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Congratulations to the GRC 20/20 2023 Best in Class Award Winners

Financial Reporting
Internal Controls
Congratulations to the GRC 20/20 Best in Class Award Winners: Cognizant, Newell Brands, Southwest Airlines, and The Wendy's Company
6 min read
Published: July 31, 2023
Last Updated: July 31, 2023

At Workiva, we have the pleasure of working with some of the most innovative companies in the world—always looking to push the bar and drive growth and long-term success.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that four of our amazing customers have won GRC 20/20 2023 Best in Class Awards for their stand-out achievements in the areas of Internal Control Management, Audit Management & Analytics, ESG Management, and Finance GRC Management.

Congratulations to Newell Brands, The Wendy’s Company, Cognizant, and Southwest Airlines for being recognized as 2023 Best in Class Award winners! We’re honored these companies have chosen Workiva to help accelerate collaboration, improve transparency, and drive transformational change. Learn more about their cutting-edge approaches to audit and control processes, ESG reporting, and finance GRC. 

That’s exactly what Newell Brands has accomplished by taking an agile, streamlined approach to internal controls across the enterprise. Newell has been recognized as the winner of Best in Class Internal Control Management because of how the team turned their challenges into opportunities, improving efficiency and effectiveness across their entire internal controls program.

By examining their internal controls program and identifying ways they could level up their strategy, the Newell team determined that evolving their use of technology would help them reach their goals. Since implementing a GRC platform, the team has seen significant time savings across many processes. For example, during the first full year of implementation, they saved approximately three weeks of time in their testing with the same scope and team size as the year before.

In addition to creating an effective internal controls program, Newell was recognized for the team’s unique approach to collaboration and shared accountability in reporting to leadership. First, Newell does cross-training between its IT testing and manual SOX testing. Because the internal controls team partners with many business units, this ensures they can stay on track with their testing when someone is out or on extended leave. Additionally, many team members are actively involved in presenting to leadership, which helps them increase visibility, build stronger relationships, and drive strategic discussions. 

Learn more about Newell’s award here.

To address an ever-changing business environment, internal audit needs to have a broad view of what’s happening across the organization. By taking a fully integrated approach to internal audit management, businesses can more easily tackle the challenges of assurance in today’s world.

The Wendy’s Company has embraced this approach for its audit management and analytics strategy, pushing the bar to improve processes, increase collaboration across the business, and deliver fast, valuable insights to leadership. All of this is why Wendy’s was recognized for Best in Class Audit Management & Analytics.

To improve their processes, the internal audit team first performed a comprehensive risk assessment to refresh their audit scope and current workflows. They determined they could benefit from technology to help them drive efficiency across several processes. Using a GRC platform for audit management and SOX compliance, they’ve been able to automate repetitive tasks, streamline collaboration, and drive real-time, better insights with built-in analytics.

With increased efficiencies, the internal audit team has gained time back that they can now spend on additional operational assessments and advisory projects as well as be able to support the business in addressing risks and consulting on controls. The team has also fostered a collaborative environment with their SEC reporting team, who uses the same platform for their work. By sharing their knowledge and tools within the SOX compliance module, both departments have been able to optimize results.

Learn more about Wendy’s award here.

Increasing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) demands from a broad range of stakeholders—regulatory agencies, investors, employees, and activists—are placing even more pressure on organizations. Even as global standards and regulations like the CSRD are being finalized, the ESG landscape continues to evolve, making it challenging for organizations to know how to start or mature an ESG program.

Ensuring key stakeholders and management have the information they need to understand, create, and align on ESG goals—and provide stakeholders with transparent, trustworthy ESG data—is critical. To achieve this, multiple departments need to come together to build robust processes and tackle the challenge of managing both structured and unstructured data.

Cognizant started their ESG journey with challenges similar to what many organizations experience when first building a program—distributed teams, siloed data, and manual processes. To transform their ESG reporting and deliver investor-grade data, they implemented technology to streamline data collection and collaboration. Since ESG impacts almost every single internal team as well as multiple external stakeholders, Cognizant went the extra mile to ensure they established an ESG strategy that took every single stakeholder into account. They transformed their ESG reporting process and were able to increase stakeholder engagement, build transparency, improve data and report quality, and provide richer, more detailed information with leadership and other stakeholders to enable better decision-making.

Cognizant was recognized for Best in Class ESG Management not only for how quickly they were able to build an effective, efficient ESG reporting program, but also for how quickly they became leaders in the space. They’ve won multiple awards for their ESG report and have spoken at several events to share tips and best practices. They are being celebrated for their commitment to providing accurate, reliable, transparent ESG reporting and for sharing that journey with the industry and their peers.

Learn more about Cognizant’s award here.

More data, more risks, more regulations—the ongoing and significant changes in today’s dynamic business environment translate to more challenges for accounting and finance teams. They face the pressure of balancing financial reporting, internal controls, SOX compliance, fraud, and so much more—all of which are interconnected. To manage the complexities of governance, risk, and compliance within the context of accounting and finance, companies need to take an integrated approach. Having full visibility into accounting and finance objectives, risks, and exposures across the business and its operations can help an organization mitigate or remediate risks quickly.

That’s why creating a finance GRC strategy to support a broad range of finance and accounting activities, and enable quick, strategic decision-making is crucial. The Southwest Airlines® team was recognized for Best in Class Finance GRC Management because of their achievements in process improvement, which has led to enhanced data integrity and improved collaboration. 

By using a modern platform that enabled real-time collaboration across distributed teams, they were able to save time and eliminate version control issues. They also transitioned from physical support binders to digital ones, providing management, external stakeholders, and all collaborators a single spot to access what they need at any time.

What truly makes Southwest Airlines’ story stand out is that the financial reporting team already had well-established processes in place that worked, but they wanted to make these processes even better. They’ve also created a beneficial partnership with their technology provider to ensure they are continuously sharing feedback and ideas to help shape the future of the product so they can leverage it to innovate and provide best-in-class financial reporting.

Learn more about Southwest Airlines' award here.

Congratulations to all the award winners! We’re proud to partner with organizations, teams, and individuals who are always looking to improve, innovate, and make a true impact in our world.

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