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finance transformation

10 Sessions That Caught Our Eye for the 2022 Workiva Amplify Conference

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So much to observe and learn, so little time. That’s our unofficial motto for the 2022 Workiva Amplify conference, what promises to be a veritable feast of insights, best practices, and good times – in no particular order.

In fact, there’s so much to take in this year, we thought it only fitting to give you a rundown of the sessions that really caught our eye. Now, in keeping with our motto, you’ll find some overlap between a couple of them so, although choosing between them might not be easy, you won’t be able to attend all 10 of these sessions. No matter which you focus on, however, be prepared for some serious learning.

Other than that, the Amplify sessions run September 12-14 in Las Vegas, so be sure to register, book that airfare if you haven’t already, and keep checking the conference agenda for the most up-to-date session schedule. We’ll see you there!

The Business Intelligence Revolution: The Road to Data-Driven Decision Making

1. SEC Professionals Group Q3 Meeting

  • Course level: Discovery (Overview)
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Accounting

 

Course Description: In the last two years, companies have seen crisis after crisis with COVID and supply chain disruptions, now coupled with inflation and war in Ukraine. Throw ESG reporting rules into the mix, and preparers are challenged to keep up with the evolving landscape.

This session will answer questions submitted by SEC Professionals Group members. While the SEC Professionals Group hosts this session, non-members are encouraged to join and hear insights on these timely topics. 

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify the SEC's focus areas when reviewing disclosures
  • Prepare for evolving disclosure needs of key stakeholders
  • Apply best practices when working with the SEC on disclosure questions

Prerequisites: This session is designed for professionals with knowledge and experience in the domain mentioned in the title and/or course description.

Why we want to attend: It's always beneficial to get Workiva’s perspective on recent SEC announcements, not to mention any new features and directions for the platform. To that point, with some updates to how companies will interface with EDGAR, we’re interested to see if Workiva will change their own interface and if there will be any real impact to filers or customers.

 

2. Customer Spotlight: Leverage Workiva to Streamline Financial Reporting

  • Course level: Discovery (Overview)
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Finance

Course Description: Get a deeper look at how a Workiva customer leverages the Workiva platform throughout the financial reporting process. Experts will be on hand to discuss how Workiva has helped them automate manual tasks, improve workflows, and mitigate the risk of error and beyond.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify how a Workiva customer utilizes Workiva to drive scalable, repeatable financial reporting processes
  • Demonstrate how to leverage Workiva to save time and effort
  • Experiment in Roundtable formats to trade insights with professional peers

Prerequisites: No prerequisite knowledge is required to attend this session.

Why we want to attend: This is one of those sessions where the title says it all. Who wouldn't want a bunch of best practices for using Workiva to drive faster, more accurate and insightful financial reporting? No one, that's who. Expert advice from a team of experts sounds like time well spent.

3. All Aboard the Management Reporting Train

  • Course level: Advanced
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Business Management & Organization

Course Description: With data volume expanding—and updating—at the speed of light, the possibilities for Management Reporting are ever-increasing. Embark will discuss the reasons behind the customers' expansion and what it's like to have different sets of numbers managed on the same platform.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Produce a streamlined process for your team
  • Infer how to create dynamic performance reports using Workiva
  • Develop impactful presentations for stakeholders using data connections, data visualization, and more

Prerequisites: This session provides a deep dive into topic areas. Information is directed to an audience who has significant experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: Yes, we happen to be the session leaders for this one, but we promise that has absolutely nothing to do with us choosing  – scout’s honor. Just think about the staggering streams of data you have flowing through your different business segments each and every day. And those streams will just get more intense with time, making it critical for your team to efficiently handle all of that information and, just as importantly, present it in a way that provides real value to your stakeholders and decision-makers.

 

4. Accelerating Your ESG Journey from End-to-End Draft

  • Course level: Discovery (Overview)
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Business Management & Organization

Course Description: Join this panel discussion to discover best practices on the frontlines of starting, evolving, and scaling ESG programs for their clients. We’ll cover pro tips for getting started with ESG, recommendations for connecting and automating ESG data, and real-world examples from organizations making the most of their investments in ESG.

Accelerate your ESG program! After this session, attendees will be able to:

  • Identify best practices for scaling your ESG investments from end-to-end
  • Transform your on-ramp to audit-ready ESG reporting
  • Describe lessons learned from the ESG advisory and implementation team at Forvis
  • Apply recommendations from Workiva customers for collecting and automating ESG data  

Prerequisites: No prerequisite knowledge is required to attend this session.

