Liberty Property Trust

A tedious, time-consuming SEC report development process and printer delays created headaches for Liberty’s SEC reporting team. After having an extremely stressful filing due to a printer’s error with XBRL, Liberty started searching for a better way to produce SEC reports.
  • Gained total control over report development and filing
  • Learned to create 10-Q reports in just hours
  • Slashed four days from quarterly report development
  • Saved money by not outsourcing to printers

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When you’re on a beach vacation with your family, the last thing you want to think about is XBRL tagging. But that’s just what Jeff Rendell, Senior Financial Analyst of Liberty Property Trust, was doing last summer. Rendell helps oversee SEC report development for the Pennsylvania-based real estate investment trust, which owns commercial real estate in 12 states around the U.S. and several locations in the U.K.

The day before Liberty’s 8-K filing, Rendell’s team discovered the printer hadn’t included tagging for one of the company’s registrants. Rendell had already spent hours of his vacation on the phone with the printer. This delay only added additional costs to Liberty and stress to everyone involved, including senior management.

Not long after that incident, Liberty’s SEC reporting team started looking for a better way to develop and file SEC reports.

In a stroke of good timing, a Workiva sales representative contacted Liberty and offered to give a demonstration. Liberty’s internal auditor, Rendell, and Jaclyn Kelly, the financial analyst who helps prepare the SEC reports, attended the demo.

They put the sales representative through his paces asking him a myriad of questions about the solutions’s capabilities. “At the end of the presentation, we couldn’t think of anything important that was missing from the solution,” says Kelly.

We were blown away by the functionality of Wdesk. The solution seemed to resolve many of the inefficiencies in the financial reporting process.

— Jaclyn Kelly, Financial Analyst, Liberty Property Trust

Selling Senior Management

One of Workiva founders even flew to Philadelphia to give Liberty’s senior finance management a demonstration. “Management was impressed with the product and, through talking to the owner, became confident that Workiva management had the experience and track record to be trusted with Liberty’s SEC filings,” says Kelly.

Liberty subscribed to Wdesk in late summer 2011 and now uses the solution for all its reports: 10-Ks, 10-Qs, and XBRL tagging. “Wdesk has made each quarter go smoothly,” says Kelly. “It’s much more efficient and we feel entirely confident in our reports.”

Kelly likes the solution’s functionality and how easy it is to create reports with Wdesk. She also appreciates the fact that more than one person can work in the document at a time. “The biggest challenge with word processor and spreadsheet interfaces was that only one person could edit the document at a time,” says Kelly. “Wdesk automatically saves changes so you never have to worry about anything being lost.”

Switching to Wdesk has saved time and stress while significantly increasing our confidence in our end product. We are thrilled with Wdesk.

— Jeff Rendell, Senior Financial Analyst, Liberty Property Trust

The solution has also helped Kelly learn more about SEC reporting. “I’ve learned a great deal about XBRL,” she says. “Workiva has information readily available on the website as well as extremely knowledgeable support staff who are willing to answer any number and type of questions about the platform and XBRL.”

Total Control

Previously, Kelly had to have her SEC reports ready two weeks before the filing deadline so the document could be sent to the printer for EDGARizing and tagging. At this point the process was completely out of Kelly’s and Liberty’s hands. All the while the clock ticked toward the filing deadline. Having an unmovable deadline and no control is very stressful, they noted.

Now filing day at Liberty is low-key because it’s all handled in house. “It’s definitely less stressful since we are no longer playing the waiting game with the printers,” says Kelly.

With Wdesk, we cut four days off our quarterly report development process.

— Jaclyn Kelly, Financial Analyst, Liberty Property Trust

Even last minute changes aren’t a concern. On the day Kelly was filing Liberty’s 10-K, she was asked to add a table to the report. “If we were using a printer, it would have been a big problem. We would have had to decide either to not include the table or push back our filing. Since we were using Wdesk, I said ‘No problem’.”

Everyone at Liberty, from external legal counsel to senior management, is happy with Wdesk. “With our first filing using Wdesk, our external legal counsel and external auditor said it was highest quality first draft we’ve ever done,” says Kelly. And now that she's spending less time creating SEC reports, she has more time to help company executives gather the information they need to help the company succeed. “Wdesk is a win-win for all of us!”

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