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Wdesk Simplifies XBRL

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Tired of dealing with complicated bolt-on software, this industry-leading mining company decided to make things simple by switching to Wdesk.

Around the globe, mining experts from this industry-leading company search for precious metals deep in the earth. At the company’s headquarters, its SEC reporting team was searching for a program to help the company handle a new phase in SEC reporting. The team of eight had been developing their SEC reports in-house before turning them over to a third party, which EDGARized the files. The process worked well enough —until it was time to start XBRL tagging.

Largely for convenience, the company’s managers opted to have the same vendor that EDGARized their documents handle the XBRL tagging. That’s where the company’s reporting team encountered problems.

“We did our first detailed tagging on our 10-K with them, and we realized that we couldn’t continue down that road,” says one of the managers who oversees SEC reporting for the company.

For starters, the bolt-on software wasn’t easy to use. “It was very code driven. Unless you had experience in computer programming, you couldn’t figure out what was going on,” says the reporting manager. When the team had questions, they could wait for days for their customer service representative to return their calls.

When it came time to submit changes, the manager recalled that the process was tedious. The team felt that they were sending changes to a “black hole” and then waiting several days to get a full rendering back for review. “There was a lot of disconnect. We noticed that certain changes weren’t being made or they were misinterpreted. It was a very trying experience,” says one accounting analyst.

It wasn’t long before the company was back in the market looking for a better way to handle XBRL tagging. They saw demos from several vendors. During the process they heard about Wdesk, but were initially apprehensive about working with the “new kid on the block.”

When the team’s search didn’t yield an ideal solution, they circled back to Wdesk and requested a demo. “We were happy with what we saw and with the price point,” says the associate manager. But, for extra reassurance, particularly about security, the team met with another company that was already using Wdesk.

“It was really beneficial to hear from another publicly-traded company that chose to go with Wdesk. They gave us assurance that it would fit our needs,” the manager says. The company’s security team also carefully vetted the solution and was impressed with the level of security. With that, the reporting manager had the approval they needed to sign a contract.

Wdesk is now an integral part of the company’s reporting team—they have used the fully-integrated, cloud-based solution to create and file a range of SEC reports, including 8-Ks, 10-Qs, and a 10-K.

Making the Link

From day one, Workiva demonstrated its commitment to customer service by working closely with the company’s reporting team to import data, set up the company’s workbooks, and link numbers throughout the reports.

Number linking was a revelation to the team. Like many companies, they’d struggled with change management, a common SEC reporting pain point. Prior to using Wdesk, the team broke its reports into sections so different team members could populate data in their own sections. Because some numbers applied to several documents, their divided approach caused discrepancies.

“We would constantly have to check thousands of numbers against each other because we had separate documents, and you weren’t sure if someone made a change that you didn’t know about,” explains the reporting manager.

Change-management challenges are now a thing of the past for the company. “With Wdesk, we have confidence that, as long as a number is linked, it’s going to be the same everywhere in the report,” the reporting manager says. “We’ve saved hundreds of hours not having to worry about change management.”

Not only does the linking function make report development much easier, it also helps the company’s employees gain a better understanding of the reporting process. “Through linking, you get a holistic vision of where each number is going and how it impacts multiple places,” says the accounting analyst. “That gives employees a broad-based understanding of how everything comes together in the report.”

Professional XBRL Tagging

The company’s XBRL tagging process with Wdesk is now seamless. They use the Professional Services team from Workiva to handle the detailed tagging. The Professional Services team steps in to review the tags and suggest changes—collaborating with the company’s SEC reporting team in real time on a conference call and an online shared screen.

“Workiva only makes the changes we want them to change,” says the reporting manager. “One iteration and it’s done!” The manager says that’s a far cry from their previous vendor. “We probably went through 15–20 iterations of changes with them. We were making changes until 4 a.m.!”

Those late nights—or early mornings—are also history. With Wdesk streamlining the report development process and handling the bulk of XBRL tagging, the work-life balance has improved for the company’s SEC reporting team. “Now it will be a couple of days before the filing deadline, and we’ll have already signed off on the XBRL part of our report,” says the reporting manager.

The SEC reporting team is looking forward to streamlining its process even more. “Our ultimate goal is to bring the XBRL process in-house,” says the reporting manager. “I don’t think that ever would have been possible if we hadn’t switched to Wdesk. The application is so intuitive and user-friendly.”

Beyond the user-friendly solution, the company knows they have friendly service to back them up as well. “We have so much trust in our Customer Success Manager and Professional Services team,” says the reporting manager. “It’s been a very good experience!”

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