Lithia Drives Time Savings with Workiva for Internal Controls
- Internal Controls Management
- SEC Reporting
- ESG Reporting
With more than 250 stores across the United States, the fast-growing auto retailer Lithia Motors, Inc. can’t afford to waste time on internal controls testing or Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
The internal controls team described its previous SOX software as little more than a clunky database that was tough to navigate. What they really wanted was a user-friendly solution with testing and reporting features, where teammates could easily share their work.
"We found Workiva, and we're so pleased that we did,” said Heather Richardson, a SOX & Advisory Supervisor at Lithia Motors.
How Lithia Motors saves time with the platform
When Heather’s team used their previous software, they’d spend 45 minutes exporting one control to send to external auditors. With the Workiva platform, the team can give auditors controlled access to view information, with no need for exports.
Supervisors have better visibility into the status of testing. “The dashboard feature is something I use a lot,” Heather said. “I can go in, take a look at the pie chart, know what's been tested, know what's in progress, know what hasn't been started, immediately. That was something we didn't have in our last software.”
She estimated she saves 15 to 20 hours per month by not having to pull that information on her own. Her team also appreciates the automation of PBC requests within the Workiva platform, so they don’t have to send and follow up on dozens of emails each cycle.
SOX & Advisory Supervisor Mike Medeiros said he appreciates the transparency and consistency in testing that come with using the Workiva solution.
“The main benefits of the Workiva platform for my team have been ease of use and efficiency, really being able to go through the process a lot quicker and test better,” he said.
His team also can give directors a broader view of controls, testing, and issues across the company. ”Management loves it so far,” Mike said.
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation
More recently, Heather and Mike have been trialing new AI and machine learning features that add a dimension to the automation available within the platform.
"We have a particular control that’s extremely manual. We're required to test 25 stores, 10 transactions from each store,” Heather said. “It takes about an hour per transaction, so 250 hours. It was incredibly manual and laborious. We weren't sure it would ever get better for us."
Mike added, "We were hoping to save time and also reduce human errors. The double-checking is a pretty boring job."
In the end, the time savings were significant. "We never expected to shave so much time. Each form went from an hour to 20 minutes," Heather said.
What Lithia’s SOX supervisors would tell peers about Workiva
"I would definitely say look at Workiva,” Heather said. "The user-friendly platform is amazing. Our testing has improved. Our whole team tests better, they test faster, and I think it's due to Workiva. Our controls have remained pretty much the same over time. We just now are able to perform them better because we have basically a one-stop shop.”
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