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Going Paperless for Sarbanes-Oxley

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  • When the company went public, it filed SEC documents through a traditional financial printer. The young, innovative company used a lot of paper and faced a three-day pencils down period with last-minute changes from its CFO right before filing—causing a scramble and headaches. This process also placed additional pressures on a new internal controls process.
  • Running a lean department with a team of two, the company outsourced its internal audit function by engaging an external audit firm to act in that capacity. 
  • The firm performed an audit of internal controls and identified 80 gaps in the process—largely consisting of areas documentation was lacking. If the company was going to pass a full-blown SOX test, these would be the areas it needed to focus on. 
  • The company was using a difficult-to-navigate shared drive, and the team struggled to collect documentation and evidence from 19 process owners, other managers, and directors for 150 controls. 

What Wdesk does for the SOX team

  • After a difficult S-1 filing with a traditional financial printer, the company switched to Wdesk for SEC reporting. Because the company had immediate success in its SEC reporting process on the innovative Wdesk platform, the SOX team was able to see the potential, implement Wdesk quickly, and make a seamless transition for documentation and certification.
  • The SOX team began a phased transition to Wdesk, using it for documentation and certification. It plans to expand usage to risk assessments, dashboards, evidence management, audit committee presentations, and mapping to the 2013 COSO Framework.
  • Live-linking means that the SOX team connects the process narratives, risk control matrix, and revenue process flowchart. If information changes, the team edits the source, and all related instances automatically update.
  • Outsourced internal audit team members and external auditors participate in the SOX process through viewer and creator licenses.
  • Seeing such great success with the SEC reporting and SOX teams, the finance team now contributes information quarterly in Wdesk for filings.


  • In a company of DIY-ers, the team likes the flexibility of being able to own the process internally. Because the department is small, the company relies on technology to perform many tasks, scale with any growth, and drive the business forward.
  • The SOX team was able to get buy-in easily because management was already familiar with Wdesk for SEC filings. The company also feels like it accomplishes a lot without breaking the bank.
  • The SOX and finance teams, along with external contributors, collaborate seamlessly in a single, secure environment where data is collected and workpapers are attached and reviewed with a full audit trail. This eliminates version control issues, improves organization of all files, and provides a complete audit trail of all changes.
  • The management team, including the CEO and CFO, are comfortable with and enjoy the transparency that Wdesk provides. They can see that their internal controls are in place, have been tested, and that no material weaknesses are present when they sign off.

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