Hecla Finds a Silver Lining in Wdesk

It's not every day that a sales call fundamentally changes the way a company works. But one phone call from Workiva revolutionized business reporting for Hecla Mining Company

Alan MacPhee is the controller at the silver and gold mining company based in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He is quite busy and doesn’t have time to answer every phone call he gets. “Actually, I seldom field cold calls from sales people,” he says. “But for some reason, I answered the phone the day a representative from Workiva called, and our gears meshed. He told me what Wdesk could do, and it sounded outstanding.”

An online video and an in-person demonstration of demonstration of the Wdesk solution was compelling Wdesk was compelling enough for MacPhee to make the switch. While most companies appreciate the cost and time savings delivered by the solution, Jason Heidt, Director of Accounting, has a different take. “The intangible benefits of using Wdesk are significant,” he says. “We’re simply much happier with our process now. And in terms of reducing risk—there are a lot of savings when you think about avoiding the risk of issuing a report with a number that isn’t right or has an inconsistent format.”

I like that Wdesk is cloud based, so we don't have to worry about the vagaries of email or servers crashing.

— Alan MacPhee, Controller, Hecla Mining Company

Then and Now

After two years of using Wdesk, the Hecla team draws stark comparisons between its previous reporting process and life using the streamlined platform. “Our old process really lacked functionality,” explains Heidt. “Only one person could be in the document at a time, and that made it very difficult to manage.”

Version control was also a problem, especially during the commenting phase. “We’d have multiple incoming comments going to one person who had a hard time fielding all the input and making sure it stayed organized,” explains MacPhee. That was then.

Now, Wdesk single document datamodel technology allows multiple users to work in the document at the same time. Seven of Hecla’s team members have worked in the same document simultaneously. In addition, the entire team tackles comments and edits together. “That’s really saved us time,” says Heidt.

Accessible from anywhere with an internet connection, the collaborative functionality of Wdesk is among the reasons that MacPhee didn’t have to hire someone new to replace a team member who transferred to a position in Alaska. “Wdesk is always available, so she can work on her part up there,” he says. “I like that Wdesk is cloud based, so we don’t have to worry about the vagaries of email or servers crashing.”

Even the C-suite has noticed the benefits of using Wdesk. “Our vice president of investor relations told me that he’s very impressed with Wdesk. And for the first time in his investor relations career, he isn’t concerned about multiple people fiddling with the document at the same time,” says MacPhee.

The intangible benefits of using Wdesk are significant.

— Jason Heidt, Director of Accounting, Hecla Mining Company

The Power of Linking

“Before Wdesk, our department sat around a table and manually recalculated all of the values in the spreadsheet that came from our accounting system,” says MacPhee of his old reporting method. “And we had to do that at the worst possible times—when we were so busy.”

Not only were they spending critical time recalculating data, the Hecla team members also had to do a lot of searching. “There were errors at times when we changed one value that occurred several times in a document or in multiple documents. So we’d have to do a search and replace,” comments Heidt. “But Wdesk links the numbers in the documents to one data source, so when we change a number in one place, it flows all the way through.”

Wdesk accomplishes what we want it to do, and we are delighted that it’s capable of doing even more.

— Alan MacPhee, Controller, Hecla Mining Company

Dynamic Solutions

The Hecla reporting team uses Wdesk to develop and file the company’s 10-Q and 10-K reports, but that’s just the start. “Wdesk accomplishes what we want it to do, and we are delighted that it’s capable of doing even more,” says MacPhee. He often copies information directly from the company’s accounting system into a Wdesk workbook. The application then links values and automates functions such as “more than” or “less than” within documents.

MacPhee also relies on the dynamic features of the application to publish the company’s monthly Director’s Report and even the quarterly earnings release. “Wdesk makes my life much better,” he says.

Several departments at Hecla use Wdesk, and MacPhee and Heidt are evaluating how to incorporate the platform into even more business reporting functions. Meanwhile, they’ve expanded their portfolio of Wdesk solutions by subscribing to Certification, a solution that manages the sub-certification process from end-to-end. With Certification in place, Wdesk has streamlined one more facet of the Hecla business reporting process and made MacPhee’s and Heidt’s lives even easier.

MacPhee jokes, “Therapy costs for both of us might be higher without Wdesk!”

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