MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc.

MidWestOne Financial Group had a cumbersome document development process and only one person to prepare and file all SEC reports. With XBRL looming, the company needed a better, faster approach to SEC report development.
  • Slashed up to 10 days off the report development process
  • More time to produce more accurate, polished documents
  • No more working late and on the weekends to prepare SEC reports

At MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc., SEC report development and filing is a one-man show. “I gather all the information; put the financial statements together; write the narrative, earnings releases, and 8-Ks; get the documents reviewed; and make sure it all gets filed with the SEC,” says Herb Musser, Vice President and SEC Reporting Officer at MidWestOne Financial Group. The financial holding group has $1.6 billion in assets, 25 bank locations throughout Iowa, and an insurance services firm.

That means Musser was also the only one pulling late nights and working weekends around the SEC reporting deadline, sweating the filing process, and worrying about how the report would be received by company executives and investors.

Until recently, Musser was using word processing documents and spreadsheets to assemble complex SEC reports, but the results weren’t user-friendly. “It was not a lot of fun,” says Musser. “And it was a little difficult for people to figure out how things went together,” he says.

He was also constrained by his third-party printer who EDGARized and filed MidWestOne’s SEC reports. “Whenever I had a change, I had to mark up a piece of paper, scan it, and email it to the printer,” he says. “It didn’t matter when you sent the change off— at 10 a.m. or 4 p.m.— it was still going to take overnight to make the change.”

With level 1 XBRL tagging requirements looming, Musser was anxious to find a better way— and fast. “We knew XBRL was rearing its ugly head,” he comments. “I had read how much third-party printers were going to be charging for that service and about how much earlier we were going to have to get the documents to them, and that just didn’t seem like it was going to work very well for us.”

A well-timed email changed Musser’s outlook and paired him with an invaluable teammate: Workiva. His CFO forwarded Musser an email with an online demo of the cloud-based external report development and filing platform. “I thought it made so much sense to create an integrated document. I don’t understand why someone hasn’t come up with this before,” says Musser.

I don't understand why someone hasn't come up with this before.

— Herb Musser, Vice President and SEC Reporting Officer, MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc.

An Intuitive Process

MidWestOne subscribed to Wdesk in May 2010 and used the solution to file the company’s 10-Q filings in June. After just one training session with Wdesk, Musser felt confident enough with the solution to continue using it on his own. “It’s pretty intuitive…almost like working with word processing documents and spreadsheets. I was comfortable with that, so it was very easy,” he comments. Musser has become so adept at using Wdesk that now he can create and file an 8-K in just one hour.

“The best thing is the linking within the document,” explains Musser. “Say you change the date in one place. The solution changes it throughout the document so there’s no concern about missing numbers elsewhere or in the headers.”

Like all Wdesk subscribers, Musser has his reports set up so that from quarter to quarter all he has to do is roll the prior numbers forward and drop in the new numbers. Then he’s done. “In a lot of ways the narrative just writes itself,” he says.

Using Wdesk Musser slashed up to 10 days out of his filing process. Now he can roll the document forward, and he doesn’t have to wait for a third-party printer to make changes. “We feel like we have a better chance to review the document and don’t feel so rushed.

With Wdesk we can put together a better product with more polish for our investors to read.

— Herb Musser, Vice President and SEC Reporting Officer, MidWestOne Financial Group, Inc.

The Answer to XBRL

Wdesk also eased Musser’s fear of XBRL tagging. “I’m a financial professional, so I don’t like to have to deal with XBRL and information technology,” he says. He knew with Wdesk he had a solution that would make the process less painful. And he’d have the support he needed when he had questions.

Musser used resources within the solution to teach himself the XBRL tagging process. “It’s very intuitive. The way it’s put together just makes sense,” he says. Reflecting on the other XBRL options he heard about, Musser says there’s no question— Wdesk was the right way to go. “Just losing that control and that much time to a third-party printer doesn’t make any sense to me,” he says.

MidWestOne was due to file detailed XBRL tagging in the summer of 2012, but Musser wasn’t fazed. With Wdesk he’s no longer a one-man show. “I’m not that apprehensive about it because Workiva has been there to help me before, so I’m sure it will be fine going forward.”

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