7 tips for starting the reporting year strong

When it comes to investor-grade reporting, SEC reporting professionals need to be on top of their game. And as the close of first quarter approaches for many, now is a good time to take inventory of your reporting disclosures, the process of assembling them, and lessons learned from last year. Here are some ideas for getting your reporting year off to a solid start:

1. Conduct a post-mortem.

Revisit what went well (and what didn’t) last year. The goal is to create an open forum where everyone feels comfortable to contribute, so allow enough time for thoughtful conversation. As your team connects, note any action items that require immediate attention with a plan to follow up—because Q1 is at your doorstep already!

2. Read the CEO message and MD&A.

Whether you played a hand in writing them or not, take time to carefully read through the reports and encourage your team to do the same. Aim to stay aligned with the broader organizational strategy—not get buried in the numbers.

3. Touch base with your legal team.

Have they reviewed the latest SEC guidance and regulations for earnings release disclosures, non-GAAP measures and metrics, and forward-looking statements? How about ESG and MD&A disclosures?

4. Review accounting policies.

Double check that there are no pronouncements that need your attention. The start of a new fiscal year is when new accounting standards and changes to existing policies are made. Those disclosure updates will need to be incorporated.

5. Get ahead of the game.

There’s no time like the present to begin planning for next year’s audit—don’t leave this to Q3! Identify areas that might be scrutinized by auditors and take steps to address potential issues, including those from the previous audit.

6. Overcommunicate.

Keep an open line with senior management, auditors, investors, and analysts that cover your company. For smooth sailing going forward, everyone should be on the same page.

7. Automate where you can.

There are a host of digital reporting tools designed to enhance the efficiency of your reporting, cut manual tasks, remove risk, and enable better insights. Workiva is one of them, as it gives you a clear view of your data so you can easily identify trends and reduce discrepancies​.

But if there’s one takeaway from this list, it’s this: Digital reporting is the way forward. We’re talking streamlined external audits, version control and audit history, ensured compliance across regulations, and a single source of truth for financial data to inform critical decisions.

When you’re ready to explore how a digital reporting software like Workiva can take your financial reporting and accuracy to the next level—and make your life easier—we’re here.

Categories: Digital reporting, Workiva
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