for ZAGG, said “the ability to update a control in one spot and have that flow to different documentation has saved us months of time every year.”

The math: Using the Bureau of Labor Statistics' mean compensation for auditors, and an average of three audit professionals per team, we can draw the following conclusion:

compensation per month

                Mean salary of $77,920 + 31.4% average cost of benefits = $102,387 yearly compensation per team member
                $102,387 x 3 team members = $307,161 yearly compensation per team
                $307,161 / 12 months per year = $25,597 team compensation per month

With Workiva, the company was able to save more than $25,500—and that's just for one month.

Example 2: American Equity

American Equity Investment Life Holding Company is a full-service underwriter of a range of fixed annuity and life insurance products.

Problem: American Equity’s SEC reporting manager believes in making life easier through technology. He knew the SEC reporting process American Equity used to file was more tedious, time-consuming, redundant, and painful than what it needed to be, but he wasn’t aware of a better way.

After using Workiva: American Equity was able to file their 10-Q eight days early, and their 10-K 14 days early.

The math: Assuming that mean salary and three reporting professionals per team, we can conclude:

10K/10Q process

                Mean salary of $77,920 + 31.4% average cost of benefits = $102,387 yearly compensation per team member
                $102,387 x 3 team members = $307,161 yearly compensation per team
                $307,161 / 365 = $842 team compensation per day
                $842 x 8 saved days from the 10-Q process = $6,736 team compensation savings
                and
                $842 x 14 saved days from the 10-K process = $11,788

With Workiva, the company was able to save a total of $18,524 in one year—nearly one-fourth of the output of an existing team member.

Example 3: Nautilus

Headquartered in Vancouver, Wash., Nautilus, Inc. is a global fitness products company providing innovative, quality solutions to help people achieve a healthy lifestyle.

Problem: On the advice of an SEC reporting consultant, Nautilus switched from using Workiva for SEC reporting to a competing service from a traditional printer. The transition was rough, and the filing didn’t go smoothly.

After using Workiva: The team saved more than a week of time from the report development process.

The math: Assuming that mean salary and three reporting professionals per team, we can conclude:

$5894 in one week

                Mean salary of $77,920 + 31.4% average cost of benefits = $102,387 yearly compensation per team member
                $102,387 x 3 team members = $307,161 yearly compensation per team
                $307,160 / 365 = $842 team compensation per day
                $842 x 7 days of saved time = $5,894

With Workiva, the company was able to save a total of $5,894 for just that week.

The old way of doing things is going to cost you

As I mentioned before, every company is different, and these are just examples. But they are examples of the difference that the right tools can make in your reporting processes.

But, the point remains: the longer you stick with the ill-fitting financial reporting tools—the things you're already dissatisfied with—the more it's going to cost you. (And, we didn't even get into how Workiva keeps your data secure and turbocharges confidence in your work.)

By connecting your reporting and compliance—bringing together all of your critical financial teams on the same platform—you can save time and effort, and unlock the true potential of your team.

For more on connected reporting and compliance and what it means to your organization, take a deep dive into our exhaustive, actionable guide.

And, to see how much Workiva can do for your team today, schedule your demo.

(By the way, if you read to the end of this article, it should have taken you around 4 minutes. Using that same math, that's about $0.19 worth of productivity. Clock's ticking!)

Steve Soter
Senior Director of Product Marketing
Workiva

About the Author

Steve is Senior Director of Product Marketing and Accounting Industry Principal at Workiva. Previously, Steve served as an accounting leader in multiple roles including Vice President and Controller for Backcountry.com, a private equity owned, online retailer of outdoor products, and as the Director of SEC Reporting for Overstock.com (NASDAQ: OSTK), a $2 billion revenue, online retailer of home goods and blockchain technology company. His experience includes multiple acquisitions, debt offerings, an IPO, and the world’s first digital debt and equity offering (by Overstock). Steve is also a former member of the US XBRL Data Quality Committee.

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