Cascades improves effectiveness with Wdesk

Financial reporting teams know filing reports with one regulatory body is hard enough. But filing reports with two regulatory agencies-in two different languages is arduous.

Updating data. Managing edits. Producing quarterly reports, annual filings, press releases, and the annual information form. Financial reporting teams know that filing compliance reports with one regulatory body is hard enough. But what about having to file those reports with two regulatory agencies-in two different languages? Then you have a really tough job.

As the reporting financial analyst at Cascades Inc. in Kingsey Falls, Quebec, Canada, Jean-Francois Carle is a key player in handling compliance reporting for the company, which produces packaging and tissue products mainly from recycled fiber.

Wdesk is the best of two worlds—you save cost and you save time while being even more efficient.

— Jean-Francois Carle, Reporting Financial Analyst

An unsustainable method

Until recently, Cascades financial reporting team used the standard report development process involving word processing software and spreadsheets to create two sets of reports. They produce one set in English for the SEC, and two sets, in French and English, for the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR), Canada’s electronic filing system for public companies.

The system worked, but not well. Version control was a problem, and document sharing wasn’t an option. When a few employees wanted to work on the document at the same time, it wasn’t possible, says Carle. That created delays and frustration-and it created a risk of errors, too. And when the data was complete, Carle had to send the reports to a graphic design firm for formatting, which required other rounds of time-consuming proofing when the reports were returned.

When the Cascades team began searching for better options, it found solutions that either wouldn’t improve the company’s process or were too expensive. But when the Cascades financial reporting team saw Wdesk, it recognized the platform's potential right away. “When we saw Wdesk, it was obvious that it would help us a lot during crunch time—and that’s just what it does!”

A greener option

Carle first filed using Wdesk during the third quarter of 2013, but he also created the reports using his old process just in case. “We did it just to feel comfortable,” explains Carle. “Wdesk worked very well, and we didn’t have any issues. So we had no problem moving forward with our annual report, which is the biggest reporting process of the year.”

Workiva is now a key player in our reporting process, and the help from its support team is just great.

— Francois Fillion, Corporate Controller

With Wdesk fully integrated into Cascades’ reporting process, Carle uses the solution to create reports in English first. Once they’re complete, Wdesk handles formatting changes like replacing numeric decimal points with commas, the standard in French Canada. Carle doesn’t need to spend time checking data because he uses links from his workbook, which he knows is up to date. “I’m sure of the integrity of the numbers. I don’t have to be concerned about that.”

A team player

Now the Cascades team can work together on the reporting process. It’s really more convenient in terms of having several people working on it during crunch time, explains Carle. And there’s less frustration because we all have the updated version.

The edit and review process has been streamlined too. The comments and comparison features allow me to know at any point in time what’s outstanding and what has changed since the last version I’ve looked at, says Corporate Controller Francois Fillion. Even the Cascades CFO has noticed the difference and says the Wdesk process is much better.

Carle estimates that by using Wdesk, the team has reduced report development time by approximately one-third. And there’s plenty of work to be done with the time saved. “Now we can spend more time on analysis, instead of always checking numbers and formatting changes,” notes Carle. “We can take care of what’s more important. And we can even go home earlier sometimes!”

That’s just the start of the savings. Cascades has also reduced its annual reporting costs. "Wdesk is the best of two worlds—you save cost and you save time while being even more efficient.” says Carle.

Service à la clientèle supérieur

When he has a question about Wdesk, Carle reaches out to his Workiva Customer Success Manager. While he’s fluent in English, French is Carle’s first language. Fortunately, his Workiva Customer Success Manager speaks French—one of seven languages in which the Workiva customer service team can create documents (others are English, Spanish, Portuguese, Danish, Swedish, and German). “To have our service representative speak French is easier for me,” says Carle, “It’s a great asset that Workiva has.”

Fillion agrees, saying the company’s approach to service sets it apart. “Workiva is a now a key player in our reporting process, and the help from its support team is just great.”

Beyond saving time, money, and hassle, Carle says Workiva has saved Cascades something else that’s important to the company—paper. “With Wdesk we print fewer documents because it’s all online.” That aligns perfectly with Cascades’ corporate philosophy of improving the environment, saving water, recycling, and reducing its operating costs. “At Cascades, it’s our mentality to improve things—and that’s the mentality of Workiva as well.”

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