Why we want to attend: Love it or hate it, ESG reporting is an inevitability, particularly with the SEC now officially off of the sidelines. That makes this session particularly relevant, likely covering what ESG is all about, what the reporting requirements might entail, and how a company can get its ESG reporting function up and running, scaling it as reporting requirements and expectations increase.

 

5. Promoting Harmony between Finance and Accounting Groups

  • Course level: Discovery (Overview)
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Finance

Course Description: Connect Accounting and Finance through purpose-built solutions. Streamline the entire office of the CFO, from month-end close to external reporting and everything in between. Discover how Planful has utilized the Workiva platform to automate the creation of financial statements and the sharing of footnote data.

During this session, attendees will:

  • Investigate the gap between accounting and finance
  • Combine Reconciliations, Consolidation, Budgeting/Forecasting, Internal Reporting all in one
  • Discuss reducing risk by connecting systems
  • Identify best-in-class point solutions brought together in a single tech stack

Prerequisites: No prerequisite knowledge is required to attend this session.


Why we want to attend: With all of the integration work we've been handling between Plentiful and Workiva lately, it only makes sense that we'd want to soak up every possible insight and best practice. You might want to attend this session if you want to hear details about how the Planful API connector works, what it's intended to do, and how it allows you to sync information between FP&A and your external reporting group.

 

6. Automated Financial Reporting with Wdata & the Workiva Platform

  • Course level: Intermediate
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Computer Software & Applications (Workiva)

Course Description: Do you spend a lot of effort publishing the latest financial data from several data sources (ERP, EPM, HR, manual Excels etc.) into Wdesk spreadsheets? Do you sense there’s more you could be automating if you had a better idea of what was possible? Do you want to spend more effort on practical data analysis and decision-making instead of copying/pasting data from several sources?

This session will explore how to transfer and transform data from various sources into Workiva platform reports using Wdata, also looking at case studies with best practices learned from recent implementations on different popular platforms.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify untapped opportunities to source financial data (from several sources) using native Wdata connectors or web services
  • Apply best practices related to connecting your EPM systems to the Workiva platform
  • Appraise and make use of imperfect or partial data such as ragged and/or skip-level parent-child hierarchies 

Prerequisites: This session takes a look at specific Workiva features. Information is directed to an audience who is familiar with Workiva solutions, but may have limited experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: Once again, this is an area where Embark has already been doing quite a bit of work lately. Therefore, we’re interested in comparing and contrasting our approach to how other groups tackle similar work. Since they’re speaking specifically on popular platforms – Hyperion, NetSuite, and Sage, amongst others – we want to hear about potential upsides and downsides to each.

 

7. Reporting Efficiencies & Using Workiva to Pivot During Change

  • Course level: Intermediate
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Computer Software & Applications (Workiva)

Course Description: This session will focus on optimizing SEC reporting with Workiva, even in the face of multiple acquisition integrations, a rapidly evolving tech stack, and a complex data environment.

Session leaders will discuss how Workiva can add significant value, driving new reporting efficiencies despite significant hurdles and complexities. The discussion will include a pending ERP implementation, using Wdata to connect source systems along with other Workiva solutions on management reporting, internal controls, and other key areas to build a fluid and connected environment. 

These topics will be part of a more extensive presentation encompassing the benefits of implementing the right technology solutions into your FP&A processes. Discover the importance of combining impactful tools with experienced cross-functional teams that can address implementation and technical reporting needs, maximizing the value of your investment.

During this session, attendees will learn to:

  • Simplify cleaning up and optimizing your data environment to make Workiva a user-friendly, intuitive experience for your team
  • Distinguish the benefits of using a single document in Workiva for both quarterly and annual reporting
  • Utilize Workiva to make future system implementations – an ERP, in particular – a much easier lift for your team

Prerequisites: This session provides a deep dive into topic areas. Information is directed to an audience who is familiar with the topic but may have limited experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: Okay, this is another session with Embark at the helm, but we’d be focusing on it even if we weren’t the session leaders. As you know all too well, business is dynamic if it’s anything these days, so your SEC reporting must be agile, perpetually pivoting to whatever operations and the market can throw at it. Thankfully, as we’ll demonstrate in the session, Workiva unlocks this ability for you, simultaneously generating critical insights FP&A can use to provide leadership with genuine business intelligence

 

8. The Rise of Operational Accounting

  • Course level: Discovery (Overview)
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Accounting

Course Description: As the shift to digital accelerates, so does the speed of business. This reality presents a growing challenge to today’s finance and accounting functions to shift their focus from tactical to strategic and operational. 

