NII Holdings, Inc.

NII Holdings depended on two separate third-party vendors to EDGARize its SEC reports and manage XBRL tagging. Due to mergers and growth at both vendors, service was declining and turnaround was slowing down. NII Holdings wanted a better, faster, and more responsive way to produce SEC reports.
  • Slashed SEC reporting costs by two-thirds
  • Eliminated change-management pain points
  • Brought most XBRL tagging tasks in-house
  • A fast, smooth transition in between quarters

Three is not always better than one. As Director of External Financial Reporting at NII Holdings, Shannon Davis knows that is definitely true, especially when it comes to the number of steps in the financial reporting process. Davis manages a team that assembles and files SEC reports for the Latin American telecommunications company based in Reston, Va.

Like many companies NII Holdings created SEC reports in-house, and then sent them to one outside printer for EDGARizing and to another vendor for XBRL tagging. The three-step process was complicated, tedious, and time consuming.

Resolving Pain Points

While Davis felt her internal process was relatively smooth, she and her team still struggled. “One of our biggest pain points was creating our reports in word processing documents. The application frequently locked up, or it took minutes to open, or someone was in the file so you couldn't get into it,” she says.

The second bottleneck came from her outside printer. “It was never an easy process. It could take up to 24 hours to get the document EDGARized. At that point, we'd begin to make changes manually,” says Davis.

That was costly too; NII paid about $100 per page for changes. When the printer went through a merger, customer service deteriorated and the turnaround time rose from 24 to 48 hours. “In a time-sensitive situation, that's unacceptable,” says Davis.

The third and last step in the process was XBRL tagging. Davis would send her report to get tagged, and a week later the vendor would return the document. “But by that point,” according to Davis, “we'd have already distributed a second draft. We were getting to a point where our deliverables were entirely contingent upon third-parties' turnaround time.”

Just as Davis decided it was time to simplify her process, she started hearing about Wdesk from her professional peers who were using the SEC reporting solution and were very happy with it. After an online demo and then a live demo for her team, Davis was sold. “We streamlined three separate processes into one by adopting Wdesk,” says Davis.

Start With the K

NII Holdings subscribed to Wdesk in time to produce its 2011 10-K. At that point, Davis wondered if they should wait until the New Year when there was less going on and the company could transition with a smaller quarterly report.

“My experience with new implementations was that there is always a hiccup. So I was prepared for a delay,” says Davis. She's happy she didn't wait.

The transition period is easily managed between quarters, I'd recommend it. I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the transition went. We had no delays at all.

— Shannon Davis, Director of External Financial Reporting, NII Holdings, Inc.

The XBRL transition went smoothly too. NII Holdings was already detailed tagging so the process was well underway, but the company initially had Workiva experts roll over and update the tags in the 10-K report. “When we were ready to file, the XBRL tagging was fully complete and ready to go. It was amazing!” says Davis. Now NII Holdings has assumed the majority of the XBRL tasks and consults with a Workiva Professional Success Manager when necessary.

Mark Stalcup, External Financial Reporting Senior Accountant, works on XBRL tagging for NII Holdings and has relied on Workiva for ongoing support. Stalcup says that extra support has helped him manage the full range of his responsibilities more efficiently. “Workiva has allowed us to focus on the non-XBRL portion of our filing documents while providing peace of mind that our XBRL will be completed accurately and on time.”

Their knowledgeable staff helped us not only with detail tagging, but they were also able to accommodate our filing deadlines with no disruption of service.

— Mark Stalcup, External Financial Reporting Senior Accountant, NII Holdings, Inc.

Smooth Change Management

Wdesk has also eliminated a big pain point for Davis and her team: change management. Where Davis used to wait days for changes to come back from other vendors, now she controls the changes and can make them quickly—even at the last minute.

In a recent quarter, Davis was ready to file her report when an auditor had a last-minute change. When she received the “okay” to make the change and file, she did it in a matter of minutes thanks to the agility of the Wdesk platform. “With our financial printer, pushing through a last-minute change, would have taken hours and cost hundreds of dollars,” says Davis. “The ability to push through changes in a matter of minutes is irreplaceable. All of those change-management pain points have been completely eliminated.”

The reduction of three reporting processes to just one has not only saved Davis and her team a considerable amount of time and frustration, it has also cut NII Holdings' reporting costs by two-thirds. Davis is now sharing her own great Wdesk experience with other SEC reporting professionals.

My team and I believe that Wdesk is the future of financial reporting.

— Shannon Davis, Director of External Financial Reporting, NII Holdings, Inc.

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