Workiva 2018: Year in Review

From the Workiva blog:

Thank you to our customers, employees, partners, and communities for yet another exciting year. From new solutions to a record number of hours saved, you made 2018 memorable.

Here is what you helped make happen this year:

  • Over 75 percent of Fortune 500® companies now use Workiva for reporting, compliance, and data management*
  • Finance and accounting teams began using Wdata to capture, connect, and prepare larger amounts of data for reporting and analysis in Wdesk
  • Compliance teams used our new internal audit management solution
  • Wdesk passed rigorous tests for protecting government data and earned the FedRAMP Authorization to Operate
  • More than 1,700 attendees shared ideas at our largest annual Workiva User Conference ever
  • People continue to leverage Workiva to get work done faster, easier, and with fewer mistakes, which resulted in a 95 percent customer satisfaction score

These are just a few highlights from an incredible year, and we look forward to accomplishing even more together in 2019!

*Claim not confirmed by FORTUNE or TIME INC. FORTUNE® and FORTUNE 500® are registered trademarks of Time Inc. and are used under license. FORTUNE and Time Inc. are not affiliated with, and do not endorse products or services of, Workiva Inc.

CNBC: Tech unicorns are accelerating 2019 IPO plans amid choppy markets, JP Morgan says

From CNBC.com:

  • The sharp decline in equities this month has bankers feverishly working to help companies file earlier in 2019 on the risk that markets get even less accommodating later, according to J.P. Morgan’s global chairman of investment banking Jennifer Nason.
  • Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, WeWork, Slack and Palantir could all be publicly traded by next year, according to Nason.
CEO of Uber

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Dara Khosrowshahi, chief executive officer of Uber Technologies.

The world’s biggest start-ups will probably push ahead with initial public offerings next year despite markets that have been in free-fall lately, according to J.P. Morgan’s global chairman of investment banking Jennifer Nason.

In fact, the sharp decline in stocks this month has investment bankers feverishly working to help companies file earlier in 2019 on the risk that markets get even less accommodating later in the year, Nason said.

“Anyone thinking they had plans to go public in 2019 is accelerating those plans,” she said in an interview. “The first half of 2019 could be a lot better than the second half of 2019 or 2020. Market risk is a funny thing; it’s not just happening now and then it disappears next year.”

Next year could be a record one for IPOs if start-ups including ridesharing firms Uber and Lyft go public. Uber, reportedly valued at $120 billion, represents a class of industry-disrupting companies that is finally ready to list publicly traded shares after spending years tapping private sources of cash, becoming established brands in the process.

Of the firms that also include Airbnb, WeWork, Slack and Palantir, Nason said she expects “most or all of those companies will be public” next year. Pinterest, Robinhood and Instacart could also choose to list in 2019.

It’s a critical time to be testing demand on public markets. After reaching record highs in September, stock indexes declined on worries over the U.S.-China trade dispute and rising interest rates. Then stocks plunged further this month, putting December on track to be the worst for equities since the Great Depression.

The jolt in markets is a reminder that companies face a narrowing window to go public before a nearly decade-long economic expansion ends. When that happens, corporations will have a harder time persuading investors to pay for the valuations that bankers have painstakingly settled on. Already, the decline in tech shares since September has several newly public firms trading below their debut prices.

But solid companies that are upending the established order will probably do well in most market scenarios, said Nason, a three-decade J.P. Morgan veteran who spent most of her career in technology, media and telecommunications banking. Visa, for instance, went public in March 2008 and managed to beat market indices for years.

“I don’t like all this volatility, it scares people, but I think it’s being overplayed, there are bigger forces as work,” Nason said. “This is a freight train of innovation; there’s no Dow or Nasdaq up or down a few hundred points that’s going to change that. There’s so much capital out there looking for opportunities to invest in these paradigm shifts.”

Read the original CNBC.com article here.

CNBC.com: Get ready for the $200 billion IPO shakeup in 2019

From CNBC.com:

  • Uber and Lyft lead a handful of Silicon Valley multibillion-dollar companies founded during the last recession that may go public in 2019.
  • With many economists forecasting a recession by 2020, it seems these rideshare companies, as well as other rumored IPO candidates, such as Airbnb, Slack and Palantir, may be racing against a recession clock for deals that in all could reach more than $200 billion in valuation.
  • History shows the IPO market does suffer when stocks and the broader economy tank, but big names like Uber and Lyft can likely get deals done in any market. They just may have to swallow lower deal pricing than they want.
tencent

Photo: NYSE
Tencent Music Entertainment Group (NYSE: TME) celebrates its initial public offering and first day of trading on the NYSE on Wednesday, Dec. 12. The deal was priced lower than initial expectations given the weaker overall market, but did rise in first-day trading. But it slipped below its $13 offering price by the close last Friday.

Two recent deals in the initial public offering market show the problem that Uber, Lyft and other multibillion-dollar private Silicon Valley companies, such as Airbnb, Palantir Technologies and Slack, will face if they proceed with IPOs in 2019: finding a deal price that investors will support rather than pummel right from the first day of trading.

With all three major U.S. stock indexes ending last week in correction, and more economists forecasting a recession by 2020, these IPO candidates — some already filed and some just rumored — are racing against both a softening stock market and a recession clock for deals that in all could reach more than $200 billion in valuation.

Moderna Therapeutics went public in the largest biotech offering ever earlier this month, raising more than $600 million. It didn’t price at the high end but rather the mid-end of its range, and shares of Moderna have been destroyed since, down roughly 20 percent since it opened.

