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Telefónica Transformed Its Reporting Cycle with Workiva

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Disconnected Challenges

Telefónica was facing an electronic reporting mandate by the SEC. They decided to use it as a catalyst to transform their reporting process.

Connected Results

  • Easy-to-use interface helped them get started quickly—and enabled them to file faster than previous years
  • Managing both SEC and ESEF filing requirements in one platform will provide consistency and reduce duplicate effort
  • Linking of data saves time and helps eliminate risky, manual processes
  • Bottlenecks are removed since everyone can collaborate in the same document at the same time

Why They Chose Workiva

Workiva provided Telefónica with confidence, enabled them to meet XBRL tagging requirements and helped improve their reporting process.

Solutions

SEC Reporting

As one of the largest telecommunication companies in the world, Telefónica is on a mission to provide simple and useful technology that connects people with the things they need and love.

Based in Spain, but listed on several stock markets around the world, including the Madrid and New York Stock Exchanges, Telefónica faces the challenge of fulfilling multiple regulatory and filing requirements. 

When the SEC announced in 2017 that foreign private issuers would be required to comply with its XBRL® tagging requirements, Kiko González Barrajón, Head of Consolidated Reporting at Telefónica, realised that this mandate brought new risks, but also new opportunities.

“Initially, we just wanted to find a solution to meet the XBRL filing requirements, so we weren’t really looking to change our process,” said Kiko. “We had a tool, however, we discovered it wasn’t as powerful or valuable to the whole reporting team as a cloud solution. So, after conducting a thorough analysis, we decided to not only look for a solution that would help us meet the new filing requirements, but to also use this as an opportunity to improve our reporting process.”

After seeing a demo of the Workiva platform, Kiko was convinced that it was the solution to help them achieve their goals.

Started fast

One of the most appreciated aspects of the Workiva platform was how easy it was to get started.

“The platform is really easy to use,” said Kiko. “We had a short training session and then the teams were able to be up and running very quickly.”

And, improvements to their reporting process were soon to follow.

“We made some big changes in our process, but we didn’t have to dedicate so much time to implementing these changes,” he said. “Immediately, we saw that everything throughout our process was faster. It was clear this was the right decision.”

After just a few months with Workiva, Telefónica filed with the SEC on 22 Feb—more than a month earlier than previous years.

Consistency between filings

Telefónica not only has to meet the electronic reporting requirements of the SEC, but for their 2020 accounts they must also meet the new requirements of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). 

With Workiva, Telefónica is able to manage the same content across their SEC and ESEF filings in one platform. This provides them with greater control over the entire process since a lot of information is shared between these documents. Plus, using one platform provides Telefónica with a better way to manage the XBRL requirements, and it reduces unnecessary duplicate effort.

They are able to maintain consistency between the filings by creating a single source of truth for their data, and then linking it to the documents required by the different regulators in both Spanish and English. 

When the data is updated at its source, it will automatically flow throughout their reports—a huge time-saver considering that Telefónica has more than 160,000 linked instances in their documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.

And, even though the format of the numbers in the reports is different, the platform automatically updates it correctly, so the team doesn’t have to manually adjust each individual instance.  

“It used to require a lot of manual work manipulating the data throughout all of the reports. Now, I have more confidence when I need to make a last-minute change, because I know the figures will be the same. This is really important since we are working with several documents in parallel,” said Kiko. “Having that single source of truth makes a big difference.”

No more bottlenecks

There can be over 100 people working on Telefónica’s annual reports, so collaboration is key. With Workiva, all of these team members can collaborate in real time—multiple people in the same document at the same time, with changes appearing as soon as they’re made.

“Previously, we ran into some bottlenecks, as we would have to wait for each person to finish their work before we could access the document or presentation,” said Kiko. “Now, we can all work on the report at the same time, and we can control who can access and edit each part of the document.”

Plus, Telefónica uses Workiva for more than just their SEC and European annual reports. They also use the platform to prepare a monthly presentation for the CFO, a quarterly report for their audit committee and the investor relations (IR) team has its own workspace in the platform that they can use to meet their communications needs. 

“Previously, we had to report a lot of information to the IR team and they would copy and paste the data into different presentations in both Spanish and English,” he said. “Now, everything they need is in the platform. It is so much easier to update the presentations each period, and it saves a lot of time.”

XBRL® is trademark of XBRL International, Inc. All rights reserved. The XBRL® standards are open and freely licensed by way of the XBRL International License Agreement.

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