APAC CIO Outlook recognizes Workiva as a Top 10 Corporate Finance Solution Provider of 2021
First published in APAC CIO Outlook, Top 10 Corporate Finance Solution Providers edition by Annie Johnson. 01 January 2021.
2020 has been a year of extraordinary challenges for the global economy. Thousands of businesses around the world reported a staggering decline in sales and revenue, many closed their doors forever, and many more were forced to move to digital working: adding security, collaboration and efficiency risks on top of worrying how they would “keep the lights on.”
Organizations operating in the Asia Pacific region (APAC) were not immune to the healthcare crisis and the impact of a world-wide slowdown. It is likely the problems that surfaced in 2020 will reach well into 2021 and beyond. It is certain that companies that hope to bounce back from the global upset must reimagine what work looks like, and reconsider the technologies needed to solve the universal challenges of data, process and reporting complexity.
One company helping organizations transform work is Workiva (NYSE:WK), a global SaaS company that simplifies complex work for organizations around the world with its intelligent and intuitive cloud-based platform. Over 75% of the Fortune 500 use Workiva's platform to connect data, documents and teams, resulting in improved efficiency, greater transparency and less risk.
Erik Saito, General Manager of APAC for Workiva, noted similarities across most organizations in the region that threatened to derail their path forward. “When we moved to a virtual work environment, we learned that many companies that were relying on manual processes, and utilizing legacy, on-premise software to gather data and create reports were immediately behind,” said Saito. “The outdated technology impeded organizations’ ability to adapt to digital working environments.”
“But this is not a new problem,” Saito adds. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly shined the spotlight on technology and the need for digital transformation in business, we’ve seen the slowness to adapt negatively impact businesses in the past. In fact, Workiva has a long history of helping customers achieve compliance amid changing regulations and unprecedented times.”
A History of Creating Transparency, Simplicity & Trust
“Workiva was established to ‘serve’ the world of corporate governance, reporting and compliance with robust digital solutions,” said Saito.
In 2008, when excessive risk-taking and deregulation in the financial industry led to the financial crisis, publicly traded organizations were forced to reevaluate their financial reporting processes. There was an enormous shift in compliance disclosure. New regulations required electronic, machine-readable reports, and the stakes to report accurate information were raised, with penalties for misrepresentation including severe financial and reputational damage. Suddenly, the status quo of legacy spreadsheet and word processing software, manual processes and a dependence on the expensive services of financial printers to complete filings with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), were not up to the task.
The Workiva team, (then operating as WebFilings), saw an industry ripe for reform, and set out to change the way corporations were managing and reporting business data: developing a cloud-based reporting solution at a time when most companies were hesitant to place their trust in the cloud.
In 2010, customers began effortlessly collaborating with control and accountability, linking data inside the solution, and creating one source of truth for financial reporting teams. Efficiency increased, and early customers noted a decrease in the time it took to file reports with the SEC by two weeks, enabling more time for thorough review and value added-work.
Additionally, customers were electronically tagging their filingings with eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL) and filing directly to the SEC, which saved time and money by removing the reliance on printers and eliminating the "pencils down" period of reporting. Within five years, more than 65% of the Fortune 500 companies were using the WebFilings solution to file reports for the SEC.
In just 10 years, Workiva has grown to a formidable technology company, helping global organizations create transparency and simplicity in their business process, financial and non-financial reports, stay ahead of changing regulations and digitally transform the office of the CFO.
Driving Digital Transformation
Around the world, regulated organizations have been subject to an increasing amount of regulatory change, laws and reviews. This demands a technology and data driven approach for monitoring activities and managing processes, including the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and other cloud-based systems to create a more open, integrated and holistic approach to compliance.
“Workiva’s stellar cloud-based platform seamlessly orchestrates data among clients’ financial systems and applications for transparent and trusted connected reporting and compliance,” said Saito.
“We are seeing an increased interest across APAC for connected technologies,” added Saito whose team has signed new customers in Australia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Korea in 2020. Saito said streamlining management and global statutory reporting by increasing transparency and automation were key drivers for organizations who moved from legacy systems to the Workiva platform.
“Global statutory reporting, for example, is a highly complex and mandatory process for satisfying country-specific reporting requirements to regulatory bodies and tax authorities,” explained Saito. Multinational companies are centralizing this process using the Workiva platform to gather, organize, review, and submit financial and non-financial information. “The Workiva platform ensures compliance across jurisdictions and enables users to be consistent in how they are disclosing operations globally,” added Saito.
Workiva also has a robust partner ecosystem of 75 advisory firms globally, including leading Top 50 accounting firms and three of the Big 4 accounting firms, that are available to assist Workiva customers as they expand the use of the platform.
“We are committed to the success of our customers across APAC,” said Saito. “We tap into every level of expertise, from our innovative technology and experience, and the deep-seated industry expertise of our advisory partners.”
Saito added that some companies he works with choose to tackle digital transformation head on with a complete reform of their processes, and others plan a strategic roll out. “At the end of the day, connectivity and automation are always the foundation of success,” said Saito
The Engine Behind the Innovation
“A happy workforce is the secret to satisfied and engaged customers,” says Saito. When candidates first start at Workiva, the company goes the extra mile to make them feel welcome. Workiva is a values-driven organization, and its transparent management, combined with equally ethical business practices are among the reasons Workiva has been listed on FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list for two consecutive years. “Our customers across the region know our dedicated team understands their unique business challenges and is working with them every step of the way,” added Saito.
With innovation at its core, Workiva is positioned to continuously improve its platform. To serve clients more effectively, the company is looking forward to expanding its partner ecosystem and developing new solutions to address emerging use cases and regulations. “We are constantly enhancing our platform with intelligent, intuitive capabilities with the goal of finding more ways to simplify complex work for our global customers” concludes Saito.
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