Operational excellence is the mandate for accounting teams - which means faster answers with more certainty and better teamwork. Accounting processes can no longer run in traditional ways and must change to meet the new business realities. Accountants have a lot on their plates--so how does a busy accounting team adapt to the new realities without causing massive disruption to their critical enterprise processes like the Close, FP&A, Reporting, and Compliance?

This session will explore the impact of increasing digitalization across the Office of the CFO, the rise of operational accounting, and how to navigate these changes without disruption.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Identify the impact of digitalization in the Office of the CFO
  • Define the shift to operational accounting
  • Demonstrate the need to modernize without disruption
  • Examine emerging skill-sets required for accounting success

Prerequisites: This session provides a deep dive into topic areas. Information is directed to an audience who has significant experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: Led by one of our strategic partners, this session promises to focus on day-to-day operational accounting and how it can fit into the Workiva platform. The session leaders from FloQast will likely cover automating accounting workflows along with those pesky day-to-day tasks like booking journal entries, reconciliations, and others.

 

9. Private Fund Accounting and Reporting Accelerated

  • Course level: Intermediate
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Accounting

Course Description: Discover how Workiva enables an integrated reporting platform for Private Equity, Real Estate, and Hedge Fund leaders. From investment performance and valuation reporting to fund accounting and investor reporting, connected templates automate report creation utilizing a single source of truth.

The result is a secure collaboration space for fund stakeholders, enabling CFOs to spend more time analyzing deals and advising the business managers.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Describe a best in class Reporting Transformation approach for Private Equity Funds and Private Real Estate Funds.
  • Identify Common Challenges in current Reporting Tools and Methodologies
  • Discuss regulatory proposals and how Workiva helps Private Equity CFOs manage compliance with those regulations
  • Identify best practices and common challenges for implementation approaches and understand steps to avoid common challenges
  • Recognize real-life use cases for Private Equity (and Real Estate) Fund Reporting Optimization

Prerequisites: This session provides a deep dive into topic areas. Information is directed to an audience who is familiar with the topic but may have limited experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: This session focuses on investment fund reporting, an area where Embark does quite a bit of continuity work in addition to Workiva implementations. We want to hear what the session leaders have to say about automating the fund financial reporting process, specifically, how recent Workiva updates are being applied in this area.

 

10. What's New in '22 for Financial Reporting

  • Course level: Discovery (Overview)
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Computer Software & Applications (Workiva)

Course Description: Finance is uniquely positioned to drive transformation initiatives that benefit the entire organization. Come along for a whirlwind tour of Workiva and learn what's new with trust and transparency. This session will show you how to apply these innovations to your firm's Finance and accounting disciplines.

After this session, you will be able to:

  • Explain new feature  benefits to your team
  • Identify opportunities to adopt new products and capabilities
  • Plan your transition to using the new capabilities within Workiva

Prerequisites: This session provides a deep dive into topic areas. Information is directed to an audience who is familiar with the topic but may have limited experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: This is more of an overview of the Workiva product, where they'll discuss some of the new features, functionalities, and toolsets that Workiva has released so far in 2022, along with what they have planned for the remainder of the year. We’re excited to see how we can take advantage of upcoming features on the ever-evolving Workiva platform to make the reporting process even friendlier and more efficient for our clients.

 

Truthfully, we could include a dozen or two Amplify sessions that we know will be amazing. For the sake of brevity, though, we culled the list down to ten. Or at least we tried to, until we read about this doozy of a session that speaks directly to our collective accounting heart:

 

Bonus Round

Advanced Spreadsheet Skills.

  • Course level: Advanced
  • CPE credits: 1
  • Field of study: Computer Software & Applications

Course Description: How do you structure your data most effectively? This session will discuss formula tips and tricks, template creation, linking updates, and utilization of authorship, among other advanced spreadsheet skills.

After this session, you’ll be able to:

  • Determine how to adopt new capabilities within Spreadsheets
  • Apply these new features and functionalities to optimize your processes and reports
  • Explain the new capabilities in Workiva Spreadsheets to your team

Prerequisites: This session provides a deep dive into topic areas. Information is directed to an audience who has significant experience implementing the concepts being covered.

Why we want to attend: Granted, the title of this one might not sound especially thrilling at first glance. However, as we all know, this topic will always be extremely relevant to us accounting and finance folk. We’re especially looking forward to an update on functionality, particularly how some of the new features can make the data flows more efficient..

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The Business Intelligence Revolution

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