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AES Connects Global Teams for SOX Compliance, Internal Audit

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Disconnected Challenges

  • The team started using Wdesk for financial reporting
  • After the first quarter, it began to implement Wdesk for investor relations materials, proxy statements, and HR metrics
  • Live-linking ensures consistency across information in Qs, Ks, and presentations

Connected Results

  • The team started using Wdesk for financial reporting
  • After the first quarter, it began to implement Wdesk for investor relations materials, proxy statements, and HR metrics
  • Live-linking ensures consistency across information in Qs, Ks, and presentations

Solutions

SEC Reporting, Management Reporting, Financial Reporting

Industries

Energy and Utilities

With team members and contributors worldwide, Paula Oliveira Moreira of The AES Corporation is always looking for better ways to keep her team connected, on task, and working toward the same goals. 

Paula is Internal Audit and SOX Compliance Director for the Fortune 500 power company, which provides energy in 14 countries around the world. The software AES initially chose for Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) compliance and internal audit wasn’t making Paula's job easy. It performed poorly, wasn't easy to change when AES wanted to update and improve its processes, and the customer service was lacking. 

Paula knew the AES controllership team had improved their processes using Workiva for SEC reporting, so she included the connected reporting and compliance company among the vendors she explored. 

Workiva stood out. 

“It was very easy to use, and I was impressed with it,” says Paula. The transition to the Workiva solution for SOX compliance was “very easy” compared to the several on-site trainings required for the previous software, she said. It took only two training sessions to get the AES team up to speed with Workiva. 

When they have questions, their Workiva Customer Success Manager is standing by. “I really like their customer service. They’re very responsive,” comments Paula. 

Unifying SOX and audit data

It wasn’t long before Paula saw the synergy in using Workiva for internal audit management, too. 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,” says 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 more documents consolidated in one platform streamlines reviews and is a major time-saver. 

Our stakeholders are particularly happy with the new approach. “They’ve found this process extremely easy and friendly instead of exchanging emails,” comments Paula. 

It’s more transparent, too. Workiva enabled AES to customize live dashboards to show the status of testing by tester and location. “It’s visual, so they can see where they are compared to other locations,” Paula explains. The dashboards make it easy to identify deficiencies for management and indicate remediation status. 

Workiva also eliminated the internal audit team’s cumbersome PBC request process. Previously, they would send dozens of emails to team members around the world and then sift through email chains for the information they needed. Now, control owners upload PBC requests and evidence directly into Workiva.

Turning efficiencies into new opportunities

With more efficient processes in place, especially for SOX, 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. 

For example, the team contributed to a project to review and leverage best practices from its offices around the world to craft a global commercial policy. Before implementing Workiva, Paula's team could only manage one advisory project a year. This year, they completed two. Next year the goal is three. 

AES is connecting more than SEC, SOX, and internal audit reporting with Workiva. They also use Workiva for ERM, board reporting, investor relations, financial close, and global statutory reporting. “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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