Time Savings of 40% on the Sarbanes-Oxley Process


  • The banking institution has approximately 90 key controls spread out over 13 different processes.
  • There are 15 process owners with a primary control owner for each process who suggests updates, and the accounting policy and SOX officer, the main person on the team, approves or asks questions about changes to controls.
  • Prior to using Wdesk, the bank used Word® and Excel® documents maintained on a shared network drive that was not readily accessible to stakeholders outside of the department. The bank also faced difficulties implementing MetricStreamTM.
  • Keeping data consistent between various SOX documents, including the risk control matrix, process narratives, and flowcharts, was a challenge.
  • The SOX team battled a manual process when it came to ensuring wording and data consistency, the accuracy of all updates, and control over who could make what changes within the network drive.
  • The bank's SEC reporting team already used Wdesk, saw great results, and received helpful support, so the bank decided to look into it for SOX.

Getting executive buy-in

  • The accounting and SOX officer provided a cost/benefit analysis to the chief accounting officer (CAO) and the chief financial officer (CFO) to show the risks the bank would face if it didn't adopt Wdesk. If the bank didn't have good controls, especially at a financial level, it faced both reputational and financial risk.
  • Since external accountants and the PCAOB are making noise about internal controls, it was imperative to get information about the importance of adequate controls across the bank and up the ladder to stakeholders.
  • The biggest hurdle internally was overcoming investments in different solutions, including MetricStream™. Outlining the issues they were experiencing with the current solution and the benefits of Wdesk were key.
  • The fact that Workiva is a partner for the SOX process—working with the bank to improve its processes and provide best practices—and not just a vendor, made a big difference to the bank's executive team.

Why Wdesk works for the SOX team

  • Implementation of Wdesk was easy because the bank got up and running with its existing documentation, without conforming to a new, required system template, which saved a lot of administrative time. The bank had not experienced this easy of an implementation with previous solutions.
  • The bank uses Wdesk for updating the 2013 COSO Framework, in addition to process narratives, the risk control matrix (RCM), and risk and fraud assessments.
  • The key business outcome the bank was looking for was control ownership with the process owners rather than centralized within the SOX team. This allows for ongoing training—making sure control owners understand the controls and intent and providing the ability to update the material as controls change.
  • The long-term business outcome the bank is shooting for is to build in a self-assessment program using Wdesk to help the bank assess the controls at a user level.
  • Linking allows the team to make a single change to source data and see updates occur throughout all documents and reports. It is "by far the easiest and the best feature."
  • Permissions and the ability to create blacklines that show tracked changes have also been extremely helpful in creating a complete audit trail for the bank.


  • Using Wdesk saves the accounting and SOX officer 40% of his time by eliminating document management and other administrative activities. He spends more time on other tasks, such as FDICIA.
  • Wdesk is scalable for the bank and enables significant process efficiencies for SEC reporting, SOX documentation, and SOX reporting.
  • The bank's documents have been "supercharged" by Wdesk—they are more accurate, created in less time, and require less manual work.
  • Success with Wdesk has been achieved quickly, and the bank is working on expanding its usage to certifications and dashboards.
  • The bank is extremely happy that Workiva is its partner. A dedicated Customer Success Manager is available 24/7. Workiva shows interest in the bank's success by scheduling regular calls to discuss desired outcomes, new features, and provide best practices. To help improve the product, the bank provides constant feedback.

Word and Excel are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
MetricStream Enterprise Governance Risk Compliance Platform is a trademark of MetricStream.

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