Workiva Supports Investar Bank in M&A Process

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Growth is great for business. But in banking, it often means more work for the financial reporting team. That’s the challenge Candace LeBlanc, Director of Financial Reporting at Investar Bank, faced when the Baton Rouge-based financial institution announced plans to acquire a Texas bank.

The company’s SEC counsel assumed a traditional printer would handle the Form S-4 registration statement for the acquisition, but Candace had other ideas. She was using Workiva for SEC reporting and believed the solution could also be used to produce a Form S-4.

Candace was right. Not only does Workiva handle hundreds of SEC form types, their Capital Markets Client Services Team provides professional services and one-to-one support for companies needing help with capital market transactions.

“It was the perfect solution. We wanted our SEC counsel to have control over the report. Then we would be able to drop in tables and numerical data.”

–Candace LeBlanc, Director of Financial Reporting

The Workiva team helped Investar’s SEC counsel with every aspect of the report from the strategy and managing the data, to formatting and EDGARizing. “That’s huge because when dealing with a 200-page document, I don’t have time to scrutinize every single page after the fact,” Candace says.

The Workiva team was always standing by, even when the SEC counsel needed a change during the weekend. “Fifteen minutes later, the change was there,” says Candace. “It’s just been great from all aspects of service. They’re incredible.”

She adds that the bank’s SEC counsel from the law firm Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford is a “big fan” of using the capital markets solution from Workiva.

“After our experience, I can’t express how refreshing it was. The full service their capital markets team provided, in combination with the technology, set a new standard for us. Workiva gave us an option to rethink how we can most efficiently run these types of complex deals.”

–Stephanie Kalahurka, Partner, Fenimore, Kay, Harrison & Ford

The decision to move to Workiva

The process was not always this easy. When Candace joined Investar, the newly public company used a traditional printer to produce SEC reports. During her first 10-Q for Investar, Candace was constantly scanning documents and comparing markups.

“It was just a very inefficient way of getting things done,” she says.

The printer recommended its own SEC reporting software to improve the process. However, after using it to produce several reports, Candace says, “It wasn’t the best technology available.” She had seen a Workiva demo and was impressed, but felt she could not justify the investment to management at the time.

Fast forward a year to Candace reviewing invoices from the printer: “When I discovered what we were paying for our annual report and proxy statement, I knew I had a case for switching to a better solution.”

Stephanie says there was some initial hesitation when Investar brought up the idea of leveraging Workiva and changing the standard workflow, but she felt comfortable starting down that path after talking through the process.

“Working with Workiva was a no-brainer,” Candace says.

Workiva quickly proved to be much more efficient at producing all the company’s SEC reports, including proxy statements. “I thought, ‘I wish we had switched sooner,’” says Candace.

Some of Candace’s favorite aspects of the Workiva platform are blackline reviews—which enable her group to easily compare what has changed from one version of a document to the next—and always having control over documents. She notes that even Investar’s external counsel likes working in the solution.

“Workiva has saved us many hours of work and many headaches,” she says.

Having worked with ineffective, inefficient reporting software and a “full-service” printer, Candace says she has found the right fit with Workiva.

“When it comes down to cost and efficiency,” she says, “Workiva is the only solution.”

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