Workiva [NYSE:WK]: Automating Compliance for Business Productivity

Matthew Rizai, Chairman & CEO
With more than two decades of experience in software development, Workiva [NYSE:WK] CEO Matthew Rizai explains, “A common complaint we hear from traditional GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) software users is a lack of version control of their data and reports.” The larger the team, the greater the problem—each person has a different version of the information, and often no one knows which document or spreadsheet is the most current. Also, traditional GRC platforms have complex architectures, are predominantly suitable for on-premise delivery models, and primarily focus on only a small group of core GRC practitioners. Workiva addresses these issues by leveraging the cloud to integrate data centrally for its GRC customers, which removes the burden of locating, organizing, and updating information.

Workiva’s software platform, Wdesk, is a 100-percent cloud solution used by enterprises to collect, organize, link, report, and analyze business data with control and accountability. With Wdesk, all data is linked from a single source. Any time a data point is changed, the data automatically updates across all occurrences in real time. “This means that consistency issues with conflicting versions living in disparate locations is a thing of the past,” remarks Rizai. Wdesk enhances data quality for both internal and external stakeholders. The Wdesk data platform also powers one of the largest and fastest spreadsheet applications in the cloud. “The effective combination of speed, security and usability—facilitated by the cloud— sets Wdesk apart from other solutions.”

Today, over 2 billion data values are linked among Wdesk documents. This creates a single source of truth for Workiva’s customers, which results in significant savings in terms of time and money. A 2016 Forrester Total Economic Impact study revealed that a multinational auto-parts retailer recognized more than $411,000 in total benefits and cost savings over a three-year period with Wdesk.

The effective combination of speed, security and usability—facilitated by the cloud—sets Wdesk apart from other solutions

The auto-parts retailer, with annual revenue of over $9 billion, used Wdesk to increase efficiency and reduce errors in creating, documenting, and assessing internal controls over financial reporting as required by SOX. With all of this time saved, Wdesk customers can focus on evaluating and mitigating risk and making strategic business decisions— instead of manual and repetitive steps in their day-to-day risk, audit, and internal controls work.

Apart from the direct monetary benefits that accrue to its customers, Workiva can also point to customer satisfaction scores above 95 percent and customer revenue retention rates exceeding 95 percent, which confirms that the company is a trusted partner for its clients. Another significant factor that sets Workiva apart is that the company follows a Human Asset Management approach to employee relations, which primarily focuses on improving the employees’ quality of life, so they feel empowered by the company’s goals, values, and culture.

“Our ambition is to redefine the way enterprises work, and our high customer satisfaction rates show that we are being successful,” extols Rizai. In just over six years, Workiva went from zero customers to serving over 2,600 customers, including 65 percent of the Fortune 500. “We started in the SEC market, but now we are serving customers in the audit, risk, finance, and SOX markets,” he concludes.


Ames, IA

Matthew Rizai, Chairman & CEO

Specializes in compliance, disclosure management, enterprise risk management, corporate financial planning and analysis, regulatory risk reporting, and audit management solutions