If you are a finance, accounting, or compliance professional in the US, it’s a busy time as you begin to prepare your company’s financial and compliance reports for each quarter’s filing to the SEC. This is when you begin the tedious exercise of preparing a draft report which later develops into the final version. You patiently start building the reporting piece by piece, trying to capture every block of information with accuracy. Many of you undoubtedly spend at least a couple of sleepless nights and tiring days trying to bring it together, to the constant background score of the ticking clock.

Once a draft of your 10-Q or 10-K is prepared, it is sent to the company’s financial printer who works on creating the XBRL and EDGAR versions that are required for the actual filing to the SEC. Every compliance professional who has ever gone through this process knows that there is almost no probability of the first version being the last one.

You start working on a document and create versions of it in order to keep track of changes. You pass it on to your colleague for review who then inserts his or her own set of comments, changes it or sometimes even re-does it as a newer version and returns it back to you. This often leads to an ambiguous situation, where it becomes difficult to keep track of all versions flying around or available.

Not only is this process tiring, but also time-intensive, anxiety-ridden and heavy on the pocket. And what’s more, once you lose control to the printer’s team, you lose all visibility of the document!

Sounds like a classic recipe for disaster.

Or not.

Cloud-Based Compliance Planning

Not if you have a cloud-based platform incorporated in your compliance planning. From a world of emails and back and forth between your team and the financial printer, you are transported to one where your whole team–be it internal or external–can collaborate and work on the same document at the same time, eliminating the need to keep versions. All you need is an internet connection!

While cloud applications have been around for some time, here are some common questions:

Aren’t cloud-solutions usually expensive and involve IT investment? More importantly, how secure is my data?

Your IT team does not have to invest time or resources for developers to get a SaaS solution. There are ready-to-use SaaS disclosure management solutions specializing in SEC reporting with the ability to prepare, finalize your documents, generate XBRL, EDGAR and iXBRL as needed and file from the platform itself to the SEC.

In terms of security, it depends on the cloud-solution provider that the platform is hosted with, and also the data security aspects of the cloud solution itself, such as encryption levels and standards used. SaaS solutions are definitely more secure than the traditional emails that you send to a printer to get your XBRL and EDGAR HTML created.

How do multiple people collaborate and work on one document?

In any session, a cloud application will allow a user to work on a particular section only, locking it for editing by others while the user’s work is in progress. The next user working on the particular part of the document automatically starts with the updated version – literally starting from where the previous user stopped. Users are always working on the latest version of the document. ALWAYS.

How do documents get passed from one user to the other for review and approvals?

Documents do not pass from one user to the other. Once done working on the document, a user can submit it for review via a notification from the cloud-based solution itself, rather than having to print or attach it to emails and then send it for review.

How are versions controlled and managed?

Users can create and manage versions of the document on the platform itself. Such versions are stored in the platform, with an audit trail of each version. If required, you can restore past versions, check changes made by colleagues and review or comment. But by default, everyone is always on the latest (and hopefully greatest) version.

SaaS Solutions are a game-changer in the compliance and business reporting space. These applications make teams globally more productive, and enable collaboration at the same time ensuring saving costs. Whoever said every cloud has a silver lining actually knew what they were talking about! The uses of collaborative authoring, especially in the context of something as critical as your compliance reporting, wouldn’t be available if it weren’t for the cloud.

IRIS CARBON®: Your Compliance Partner

IRIS CARBON® is a cloud-based, collaborative compliance management platform that addresses the end-to-end reporting needs of an enterprise. IRIS CARBON® comes with a number of benefits such as collaborative working, centralized version creation and management, smart editor and spreadsheet linking, online review-and-comment, roll forward, integrated validations, single-source multiple outputs, filing from the platform to the SEC, and much more. IRIS CARBON® also comes bundled with the highest quality service support, so you get all the services that your financial printer offers you and more.

For a Free Demo of the IRIS CARBON® Solution.