Four Oaks Bank Cashes in with Wdesk

Incredibly stressful. That’s Grace Walter’s description of the months when she was in charge of manually assembling her company’s SEC reports. She recounts the hours spent typing numbers into tables and trying to make columns align, and remembers resorting to using a calculator to ensure everything footed. “I was so behind and I just couldn’t catch up,” says Walter. “It put a lot of strain on my family life. I don’t even know how I made it through those months.”

As the Financial Accounting and Reporting Supervisor at Four Oaks Bank and Trust Company in Four Oaks, North Carolina, Walter is in charge of many financial reporting functions, including SEC reporting. She has one full-time employee and a temporary assistant on her team. Besides her full-time job, Walter has a family and is also a full-time student working toward earning her CPA.

The weak economy made her job even tougher. “What really made things difficult was the financial collapse of 2008 and the additional financial reporting requirements that came after,” she says. “Banking disclosures got larger and larger, and then we had to start XBRL tagging.”

At the time, Walter was working with a printer that formatted and filed the bank’s SEC reports. “When they said they needed between two and three weeks to do the XBRL tagging, I thought ‘There’s just not enough time in the world for us to do that,’” she says. She knew Four Oaks couldn’t work with those constraints, but she didn’t have much time to seek out a better solution.

Fortunately, one found her. In the summer of 2011, Four Oaks’ CFO passed along an offer for a demo from Workiva. “Originally, I was skeptical,” says Walter.

I like technology that works for me, rather than me working for the technology.

— Grace Walter, Financial Accounting and Reporting Supervisor, Four Oaks Bank

Walter quickly recognized that Wdesk was technology that would work for her—and work really well. “As soon as I saw Wdesk I knew it was exactly what I was trying to get my old word processing software and spreadsheets to do.”

She already had a quote from her previous printer for doing only year two XBRL tagging, and the amount was substantially higher than her cost to implement Wdesk—which included SEC report developing, filing, and XBRL tagging. That helped sell Four Oaks’ Board of Directors on the value of Wdesk.

No More XBRL Anxiety

Four Oaks had Wdesk up and running in the fall of 2011. The XBRL tagging, which had caused Walter such anxiety, was one of the first things she tackled. Using Workiva online resources and taking advantage of one-on-one time with her Workiva Customer Success Manager, Walter handled the first round of XBRL tagging on her own. “The solution was very easy to use. It was intuitive,” she says.

Walter turned year two tagging over to the Workiva team because she was running the department solo at the time and needed the extra support. “Workiva was very responsive,” she says. “We even made a change the day before filing and our Customer Success Manager stayed with me right up until the end.”

Technology that Really Works

From day one, Wdesk has proved that it is technology that works for Walter. The linking function, which syncs data and text changes throughout documents and workbooks, is especially important because the bank must cite the same information multiple times in every document. “In the past, if we had to make a last-minute change, it was frustrating because we had to go back and read the entire document to make sure we caught every change,” she explains. “With Wdesk linking, we only have to do it once.”

With Wdesk I have control. I can make a change, verify it, and know it's done correctly.

— Grace Walter, Financial Accounting and Reporting Supervisor, Four Oaks Bank

Four Oaks is also using Wdesk to improve and streamline the CFO’s monthly board reports. In the past, the CFO would wade through the document and make notes in the margins. Now Walter uses Wdesk workbooks that are linked to the current reports to generate documents for the board reports. “Most of the analysis is already done and we can print everything right off of Wdesk.” The solution makes life easier for the CFO and makes Walter look good. “My CFO knows that Wdesk makes me more productive, and that makes her happy,” says Walter.

Streamlining processes, producing higher quality reports, and saving money are all major benefits of Wdesk. But for Walter the biggest plus is how the application has improved her quality of life. In the past Walter would work 75 hours of overtime during the three weeks leading up to the end of the quarter, now she has shaved over 60 hours of overtime off her schedule. With the Wdesk platform working hard for her, Grace Walter is able to spend more time with family, pursue her professional goals, and look forward to an even brighter future.

I can't imagine not using Wdesk. I'm sure anyone would be hooked on it from the first demo.

— Grace Walter, Financial Accounting and Reporting Supervisor, Four Oaks Bank

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