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The 5 Most Important Lessons Learned from Amplify GO

ESEF Reporting
Workiva Amplify
Amplify Go Recap
5 min read
Published: 1 July 2020
Last Updated: 6 July 2022

Couldn’t make it to Amplify GO, our virtual learning event for the accounting, finance and risk community? Or, maybe you were able to attend but want to revisit some of the points? No worries. We rounded up a few of the most important lessons and put together the best of the best advice in this handy blog post for you.

You can also catch all the sessions from Amplify GO on demand.

Alright, let’s dive in.

1. CFOs are keen to use the current environment as a catalyst for change

Simon Atherton of Deloitte and Dermot Murray of Workiva opened Amplify GO by exploring the challenges finance leaders are facing in a post-COVID world.

They discussed how COVID-19 has fundamentally disrupted the work of the finance function. Simon commented that CFOs are keen to use the current situation as a catalyst to accelerate a business landscape characterised by digital technology. He shared one stat that captured this sentiment perfectly: a recent Gartner survey reported that 74% of CFOs said they will permanently move a portion of their workforce to remote following COVID-19.

But, how can finance leaders capture this momentum for change and not revert back to the status quo as restrictions loosen? After all, finance has to balance what’s important for the whole business and what’s important for their department. 

In order to continue on the path toward finance transformation, Dermot recommended that finance leaders can start by putting a long-term technology plan in place. Acting with a sense of urgency can quickly prove concepts and drive adoption across the business.

2. Don’t just get a platform that fits your process

A big highlight of the event was a customer panel session including Jana Middleton of Anglo American, John Phythian of Lloyds Banking Group and Megan Daniell of TomTom

The panel discussed how they handled the shift to remote work during COVID-19, provided tips to help companies accelerate their close process and shared advice they would give to organisations looking to improve their reporting and compliance.

The group commented that organisations should not be looking just for a platform that will fit their processes. Instead, they recommended breaking down old processes and getting champions that are prepared to enact positive change.

Finally, the panel shared how they have seen great measurable improvements with Workiva, removed manual gaps and gained more transparency into their data.

3. Implement the ESEF in a way that adds value

We had a great panel discussion on the important things companies should keep in mind as they prepare for the implementation of the European Single Electronic Format (ESEF). Thought leaders included Phil Fitz-Gerald, Director of the Financial Reporting Lab of the Financial Reporting Council, in addition to Andromeda Wood, Hamish Prince and Jackie Whitworth of Workiva. 

One of the most interesting exchanges between the panel was on the different approaches companies can take to meet the requirements of the ESEF. Some companies are prepared to leverage the ESEF as a way to transform their end-to-end reporting process. However, this may not be the right choice for every company right now. 

Andromeda commented that in this case, companies can still use a tool that adds value to their processes while enabling them to meet the requirements of the ESEF. With an eye on the future, these companies can use this momentum to build toward finance transformation.

4. ESG issues are some of the greatest global risks

The Global Risks Report 2019, published by the World Economic Forum, listed four ESG issues within its top ten biggest global risks. These issues are real, as evidenced by the first ever climate change bankruptcy of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company in 2019.

Global Risks Report 2019

Source: World Economic Forum, The Global Risks Report 2019, 14th Edition

With this in mind, there is no wonder why there has been an increase in the demand for information about ESG issues—particularly how they affect the bottom line of a company.

Sakis Kotsantonis of KKS Advisors talked about the growing trend of large companies reporting ESG data, in part due to regulations in Europe, and also due to investors who want to align their money with their values and principles.

This rise in demand for ESG data has also led to an increase in the number of agencies and reporting frameworks—therefore, the complexity of ESG reporting has also increased. Some major challenges include:

  • Different reporting frameworks
  • Audit trail of data
  • Different reporting metrics to describe the same issues
  • Multiple data providers within companies
  • Multiple similar requests from analysts and investors
  • Misinterpretations of publicly available data
  • Miscalculation of qualitative data

As a result, companies are turning toward technology to help address these challenges. Natalia Kaleta-Schraa, ESG and Client Services Manager, Workiva, showed how the Workiva platform is the only option for both ESG reporting and integrated reporting. 

Companies can use the Workiva platform to streamline their reporting and framework management, simplify the collection and management of data and add transparency to both financial and non-financial data with an end-to-end audit trail.

5. Simplify the end-to-end processes for your ESEF annual report

Katherine Reynolds and Jackie Whitworth of Workiva walked viewers through a typical process many companies follow when producing their annual report. The process is often manual, inefficient and costly. And, with a lack of transparency and oversight, the process is full of risk due to the possibility of manual errors.

However, Katherine and Jackie showed the fundamental difference that can be delivered by connecting all of your people, processes and data in one collaborative platform. Data consistency, efficient collaboration and process control are just a few of the key points delivered by a connected reporting and compliance platform that lead to positive business outcomes.

This session will be perfect for anyone who wants to see how each person involved in annual report production can benefit from the Workiva end-to-end connected process—from data aggregation, report assembly, XBRL® tagging and design, to XHTML with iXBRL output.

If you missed Amplify GO, or want to catch up on any of these sessions, all the content is available on demand.

XBRL® is a trademark of XBRL International, Inc. All rights reserved. The XBRL® standards are open and freely licensed by way of the XBRL International License Agreement.

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