- Why Wdesk
Annual Employee Benefit Financial Statements
Annual Employee Benefit Financial Statements
- Prior to Wdesk, the team of two relied on Word® documents, embedded Excel® tables, and a shared drive network to create reports.
- Benefit plan data comes from the general ledger system and a series of reports from the banks that help administer 401K and pension plans.
- They prepared financial statements as a small group over a period of four months and then sent them up to the director. Once comments came back, they'd edit and repeat until all were resolved. The final reviews then passed through corporate reporting, the controller, and the CFO.
- The system put a lot of pressure on the team around deadlines. If a review needed to happen in an early morning meeting, the two teammates stayed into the evening waiting on hard copy comments.
- The general manager for the accounting department heard of Wdesk through LinkedIn and was able to gain support from the director of financial reporting who came from a company where Wdesk was used.
- When the team made the switch to Wdesk, it was primarily used to create 10-Qs and 10-Ks, but made a natural transition into other reports—including the benefits statement.
What Wdesk does for the team
- The team is now able to collaboratively create and review reports at the same time—no more late evenings waiting for hard copies to come back. The senior accountant can work on one section while the director comments on another section.
- All of the reviewers can see each others' questions. The feedback loop is closed immediately, saving time and shortening the review cycle.
- The risk of human error is reduced to zero. Data from an SAP® general ledger is drawn out into spreadsheets with SAS®, which is then immediately copied into a Wdesk workbook. This simple method ensures that data is transferred accurately, and linking within Wdesk ensures it remains accurate and up to date.
- The linking feature has been a tremendous asset. A number that repeats throughout the report can be corrected in just one place, instead of tracing it through each and every occurrence.
- The prior year, the financial reporting team had implemented Wdesk for its SEC reporting.
- The team had involved the controllers across all lines of business to author and edit the disclosures related to their areas of responsibility directly in Wdesk, which reduced the time required to prepare Forms 10-Q and 10-K and improved the quality of disclosure.
- The financial reporting manager began to apply this principle of direct authorship to the monthly cash flow and balance sheet analysis—moving it from an Excel-based format into Wdesk.
- The result was a set of standardized data input templates directly populated by information providers in each line of business and boilerplate language for each direction of flux.
- Information providers across all lines of business were able to input their numeric data in a matter of minutes and then choose from a menu of standardized explanations of financial results. Those two steps generated a substantially more complete monthly cash flow and balance sheet analysis in a very short period of time.
- The financial reporting team further leveraged Wdesk by linking fundamental financial metrics in the monthly cash flow and balance sheet analysis to SEC filing documents (i.e., Forms 10-Q and 10-K). This sharing of information greatly facilitated the unavoidable reconciliation of internally reported results with externally reported results.
- The team saves up to five hours of work per person, per quarter. The time gained in each step of the process—from development to review—can be used in other areas of work.
- The transition to Wdesk was so seamless that upper management never noticed a change in how reports are prepared and delivered.
- The team has a new sense of confidence in the accuracy of reports as errors are eliminated, thanks to process integration with existing software.
- Live-linking has improved the creation and consistency of reports.
Word and Excel are a registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries.
SAP is the registered trademark(s) of SAP SE in Germany and in several other countries.
SAS and all other SAS Institute Inc. product or service names are registered trademarks or trademarks of SAS Institute Inc. in the USA and other countries.
Wdesk has helped us improve the quality of our work by simplifying our layouts, processes, data linking, and especially, our collaboration. The application allows us to continuously improve how we operate and focus on our team's mandate.