Why Our Customers Choose Workiva and the Cloud: Data Governance

5 November 2018

Finance, accounting, risk and compliance professionals have given us many reasons for choosing Wdesk. We are exploring each of the top 10 reasons why organisations move their reporting and compliance to the cloud in greater depth with this blog series.

As organisations look to the cloud to scale their business functions, more than 3,000 companies have turned to Workiva to streamline their reporting and compliance. We built Wdesk and Wdata specifically to help teams modernise risk-prone manual processes, so they can trust the accuracy of data in their final reports and presentations.

Workiva delivers tools that enhance the ability for teams to manage accessibility, usability, integrity and security of information—also known as data governance. That is just one of many reasons teams choose Workiva.

Reason Number 3: Improving data governance

The casual dining chain Noodles & Company could have drowned in mountains of paper reports delivered weekly to headquarters from each of its restaurants. Once they started using Wdesk, information owners could log in and upload data directly into reports. Executives and auditors now review and comment on the reports all within Wdesk. Consolidating data in Wdesk solved version control issues.

“It’s become the one place where everybody can know which document is live,” said Noodles & Company's financial reporting and compliance director. “It gets rid of the redundancy of paper and who owns the live document.”

Perhaps your managers have woken up in cold sweats over questions of data integrity, too. About 90% of senior finance professionals have concerns about multiple steps in their financial reporting processes and about half worry about unexpected spreadsheet errors surfacing in the board room, according to FSN’s The Future of Financial Reporting Survey 2017.

A fundamental problem for modern professionals is that traditional desktop spreadsheets, documents, presentations and email attachments have not kept up with today's business reporting requirements.

Challenges include:

  • Inaccessibility: When will this contributor be out of the file so I can update my portion?
  • Inconsistencies: Why do revenues in Table 3 and Table 7 not match?
  • Inefficiency: The data needs to be rekeyed—again?
  • Version control: Where is the most recent version? Is this the final?
  • Permissioning: Can I restrict access to this cell or paragraph?
  • Lack of accountability: Who made that change?

Sound familiar?

PC-based tools were never designed to handle the frequency or complexities of business reporting required today.

Data collaboration in the cloud

Cloud reporting platforms enable contributors to work on the same document at the same time, so no one has to wait. Because documents are accessed in the cloud, you no longer have to email attachments. Comments, tasking and workflow can live within the project.

Process review and information sharing are made easy. You can control permissions, so internal and external users can access the right documents, and information can easily be packaged and exported for external review. Many systems even send email notifications requesting internal review and certify that tasks have been carried out.

Version control within the cloud means everyone always accesses the most recent version of a document, and no one wastes time using or sending outdated information.

Making data governance easy using Wdata and Wdesk

Workiva enables you to automate key reporting processes via Wdesk, but it all starts with data. You can use Wdata to bring general ledger, enterprise resource planning (ERP), or other data from across the enterprise into Wdesk.

Connecting this data into Wdesk for reporting allows you to establish links between source data and all the destinations for that data, connecting silos of information within the enterprise. This establishes a critical “single source of truth,” which eliminates errors and offers an audit trail that provides visibility into data linking, formatting and data changes.

When changes are made to a source, Wdesk updates the information automatically across every linked document, spreadsheet or presentation. You always have access to the most up-to-date numbers without having to manually update them across dozens of instances.

Wdesk provides the ability to control permissions for specific internal and external users to own, edit or view entire documents, only a certain section or spreadsheet cell or nothing at all.

A tasking function enables team members to assign a task to a team member or a line-of-business partner. A task dashboard allows you to monitor progress and view tasks assigned to you.

With granular, automated audit trails, users can work on their own sections of a document at the same time. The detailed revision history within Wdesk will specify when changes are made and who made each one.

This level of access, control, collaboration and accountability can help you verify data faster, streamline processes and have more confidence when signing off on the latest reports.

Keep your eye on this blog over the next several months as we examine more reasons companies choose Workiva.

If you don't want to wait that long, request a demo today to learn more advantages of Wdesk and how to use Wdata to bring data into Wdesk.

Mitz Banarjee

About the author

Mitz Banarjee is the Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. Over the past 10 years, he has been heavily involved with technology companies of all sizes at an operational level driving customer satisfaction and customer loyalty.