Nautilus lets Wdesk do the heavy lifting

On the advice of a consultant, Nautilus switched from Wdesk to a printing service. After just one quarter, Nautilus switched back—for good.

Change is often a prerequisite for growth. Recently, the SEC reporting team at Nautilus, Inc., the world-renowned fitness equipment company, found that adage to be doubly true.

In an effort to streamline operations in early 2013, Nautilus had to make several changes. The company reorganized its SEC reporting process, eliminated its SEC Reporting Director position, and moved the external reporting responsibilities under the purview of Corporate Controller Mary Kahl. It was a big change for her.

“A lot about the SEC reporting process was new to me,” says Kahl. She’d contributed to the company’s SEC filing process in the past, but she’d never created the reports herself or worked in Wdesk, which Nautilus had been using successfully for several years.

With so many other functions to oversee, Kahl hired an SEC reporting consultant who she relied on heavily. “Our consultant came in, became acclimated with our business reporting, and helped us out,” says Kahl. The consultant, who was new to Wdesk, familiarized herself with the application and then took over the report development process and XBRL tagging.

New tools, old hassles

Even with all of her expertise, the consultant felt challenged at becomming familiar with a new reporting process at Nautilus. After the first quarter, she lobbied Kahl to switch to a competing service from a large, traditional printer. “Most of her career she’d worked with the printer, she was familiar with its folks, and she heavily encouraged us to use its service,” says Kahl.

In fact, the printer had just rolled out a new external reporting tool. As an additional incentive, it offered Nautilus a free trial of the new product. Kahl agreed to the change—but not without a contingency.

“I talked to my contacts at Workiva, and they said that if it didn’t work out with this printer, we could come back. They wouldn’t charge us for that quarter, and we could keep our contract.” With that assurance, Kahl agreed to the printer's trial.

The consultant managed the transition to the printer's service and handled the company’s next quarterly SEC report using its new tool. Despite the consultant’s best efforts, the process didn’t go smoothly.

“The printer's new reporting tool just wasn’t 100 percent ready, so it ended up having to a do a lot of things using the traditional, manual process,” explains Kahl.

She says the report development process was rough, but the end result was an even bigger concern.

”There wasn’t anything inaccurate in our document, but when it was transmitted to the SEC, there there were a lot of presentation issues within the document.”

Coming back

After just one quarter with the printer, Kahl was ready to make another change—back to Workiva.

When we decided to switch back to Wdesk, I called our Workiva Customer Success Manager and said, ‘We really like your service. We really like your application. And we are ready to come back!

— Mary Kahl, Corporate Controller

“When we decided to switch back to Wdesk, I called our Workiva Customer Success Manager and said, ‘We really like your service. We really like your application. And we are ready to come back!’”

The switch back to Wdesk was seamless. Because Workiva stored Nautilus' files in Wdesk, Kahl’s team simply entered the previous quarter’s financial information. Then it was ready to produce its next quarterly report.

“It was a short transition back,” comments Kahl. “Everything was done in a timely manner, and there were no problems engaging again with Workiva.”

Kahl says her Workiva Customer Success Manager—the same one Nautilus had worked with for years—was as helpful as always. “Our Workiva Customer Success Manager is just great to work with and provides excellent service. She does whatever it takes to help us,” says Kahl.

When Nautilus returned to Wdesk, Kahl made a few other changes to improve her team's report development process. The consultant did some additional training to gain confidence in Wdesk, and Kahl took advantage of the professional XBRL tagging service offered by Workiva.

Kahl also added an internal employee to help with SEC reporting and enlisted the help of several other Nautilus team members, so the company would be less dependent on external support. “We’re bringing more of this work in-house, so we have a solid understanding of the process and can manage the requirements,” says Kahl.

The fact that everyone can work in the same document in Wdesk at the same time creates a lot of efficiencies.

— Mary Kahl, Corporate Controller

With Wdesk, the SEC reporting process at Nautilus is seamless. “The fact that everyone can work in the same document in Wdesk at the same time creates a lot of efficiencies,” says Kahl.

Wdesk has also helped the Nautilus team slash about a week of time from the report development process, allowing more time for review and approval.

The return to Wdesk gave Kahl something else too.

“When we came back to Workiva, I regained all my confidence in our reporting process. And I was much more at ease with the application,” she says. “I had a lot of confidence that with Wdesk, our next report would go out with the level of accuracy and presentation we were expecting.”

And it did. Lesson learned.

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