MRV Communications

MRV Communications has a very small corporate finance department responsible for SEC reporting. With only a couple people to review subsidiary reporting packages from six business units, consolidate the results, manage the audit, and prepare the SEC filings, every day of the process was critical. Worse, use of a third party printer meant that the reports had to be ready for EDGARizing and proofing several days before the deadline.
  • Simplified SEC report development and filing
  • Eliminated outsourcing expenses
  • $120,000 in annual cost savings
  • Achieved flexibility to file SEC reports from anywhere, at any time
  • Improved work/life balance

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MRV Communications, a California-based manufacturer of optical communications equipment, empowers organizations worldwide by providing the technology that keeps their networks on track. The company employs more than 700 people and has six subsidiaries around the globe.

Blima Tuller, Vice President of Finance, helps MRV stay on track financially. “Although we have accounting teams at each business unit, I have a small corporate finance team responsible for overseeing all business unit accounting and reporting, handling tax compliance and tax planning internationally, working with our internal auditors, and conducting financial analysis,” says Tuller. On top of all that, she handles SEC filings.

An Amazing Development

A few years ago, MRV was finishing the process of restating 20 years of SEC reports. Once that was complete, MRV filed three 10-Qs on the same day to get up to date with the SEC. Like most companies, MRV was using word processing and spreadsheet software to develop its SEC reports. “The process was excruciating from the standpoint of maintaining and pushing changes through,” says Tuller. “It definitely highlighted that the manual nature of our process was incredibly inefficient.”

Given the complexity of SEC reporting and her workload, Tuller desperately needed additional help. She found it in a powerful new partner, Wdesk.

At the suggestion of a colleague, Tuller agreed to watch a Wdesk web demo in early 2010. Ever the multi-tasker, she was working while she watched, but was soon stopped in her tracks.

I saw the functionality of Wdesk and I thought, 'This is going to change my life’. This will revolutionize what I do!

— Blima Tuller, V.P. Finance, MRV Communications

MRV subscribed to Wdesk the next week, becoming one of the company's first customers. Right away Tuller was impressed with Wdesk as the Workiva team helped transition MRV to the platform. “We had a complicated process, so I was surprised at how quickly it went. They did a great job.”

Leading the Way

Tuller used Wdesk to file MRV's second quarter 2010 10-Q. “The difference was just incredible,” she says. “There was no more wasted time formatting.”

She saved even more time because she no longer depended on an outside financial printer to convert the file.“I was actually ready to file the report before our internal deadline. Part of that time savings was from efficiencies gained in the EDGARizing process. All I had to do was push a button, and in less than a minute, the file was EDGARized,” she says.

Along with Tuller, MRV's CFO and legal team use the solution to contribute to SEC report development. The company's external PR team even has limited access to the solution to make changes to the business background information.

MRV's investment in Wdesk has paid off. “With Wdesk, we've saved about $120,000 annually on personnel and third-party printer costs,” comments Tuller.

We've cut literally hundreds of hours out of our reporting process.

— Blima Tuller, V.P. Finance, MRV Communications

Continuing Improvement

Tuller has used Wdesk since 2010 and says that what started out as a powerful platform has continued to improve with time. “I've been very happy with the progress each quarter and how Workiva has increased the functionality within the application. During the same period, we optimized our consolidation and reporting process to take full advantage of the power of Wdesk,” says Tuller.

“Now our internal system outputs an Excel file which maps directly to our Wdesk workbook. We can deliver a draft of the SEC report the same day we finalize the numbers, and we can push a change from a subsidiary reporting package all the way into the filing in minutes.”

When MRV needed to start XBRL tagging in 2011, Tuller contracted with Workiva Professional Services for support. The group did the initial tagging and created a workbook for Tuller to use during the review process. “It was much less complicated than I expected it to be,” says Tuller. Now with Workiva on her team, Tuller feels more confident as MRV prepares for detailed tagging.

A Better Balance

While Wdesk has had a major positive impact on the company's SEC reporting process, it's also made a big difference in Tuller's life outside the office. On the day her young son was admitted to the hospital for emergency surgery, Tuller was up against the deadline to file MRV's 10-Q and no backup was available.

Once her son was out of surgery and resting in his recovery room, Tuller was able to sign in to Wdesk, make final changes to her report, EDGARize the document, and file—all without leaving her son's side.

“To me that was such an incredible demonstration of the power of this technology. Wdesk really gives you the flexibility to improve your work-life balance,” says Tuller. “But it also means that the company is not so critically dependent on having someone physically in the office to make the changes, get the faxes, and file the report.”

Tuller remains busy in her role at MRV and is still shouldering most of the SEC reporting work—but now she has Wdesk on her side. “For a third of the cost to hire a full-time person, we've improved our SEC reporting process dramatically,” she comments. “Plus, Wdesk doesn't get upset when I ask for another revision.”

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