It was the spring of 2016, and the head of regulatory reporting and head of SEC reporting had spent 45 minutes debating the difference between a semicolon and a comma, he said.
It was then that the CCAR team executive knew the bank could not continue completing its capital analysis and stress testing reports using "sheer manpower and borrowed people."
"I remember thinking how long it was going to take everybody to go through and change all those commas to semicolons, and then thinking, 'This was really what I went to college for?'" he said.
The executive searched online for a solution, using a combination of options such as document management tools and presentation collaboration software for business. Then, he saw Workiva pop up. When he realized Workiva was already the internally approved IT solution for SEC reporting, he explored how the connected reporting and compliance platform could work for CCAR.
Automation and accessibility
The CCAR team executive knew he needed a solution with:
- Data linking to automatically update numbers in a 300-page report
Because the bank's capital plan can be refined multiple times to hit certain target capital ratios, his team must be able to quickly update calculations for share buybacks, distributions to shareholders, and the like.
- Permission controls to limit access to confidential CCAR data
Multiple people review the report, but only about a dozen people in this firm of more than 200,000 actually have permission to see confidential supervisory information—the kind of information with the potential to shift markets. The bank needs to permit multiple collaborators to review dozens of CCAR pages of information while locking down access to the most sensitive data.
Workiva fulfilled both of the executive's must haves.
"The product itself definitely lived up to the hype," the executive said. "The two big things for me—the data linkage and the ability to control the permissions on a page-by-page basis—were there. So, I was a happy camper."
A new era of connected reporting and compliance
With the Workiva platform, employees, especially newer hires, have been able to pick it up with minimal training, he said. "My first impression was it was quite user-friendly—intuitive," he said.
Workiva enabled the bank's CCAR team to deliver their final presentation to the CFO a week earlier. They shaved days off their process by automating and centralizing the sign-off process and linking data, so no one had to manually update and double check numbers. Attestations and certifications are all managed within the platform.
The CCAR team executive went as far as mandating that everyone use Workiva after some holdouts continued to build presentations with legacy software, which were disconnected from the data. Today, he has team members who say they couldn't imagine completing CCAR without Workiva. "I just tell them, 'You're welcome,'" he said.
Exceeding expectations with fast implementation
Today the financial institution also uses Workiva to address other complex reporting challenges, including recovery and resolution planning (RRP) and global statutory reporting.
The CCAR team executive said the initial implementation of Workiva for capital analysis went faster than expected. He expected it would take three weeks to create the document and one more week to link data throughout. "The document was ready in a week and a half," the executive said. The links were created less than two days later.
"What exceeded the hype was the implementation of it," he said of the Workiva team. "They definitely knocked it out of the park on the actual implementation. I really think they wanted us to succeed, like they were in with us. And for somebody at my level, in my position, I appreciate that."