Tencent Music gave the market a minor surprise by getting its deal done this week among the volatile market conditions and economic weakening in China, its home base. To succeed, Tencent had to price at the low end of its range, $13, a concession that has led to shares holding close to the $13 level in their first few days of trading. No pop that is customary for post-IPO first trades (18.7 percent for IPO first-day trades on average from 1980 to 2017), but no tanking.

Uber, Lyft, Palantir and Slack — all which have spent multiple years on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list — are considering IPOs that, according to recent reports, could reach a combined valuation over $200 billion, with Uber getting most of it: Uber ($120 billion), Lyft ($15 billion to $20 billion), Palantir ($41 billion), Airbnb ($31 billion) Slack ($7 billion).

Yet the companies need to weigh what investors will bear in terms of pricing. Some reports have insinuated that Uber and Lyft may be rushing to get deals done — both recently filed confidentially for IPOs. But the truth may be that their time to go public has simply come and they were never going to get to choose the perfect market conditions.

“I don’t like the narrative that ‘they know it is the top,'” said Kathleen Smith, principal at Renaissance Capital, which provides IPO research and manages IPO ETFs. “It takes time for these companies to go through the process. It is hard going public, and it very well may be that they were working on IPOs all year.”

Smith said 2017 or the first half of 2018 might have been a better time to get an IPO done, but venture investors want an exit, and pricing pressure on deals is the price these highly valued start-ups may have to pay.

Read the full, original CNBC.com article here.

New Case Study: Firm Uses Wdesk to Beat Own Record for Filing a 10-K

Firm Uses Wdesk

From Workiva.com: When Heather Krupa first joined Global Water Resources, she had to take a step back in time to remember when she had to use something other than Wdesk for SEC reporting.

“We have to go to Wdesk because this is horrible.”

–Heather Krupa, Controller, Global Water Resources

After sharing her experience and explaining the benefits of Wdesk, Heather convinced the water resource management company to make the switch to Wdesk. As a result, Global Water Resources was able to file its 10-K a day earlier than it ever had. Even more impressive: the filing schedule included the time Heather took to train a new hire on XBRL tagging.

Part of the time-savings came from the ability for multiple users to work on the same document simultaneously. The reporting team also had control over what auditors, top executives, and board members could see and when.

Previously, with another SEC reporting platform, Heather said she had to remember what a pilcrow is (hint: it is a paragraph marker) and that she had to insert one before editing information. She also remembers spending a 12-hour day chasing rounders.

In Wdesk, the interface is designed to be extremely user-friendly. Linking, commenting, and audit trails help contributors see source data and improve data governance and transparency. In comparison to a competing platform Heather has also used, “The linking functionality within Wdesk is definitely superior,” she said.

Heather says Wdesk streamlines processes and allows her to focus on the value she delivers as a certified public accountant (CPA).

“I am always trying to ask how can we do this faster and how can we do this better,” she said. “Accounting is not a 9-to-5 job. If I can get it to be as close to 9-to-8 as possible, the better. The only way to do that is either get more people, which may run up against cost constraints, or find better ways of doing it. Technology is what’s helping foster the ability to get more work done in less time.”

Download case study here.

Wall Street Journal: Workiva CFO chimes in on Uber IPO

From WSJ.com

Uber IPO: A Lot Will Ride on CFO’s Choice of Metrics, Timing

Finance chief Nelson Chai will have to decide whether Uber will go ahead or trail rival Lyft and what performance indicators to share with investors

uber

Uber Technologies Inc.’s finance chief will play a critical numbers game as the ride-hailing service races toward an initial public offering riding a potential valuation of $120 billion.

Central to the IPO will be the metrics Nelson Chai, who became Uber’s chief financial officer last month, chooses to justify what some experts consider a lofty valuation for a company that doesn’t expect to be profitable for at least three years.

The figures will help him craft a compelling growth narrative that drives discussions with investors and underwriters as he helps determine the timing of the San Francisco company’s roadshow and listing. Mr. Chai’s targets for revenue and rider growth and other performance indicators will set the benchmark for how Wall Street tracks the company.

“You almost have to look ahead a few years and ask, ‘What am I going to look like? And what are my metrics going to be, and will they stand the test of time?’ ” said Jackie Kelley, the Americas IPO markets leader at Ernst & Young LLC.

Mr. Chai won’t have the luxury of time to deliberate because of the uniquely competitive nature of this offering, according to finance chiefs with IPO experience. Uber’s biggest U.S. competitor Lyft. Inc. is also angling to go public, meaning both companies could be presenting to underwriters and investors almost simultaneously. Both Uber and Lyft declined to comment.

If Lyft can make its case first, the numbers it uses could influence Uber’s conversations with investors. Metrics Mr. Chai uses to describe Uber’s expected growth and business drivers might then be compared with figures issued by the company’s smaller rival.

“If you’re the first one out, you can pick your comparables,” said Stuart Miller, CFO of Workiva Inc., who helped take the professional services software company public in 2014. “If you’re the second one out, there’s only one comparable.”

Trailing Lyft to the market could also stoke doubts about whether Uber’s valuation premium over that of Lyft was large enough, he said. Lyft is expected to debut above its most recent valuation of $15.1 billion.

The $120 billion Uber valuation floated by bankers is a leap from its most recent funding round, which valued the company at $76 billion. The new figure likely includes as much as $20 billion in cash Uber and its current backers will raise from the public market, said Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida.

Read the full, original WSJ.com article here.