Tanger wanted to handle all SEC report development and filing processes - including XBRL tagging - in house, but the company's reporting software did not provide the capacity they needed.
Positive change is often disguised as a challenge. So it was for the SEC reporting team at Tanger Factory Outlets, the Greensboro, N.C. headquarters of the well-known enterprise that owns and manages popular retail outlet centers throughout the U.S. and Canada.
Tanger’s team had successfully handled SEC reporting for years using a software system that let them develop and EDGARize their own reports in-house. “I always wanted to control the process,” says Jim Williams, Senior Vice President and Controller. “I didn’t want to rely on sending out last minute changes to a third party and hope they would get them done on time.”
Williams and his team faced a challenge when it was time for Tanger to start adding XBRL tags—the software they were using wasn’t up to the task. They switched to a new vendor that allowed them to create their own documents and handle their own taxonomy. However, Tanger still had to pay the software vendor for XBRL tagging, which meant a pencils down period while Tanger waited for the vendor to make the changes. “That’s something we really didn’t like,” says Williams.
The Tanger team needed a better alternative, a system that would give them complete control over creating and EDGARizing SEC reports, that could streamline the change management process, and handle XBRL requirements. That’s when the team found Wdesk.
Three things stood out to the team during the Wdesk demo: the solution’s functionality, XBRL capability, and the approachable interface.
“I liked the fact that the report was instantly EDGARized so there was nothing else you had to do,” says Tom Guerrieri, Vice President of Financial Reporting. Wdesk also fulfilled the team’s goal of handling XBRL in house. “With the wizard and the way Wdesk works, it’s extremely easy to do XBRL tagging once you get the hang of it,” says Guerrieri.
Williams was particularly impressed with the solution’s appearance. “When I saw Wdesk, it looked so warm, inviting, and friendly,” he says. Now Williams uses the interface as an example of an approachable application for Tanger’s programming team. “Wdesk has the same look and feel as the familiar word processor and spreadsheet functions used worldwide—so it doesn’t feel like you need to learn something new,” adds Guerrieri.
No Hassle Transition
While Guerrieri and Williams felt Wdesk offered everything they wanted, they approached the transition with some trepidation, wondering if Workiva would really deliver. The fact that they were transitioning to Wdesk in December 2010, just as the company’s 10-K was due, caused some worry, too. “We were a little concerned about the timing, but it went really well,” says Guerrieri.
For its first filing, Tanger opted to have Workiva set up the report. “Personally, I would suggest that anyone do that because then you have a roadmap of the best practice way to set up your document,” notes Guerrieri.
Now the team manages all of its own SEC report development, XBRL tagging, and review in house, and they’re producing top quality reports. “If you looked at our reports before, they weren’t 100% consistent as far as column width and tables,” comments Guerrieri. “Wdesk definitely gives us a more professional feel.”
The team also likes the solution’s robust comment, blackline, and milestone features that make it easy to create versions for review and streamlines change management.
With Wdesk we have control over our deadlines and getting the document completed on time.
— Eric Richardson, Director of Financial Reporting, Tanger Factory Outlets, Inc.
Before the transition to Wdesk, the Tanger team wondered if they’d get the support they needed when they had questions. “With the fact that we were going to control our own XBRL and our own documents…Well, I was skeptical and thought that meant we’d be on our own,” comments Williams. “But it’s completely the opposite.”
The customer service from Workiva is one of its strongest assets says Guerrieri. “Workiva provides unbelievable service. I’ve never received better customer service from anybody on anything—not just software!” Whenever the Tanger team has a question, their Customer Success Manager is ready with an answer.
Workiva provides unbelievable service. I’ve never received better customer service from anybody on anything-not just software!
— Tom Guerrieri, Vice President of Financial Reportingr, Tanger Factory Outlets, Inc.
And answers are right at their fingertips, too. “It’s easy to go online and see a short three or four minute video that will show you what you need to do,” says Eric Richardson, Director of Financial Reporting, who handles drafting Tanger’s documents.
Workiva dedicated customer service follows the Tanger team wherever they go, even when it’s late at night and they’re on the road. Because the solution is cloud-based, the company’s reports are always available. When Williams was traveling and needed help editing a proxy statement draft, he and his Workiva Customer Success Manager were able to work together within the document simultaneously to resolve his questions, even though they were hundreds of miles apart. “That definitely makes it easy,” says Williams.
The cloud feature definitely makes it easy to go in and work on your document from home, while traveling on business, or anywhere else for that matter.
— Jim Williams, Senior Vice President and Controller, Tanger Factory Outlets, Inc.
The company’s service ethic also extends to the way it handles changes to the application. As Workiva launches new features and upgrades, it holds webinars to educate customers like Tanger, and answers questions about the application. “A lot of other software companies just send out a memo saying ‘We’ve changed these ten things,’” explains Guerrieri. “But they don’t show you how to do them in the software. During their webinars, Workiva actually shows me where they’re clicking and what they’re doing. It’s a lot better.”
A streamlined, easy-to-use SEC reporting solution. Unsurpassed customer service. Complete control over all SEC reporting processes. That’s the positive change Wdesk brought to Tanger Factory Outlets.