Farmer Brothers Coffee

One person handles SEC and financial reporting tasks for Farmer Bros. Co. To ease the process, the company needed a more powerful reporting solution that would streamline report development and filing, handle XBRL tagging efficiently, and could be used anywhere in the world.
  • SEC report filing from anywhere in the world
  • Cut four days from the quarterly filing process
  • Fast, easy-to-use online training
  • Top-notch customer service available anytime, anywhere

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Even though it was past midnight, it was still oppressively hot in the small room in India where Sowmya Rajan sat with her laptop. Rajan, Director of Financial Reporting for Farmer Bros. Co., a national coffee, tea, and culinary products company, was in India on family business, but she still had to meet her company’s SEC filing deadlines. With the company’s 8-K ready to file, she stayed up waiting for the U.S. stock markets to close so she could file the report. Weary from jet lag and the heat, Rajan fell asleep in front of her laptop. She woke up to find she had just five minutes to file the report before the deadline. A few keystrokes and Rajan sent the file directly to the SEC-with two minutes to spare.

“I’ll never forget that experience,” says Rajan. “It wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t have Wdesk.” The cloud-based external report development and filing platform puts formats and data at users’ fingertips, enables direct filing with the SEC, and most importantly for Rajan, works anywhere in the world.

Wdesk is an excellent platform. It is extremely useful and reduces the stress normally associated with the preparation of SEC filings.

— Sowmya Rajan, Director of Financial Reporting, Farmer Bros. Co.

Rajan signed on with Wdesk in 2012 after years of using a manual process to piece together reports and relying on an outside printer to handle EDGARizing and filing. She’s a one-person department and is solely responsible for SEC reporting as well as a host of other financial responsibilities at Farmer Bros. Co.

Like so many reporting professionals who use word processing and spreadsheet software to create SEC reports, Rajan was retyping endless numbers into tables, double and triple checking numbers throughout the document, marking up changes and emailing changed versions back and forth with the printer, and struggling for hours to format tables. “The process took a lot of my limited time, and there were numerous chances for errors,” she says. “When you spend so much time formatting and making sure there are no numbers that conflict, you end up spending less quality time reviewing the substance of the documents.”

When filing deadlines neared, her worries increased. “During crunch time, last-minute changes can be highly stressful,” she says. “You can try to avoid last-minute changes, but something always seems to happen at the last minute that causes changes in the reports,” she says.

A Powerful Partner

When she saw a Wdesk demonstration, Rajan was sold on the spot. It was the solution she’d been waiting for. Rajan previously worked at a company that created collaborative software for other organizations. She always asked the programmers to create software to make SEC filings easier for her. They never did. “But what I’ve found with Wdesk is far beyond anything I could have imagined then,” says Rajan.

Wdesk gives me more time to focus on the substance of the reports.

— Sowmya Rajan, Director of Financial Reporting, Farmer Bros. Co.

Now with Wdesk streamlining her report development and review process and automatically EDGARizing and filing reports with the SEC, Rajan is filing her quarterly reports up to four days early.

All of the mundane, time-consuming reporting tasks Rajan used to do-including double and triple checking numbers and formatting are handled by her new “coworker.” “I used to say I was a one-person department,” explains Rajan, “But ever since we got Wdesk, I’m no longer a one-person department. Wdesk is my partner.”

On Wdesk, tables are a cinch to format and they remain formatted; numbers are linked throughout the documents so when one changes, all associated data changes too. “Now I'm able to spend more quality time on the substance of the document. It's a huge plus,” says Rajan.

Keeping her management team in the loop and making edits are also easier with the Wdesk blackline function. “Before, I had to save versions and needed to be sure I was sending the right version to the right person,” says Rajan. “With the easy drag and drop blacklining feature on Wdesk, I can quickly create different blacklines to send to different reviewers and have one less thing to remember about what I sent to whom.”

XBRL Tagging and Training

The company’s switch to Wdesk coincided with the company’s need to start detailed XBRL tagging, so Rajan opted to use the Workiva XBRL tagging services. It was a decision that paid off twofold because while Workiva was doing the tagging, Rajan was also learning about the process using the comprehensive online help applications and videos available on the Workiva website.

She plans to be self-sufficient with XBRL tagging soon. As she learns, Rajan knows help is always a phone call or an email away. “Our Customer Success Manager is top-notch. She’s always there and always very helpful. And our XBRL Professional Services Manager is super, too. The service from Workiva is first class.”

Rajan is completely satisfied with her new business partner and recommends that all SEC reporting managers give Wdesk a try. “Once you see how painless, efficient, and effective the process is, you will not want to go back to the old way. I know how much time it has saved me and how much more confident I am in my filings. Anyone in my position would want to feel the same way.”

Having complete control over the process is a huge plus for me.

— Sowmya Rajan, Director of Financial Reporting, Farmer Bros. Co.

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