SmileDirectClub Realigns Risk and Future Growth, Saves $500,000 in Audit Fees
Team struggled to finish work by deadlines
Processes were a veritable soup of software
Effortless remote work
Seamless team interaction via an intuitive platform
Eliminated external audit assistance, shaving $500,000 from the bottom line
Why They Chose Workiva
“I don't think Workiva has a peer as far as breadth of vision and technology and track record.”
- Enterprise Risk Management
- Internal Audit Management
- Internal Controls Management
- IT Risk and Compliance
- Management Reporting
- Policy and Procedure Management
- SEC Reporting
- SOX Compliance
When it comes to compliance, it’s fair to say that David Gamble has seen a thing or two. With 20+ years of experience (from the very start of SOX), he’s helped companies of all sizes surmount the regulation’s complex challenges.
It’s also fair to say that Workiva might be one of the keys to his individual success and the success of his organizations—most recently, SmileDirectClub. But David’s experience with the platform started much earlier than that.
Free your mind to analyze at a higher level
Back in 2014, David served as the director of SOX compliance at a Tennessee-based public power utility.
“I remember in the beginning days at the utility," said David, “we barely finished our work in time for the board meeting.” His processes were a veritable soup of software, with Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint as the main, ill-functioning ingredients.
And then came Workiva. As one of the first customers to use Workiva for SOX compliance, he saw the power, potential, and capabilities of the platform.
“The thing that I love about the Workiva platform,” said David, “it automates much of the grunt work of auditing and allows you to do the thinking and the analyzing at a higher level.”
That same higher-level thinking propelled David to become Director of Risk and Advisory Services at SmileDirectClub in 2019, shortly before the company went public.
As a pioneer in the doctor-directed at-home orthodontic industry, SmileDirectClub rewrote the rules on straightening smiles, going from zero to IPO (and 300 retail locations) in just five years.
Accordingly, David got to pioneer his own compliance team. His grand, articulate vision—guided by the nearly endless capabilities of the Workiva platform—even helped land him the role at SmileDirectClub.
“Because the company was growing so quickly, we anticipated that we would lose our emerging growth company status,” said David. “So, I told the CEO and the CFO and the COO, ‘We'll do whatever you want to do. But, if you want to give us the best chance of success, you're going to implement Workiva.’ That vision was the reason I got the job.”
Specifically, David's vision included remote work, financial savings, and management ease. It was about delivering on a roadmap and bringing the future dreams of compliance to today’s reality.
“Because of Workiva, we will be updating our SOX risk assessment three times this year. Once we get the Workiva platform, we'll be able to update it in real time. That's unheard of in the audit world,” said David. “That's what we used to dream about when we would all go to audit conferences.”
Keep your head in the cloud
As David and SmileDirectClub utilize a shared service center for compliance work, remote capabilities are a base requirement for the job. Living exclusively in the cloud, the Workiva platform easily clears that hurdle, allowing David’s globally dispersed team to work in synchrony, no matter the situation.
“I have a team of three in Costa Rica, and we were able to do all of our audit testing with Workiva during the pandemic,” said David. “Were it not for this product, we could not have been able to do that at all.”
As an unexpected benefit, David’s team found themselves being much more engaged, thorough, and detailed in their work because the platform is simple to use.
“It's easy to add a footnote to the testing documentation, and then it's easy to put that into the audit report,” he said. “They find themselves doing things just because it's easy. There's no doubt that their satisfaction would've been much less if we had tried to do all that in Excel and Word and PowerPoint.”
There’s a glaring correlation between his team’s well-being, technology, and organizational success, says David, and Workiva connects the dots.
“I can't effectively manage and monitor risk without effective technology—that's the pace at which the world is changing,” he said. “My team is remote, and we’re able to seamlessly interact and work together and collaborate. That just wouldn't be possible without technology.”
Workiva constantly improves, so you can too
Team collaboration and engagement are great, but Workiva truly excels on the bottom line, said David.
Back at his previous role as the head of SOX at a utility company, Workiva was able to redeploy an entire FTE role in 2015. But today, the financial impact of using Workiva's solution is nothing short of incredible.
“Other than IT audit, we're really not going to utilize any external audit assistance. That's going to save the company about a half a million dollars in 2020,” David said, “and we would not have been able to do that without this tool.”
Much of the exponential growth in savings, he said, can be attributed to the pace at which the Workiva platform has improved over the years. And he added, “There are some pretty incredible things being planned. It is remarkable to see the functionality and the improvement that happens.”
The improvement of Workiva as a product stems directly from the company’s unique commitment to growth, David said, which isn’t found elsewhere in the industry.
“There were software platforms in the beginning of my career—they were number one, and they're gone. And in the middle of my career, there were software platforms that were number one, and they're gone. They didn't continue to invest, or management didn't have the commitment,” said David.
This spells out an enormous lesson for organizations shopping for SOX, internal controls, or internal audit—you’ve got to look at the whole company, not just at the technology. The features and functionality of Workiva's solution are immensely beneficial to SmileDirectClub, but knowing his vision will be safely carried through on the platform helps him rest easy.
The connectivity of the Workvia platform is why SmileDirectClub has greatly expanded its use beyond audit management and SOX compliance.
When it comes to enterprise risk management, IT risk and compliance, policies and procedures, SEC/external reporting, and management reporting, SmileDirectClub turns to Workiva.
“I'm telling you,” said David, “I don't think Workiva has a peer as far as breadth of vision and technology and track record.”
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint are registered trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies in the United States and/or other countries.