Novo Nordisk A/S


Novo Nordisk A/S was looking for a solution to help with XBRL tagging and submission to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).


Novo Nordisk initially looked at the cloud platform from Workiva, when it was searching for solutions for SEC reporting. It now also uses the platform to create its integrated annual report, quarterly company announcements and reporting to management.


  • Eliminated duplicative work by linking data used in multiple reports
  • Expanded use of the Workiva cloud platform for SEC reporting and integrated annual reports to quarterly company announcements


In 2017, Novo Nordisk A/S explored Wdesk, the cloud platform delivered by Workiva. At the time, it was searching for a solution that could handle XBRL tagging and filing reports to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). They ultimately chose Wdesk because of several built-in conveniences, including:

  • Linking: Shared data or disclosures appearing in multiple instances can be linked, which means changing the source data updates the information in all other instances
  • Content management: Documents live in a shared space in the cloud, with control over data integrity and who can access, review and edit specific sections of work
  • Directed comments: Comments and questions can be directed to a specific user, who then receives an email alert with a link to the area of the document in question

"Wdesk is not a cost for our company. It's an investment," said Anne Gadegaard, Associate Director, Senior Advisor, Corporate Sustainability.

Novo Nordisk has started using the platform not only for SEC reporting but also its integrated annual report, which includes the full financial, social and environmental performance. With so much shared data between the SEC Form 20-F and the annual report, Novo Nordisk uses data-linking functionality to create a single source of truth for both reports.

Blacklines and the robust audit trail in the platform give Novo Nordisk the ability to easily see who has changed what and when, and then share that information with the company's audit committee. Everyone works on a single draft of the integrated annual report that updates itself as soon as users share changes, so no one worries whether he or she has the right version of the document.

Having a single point of entry into a document gives the reporting team control over the data and its process, minimising the risk of reporting inaccurate information.

Reviewers' comments and users' responses are housed within the document, saving the hassle of tracking down who has reviewed a section. The transparency gives Novo Nordisk's users confidence in the accuracy of their documents and data.

"Our process is so much more agile now," Anne said. "We saved time and made a number of steps redundant. There is such an efficiency gain, and we can’t wait to explore more opportunities.

"With Wdesk, we are able to turn around the presentation of data and text in our annual report faster to management," she said.

After finalising the Novo Nordisk Annual Report 2017, the team onboarded investor relations to use Wdesk for quarterly company announcements. Next, the company plans to explore using it for more management reporting as well as having a look at what Wdata Prep, a data preparation solution from Workiva, can do for Novo Nordisk.

"You don't understand what Wdesk can do for your organisation until you get your hands into it," Anne said.

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

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