Workiva for SOX Compliance and Internal Audit: Almost as Perfect as PB&J
Some things are better together: peanut butter and jelly, movies and popcorn, macaroni and cheese, cookies and milk. (Can you tell that it's almost time for lunch?)
In the world of risk, there are two teams that are at their best when they’re working together: SOX and internal audit. Their jobs are different, but they share so much of the same data, like definitions of financial risks, related controls, and findings presented to their organization.
This is where Workiva comes in. With the Workiva platform, you can create a single source of truth to share what you need—and only what you need—across SOX and audit teams. That way, they can rely on a single source of defined risk and share one repository of workpapers to use in testing, for example. In turn, there's less duplicative work and more confidence in financial risk management.
Read on to see how three companies' SOX and audit teams are using Workiva to collaborate seamlessly—making each other stronger.
Let’s start with SmileDirectClub, where David Gamble is Director of Risk and Advisory Services. As one of the first Workiva SOX solution customers, he saw the power of the cloud platform to enable remote work, produce major savings, and ease management's concerns.
Specifically, Workiva has connected SmileDirectClub’s teams. SOX and audit teams are using the Workiva platform as a single source of truth for pulling data and for creating and linking spreadsheets, documents, and presentations, all within a single application.
“It's easy to add a footnote to the testing documentation, and then it's easy to put that into the audit report,” said David. “They find themselves doing things just because it's easy. There's no doubt that their satisfaction would've been much less if we had tried to do all that in Excel and Word and PowerPoint.”
These two teams are no longer siloed. In return, David’s team found themselves being much more engaged, thorough, and detailed in their work. That's because the Workiva platform is simple to use, integrated into their workflows, and around for the long haul.
“I'm telling you,” said David, “I don't think Workiva has a peer as far as breadth of vision and technology and track record.”
Before Workiva, the internal audit team at ZAGG would manually enter information in documents and charts for three regions across the globe, (which included 55 control owners and over 450 controls—yikes!).
"We had no time to do anything else besides SOX auditing. We'd always talk about doing operational audits and significant process improvements, but with all the manual documentation, there wasn't any time," said McKay Bates, Internal Audit Manager.
ZAGG set out to find a solution that could boost productivity. Teams were sold on Workiva when they learned about the platform’s linking functionality, which allows users to make updates that automatically ripple across all connected files.
With multiple teams using the same platform, they have found unparalleled connectivity between teams, not to mention better productivity. When both teams use the same tools, said McKay, data can be easily used throughout the company. And, when that data changes, there is no reformatting of major documents and presentations—all information is effortlessly updated across teams.
They have also improved collaboration with external auditors through Workiva’s flexible permissions. As a result, ZAGG has dramatically transformed the way they work with their external audit team.
"We increased external audit's reliance by nearly 70%," said McKay. "It was significant, and that was 100% because of the ease of access with Workiva. This has created considerable savings in our external audit fees."
Before SOX and audit teams at AES became Workiva users, the organization’s controllership team had already been improving their processes via Workiva for SEC reporting. Paula Oliveira Moreira, Internal Audit and SOX Compliance Director, was on the hunt for a solution that could keep her team connected and working toward the same goals. She heard about the controllership team’s success with the platform and gave it a shot.
It wasn’t long before Paula saw the benefits in using the Workiva solutions for internal audit management and SOX compliance. Both teams can link data across projects, which maintains consistency across all workpapers, reports, and spreadsheets.
“Workiva connects everybody well and helps them communicate, review, and do all of their activities in one system,” said Paula. “All the information is now in the system, not in our team’s computers. It’s in a safe place.”
Having all SOX test forms, reports, and documents in one platform saves time and streamlines reviews.
Synergy between these teams creates efficiencies and new opportunities. For example, Paula and her team have more bandwidth to take on advisory projects requested by management. “Workiva saves a lot of time for me to do other things and think more on the strategy,” she says.
Before implementing Workiva, Paula's team could only manage one advisory project a year. They completed two the year Workiva was implemented.
AES continues to expand their use of the platform and reap its benefits. “We’re trying to use the system as much as we can to save time and have more time to do other things,” says Paula.
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