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The Foundations of Trust: Recapping Amplify 2020

Workiva Amplify
Amplify 2020
7 min read
Published: September 17, 2020
Last Updated: August 8, 2023

If you missed out on Workiva Amplify, you missed out on a lot.

(But we can get you up to speed quick—keep reading!)

In our first-ever all-virtual Workiva conference, we welcomed 6,025 accounting, finance, and compliance professionals from across the globe. Attendees tuned into 30+ sessions dedicated to building trust and transforming work through connected reporting and compliance.

We wish we could have seen your smiling in faces in person, but—silver lining!—going virtual meant you could find a great seat from anywhere, while unashamedly wearing sweatpants throughout the whole event.

In case you missed Workiva Amplify, keep reading below for a sampling of the high points from Workiva Amplify.

Mind-blowing keynote speakers

Attendees heard powerful stories and perspectives from industry leaders, TED Talk alums, bestselling authors, and more—here's a few who were in the spotlight:

Marty Vanderploeg

Entire careers, companies, and economies are built on trust. In his keynote speech, Workiva CEO Marty Vanderploeg shared how the Workiva platform can build trust in your data and how that trust can run over to everything your company does—from the work you perform every day to the brave decisions that drive your organization.

"We’re witnessing a re-engineering of the way businesses get work done. This fundamental shift demands a tech-led, data-driven approach," he said. "Because increased demand for trustworthy, transparent data from investors, regulators, and other key stakeholders doesn’t stop or slow down due to a crisis."

Workiva CEO Marty Vanderploeg


Rachel Botsman, Carla Harris, and Penny Ashley-Lawrence

One huge highlight of the conference was a panel discussion between a few experts on trust:

  • Rachel Botsman, Oxford University's first Trust Fellow and best-selling author of "Who Can You Trust?" and "What’s Mine is Yours"
  • Carla Harris, Vice Chairman of Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley
  • Penny Ashley-Lawrence, Vice President of Customer Success at Workiva

Kicking off the conversation, Rachel explained that trust is a lot like energy—"it doesn't go away, it just shifts." In a world that has increasingly less trust in institutions and politicians, it may seem like trust is eroding or in decline, but it's just changing form, she argues.

Carla sees trust as fundamental to her work, as each day, entrepreneurs hope investors will put trust in their ideas, their work ethics, and their products. "Trust is earned by delivering over and over," she said, "I need to be sure that management team will deliver on what they have promised."

Trust conversation panelists


Real-life stories from real-life Workiva users

You asked and we listened: we handed the mic over to our customers at Amplify this year to let them share their stories. It's one thing to hear from us, but entirely another to hear from real customers from real companies that really use Workiva—and have seen phenomenal results.

Keri Tracy, Director of Global Internal Controls at Newell Brands, shared her story of making an impact on her organization with Workiva, and how the platform helped her make strides in her career.

"As you standardize process using Workiva—whether it's your SOX workspace or your SEC Reporting workspace or in our case, our inventory workspace—the data that you can collect and analyze helps to inform business decisions. I think the more exposure you get to that data and being able to help to inform business decisions, the better your career can be," Keri said.

Angela DeVito, Executive Director and Head of Global Business Control at Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS), shared her story of expanding Workiva across multiple functions in her organization—Workiva for SOX Compliance, Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), and statutory reporting.

“We’re not getting bogged down by documentation. We’re able to focus on risks, which is what I want my team to be most focused on—following the risk," she said. “Less time using spreadsheets together and doing documentation, and more time assessing and managing risk is what I want to see.”

Event presentation slide titled "Using Workiva - The Journey Thus Far"


Seeing inside the next generation of Workiva

If you haven't made the switch to the next generation of the Workiva platform, you're missing out. Maybe you just haven't seen the full capabilities of what it can do for your team.

In her session "Next Level with Next Generation," Workiva Product Manager Ruby Blau showcased the impressive new features of the platform. Plus, she offered pointers on creating more connected and more automated spreadsheets, designing pixel-perfect charts and slides with Presentations, and creating compelling content with Documents.

Workiva spreadsheet example

Christie Kozlik, Director of Shareholder Reporting at Allstate, dished with Matt Crawford, Senior Director of Product Marketing, about the benefits of upgrading and expanding with Workiva—in their case, using workspaces and groups.

"Workspaces and groups have been great because they're super easy to use," said Christie. "Like everybody in the world we live in, our data has to be secure. It has to be correct. So if I haven't given you access to any workspace that really matters, you're going to open a screen that shows you have absolutely nothing to go to."

All that adds up to incredible, never-before-seen security for the team at Allstate.

FERC: An electrifying addition to Amplify

For the energy industry, it's out with the old and in with the new. An upcoming XBRL mandate is forcing FERC filers to prepare for new filing processes. Workiva is right there to help.

Workiva for FERC Reporting can provide your energy utility with streamlined reporting, automated review, controlled collaboration, and pre-tagged templates—all the stuff you need to hit that mandate well ahead of time. 

In one session, "Let's Be Frank About FERC: Real Conversations with Energy Companies," Workiva Solution Engineer Corie Bowers brought together Sinnard Scott, Senior Accountant for Exelon, and Kat Meadows, Financial Reporting Director for Ameren, to share tips and tricks from other FERC reporting teams and how they are preparing their teams, data, and systems.

According to Sinnard, “Being able to use Workiva to complete our filings is going to make our entire process much more efficient than what it has been in the past."

Presentation slide for session named "Let's Be Frank About FERC: Real Conversations with Energy Companies"


Bienvenidos and bonjour to Workiva Amplify international attendees

With three events across three time zones, Amplify 2020 was also our first-ever global event! We welcomed industry professionals from Europe, Asia, and Australia with specific educational tracks targeted to the needs of these users.

The global statutory reporting sessions covered navigating the complexities of reporting for organizations with a variety of locations, jurisdictions, and industries. 

In one, heavy hitters from Chartered Accountants Ireland, Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) discussed the latest in international developments in accounting and finance—including the use of the cloud for critical documentation. 

"Cloud makes the work of an accountant actually more fun. We didn’t join the accounting community to do data entry or chase the business for information. We joined to deliver value to the business and explain the story behind the figures to drive growth," said Alain Mulder, Senior Director of Europe Operations at the IMA. "Cloud computing makes this all possible."

List of emerging trends in international accounting


Virtual Expo Hall, personal connections

No convention center? No problem. This year's Amplify Expo Hall featured over 20 virtual booths where attendees were able to visit with partners, sponsors, and Workiva product experts. These off-the-cuff video and text chats were a great place to connect—or reconnect—while getting those tough questions answered or throwing around some new ideas.

And, we wouldn't have been able to deliver all this content or get that one-on-one time with each of you without the help of our sponsors, including BlackLine, Broadridge, Deloitte, FloQast, KPMG, Planful, the SEC and SOX Professionals Groups, and others!

Get access now to all the on-demand sessions

Amplify 2020 was one for the books. The event streamed top-of-the-line trust-building sessions from industry leaders and Workiva experts with more than a healthy handful of fun in the mix.

Amplify 2021 will be here soon enough, plus numerous other events and webinars are scheduled throughout the year. Be sure to follow Workiva on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook to stay up to date.

See you next year!

Amplify is back and better than ever! Join us in Nashville Sept. 19-21 for 60+ sessions, 13 CPE credits, live entertainment, and inspiring keynotes from Indra Nooyi and Reese Witherspoon. Register now. 

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