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Regional Bank gives credit to Certification

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“I actually enjoy XBRL now.” Most SEC reporting managers can’t fathom saying such a thing. But that’s exactly what one reporting professional said after switching to Wdesk for SEC reporting. 

When her employer, a regional financial institution, transitioned to Wdesk, it brought XBRL tagging in-house. As the external reporting manager, she is the sole person in charge of the SEC reporting process—including the tagging.

But it was her attendance at The Exchange Community, the annual user conference hosted by Workiva, that opened her eyes to a multitude of new possibilities for using Wdesk—Certification in particular. “It got my mind thinking, Where else can we use Wdesk? How can I convince people in my company to start using it? because I know how great it is,” she says.

Spreading the word

After The Exchange Community, she hosted a Wdesk Day at the bank headquarters, where her Workiva Customer Success Manager demonstrated all the Wdesk solutions for external and internal reporting, presentations, certification, and more. Everyone was invited to come for the presentation. “It was great. I got a really good response from people in my office,” she says.

The person who oversees the bank’s Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) reporting was "wowed” by the presentation. “He said, ‘I have to have this. It’s going to change the way I do everything for SOX and all the certifications I have to do.’”

The Wdesk Day also spurred the external reporting manager to think of other ways she could use the application. Her team’s process for certifying information for the bank’s 10-Q and other regulatory reports was a prime candidate for improvement.

Certification does the "dirty work"

Each quarter, she and her team had been gathering information via email from more than 60 people and using a spreadsheet to track the process. “It was so time consuming,” she says. “We had to manually go in to the spreadsheet and log when we got a schedule. Half of the time we didn’t log it.”

Certification streamlined their process by automating the email notifications. Each communication can be customized with the information each manager needs to provide, questions that must be answered, and due dates.

The process also helps the team secure confirmation that managers—not their subordinates—have actually verified the accuracy of the numbers and that they have supporting documentation if the auditors require it.

Throughout the certification period, a dashboard shows what information still needs to be certified. When information is overdue, Certification does the “dirty work” of sending reminder notices until the information is provided.

“Now I’m able to chase people down without doing anything because the emails go out automatically,” says the external reporting manager. “But they’re not coming from me. Wdesk is the 'bad guy'!”

One final benefit of Certification: the external reporting manager just rolls the process forward quarter-to-quarter saving even more time. “I just have to copy the process, hit the send button, and I’m done.”

She estimates that Certification saves about ten hours on the certification of 10-Q data alone.

She adds that accuracy and clarity have also improved for the regulatory reports. “We’re able to provide managers with instructions in the letter that come right from the regulators, so they can better understand where their numbers are ending up.”

Since the Wdesk Day, other managers at the bank are exploring new ways to use Certification to streamline their processes. The team handling accounts payable and fixed assets uses the solution to certify certain invoices and assets throughout the bank’s more than 400 branches.

On large projects, such as remodeling an office or an existing branch, Certification makes it easy for the project manager to certify the list of costs associated with the job.

“I’m always thinking about how else I could use Wdesk,” says the external reporting manager.

That versatility is one of the main reasons she encourages other reporting managers to switch to Wdesk. “I believe the application could be used for any reporting, whether it’s regulatory reporting, internal reporting— whatever you were doing before, put that aside because you’ll be able to do so much more with Wdesk.”

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