Are There Softwares for Disclosure Management?
Disclosure management—it’s vital to the survival of a company, but the whole process can be a hassle. You have to cram tons of key data points into one document that essentially represents your organization's overall health.
And of course, the data won’t stand still while you’re preparing disclosures, so you also have to manage that moving target. This can easily result in inaccuracies that could lead to legal action, fines and penalties, misled decision-making, or even reputational damage.
Fortunately, modern solutions exist for these issues in the form of disclosure management software. If you’re searching for this kind of software for your organization, read on to learn what tools and features you should be looking for.
What Is a Disclosure Management Tool?
Many businesses are familiar with using traditional disclosure management tools, like Microsoft Word and Excel. These are great to start, but they have their limitations. You still have to manually organize and update your data across multiple documents and spreadsheets saved in different locations, which gets messy and almost guarantees human error.
Disclosure management software is a tool designed to enhance and support the trademark features of these programs. By using a single, collaborative software, you can rest assured you are organized and on track for meeting regulatory reporting deadlines.
What Is an Example of a Disclosure Management Software Tool?
As you explore different disclosure management tools, you’ll want to find one that works for your unique needs. On a base level, disclosure management software should have tools that assist with:
- Workflow - Managing disclosures from start to finish is never a one-and-done task (as much as we wish it was). You must keep track of hundreds of tasks along the way. A good disclosure management software will allow you to create the necessary workflows to keep track of all moving parts. For example, Fluence Disclosure Management (powered by Sturnis365) allows you to define your own ad-hoc workflow, designate users and groups for assignments, prioritize tasks, and utilize many other workflow benefits.
- Automation - A major benefit of disclosure software is that it eliminates the tedious task of copying and pasting data—then having to do it all over again when the data changes. To avoid this, look for software that automates data extraction and input from external sources. This will promote consistency across your reporting, as the data will update across all links any time the originating source is changed. Fluence will also monitor underlying data sources and notify you of broken links.
- Collaboration - It takes multiple people working together to successfully prepare an organization’s various disclosures. For this reason, you’ll want to find a program that facilitates collaboration. With Fluence, you can work concurrently on different parts of a single document, so no more waiting for colleagues to finish and close a document before jumping in.
- Integration - If you already have multiple methods in place for preparing disclosures, the thought of transitioning to a new system may sound headache-inducing. Not to fear, as disclosure management software's integration and add-in capabilities can simplify this task. If you’re already using Office 365, for example, Fluence has an add-in for Office 365 to make the transition easy and keep the learning curve low.
And as you shop around for disclosure management software, keep in mind that most regulatory agencies now require XBRL (eXtensible Business Reporting Language) in all disclosures. If you’re not an XBRL expert, here’s what you need to know.
What Is XBRL Reporting Software?
XBRL is a global standard for reporting and disclosures, and XBRL reporting software facilitates quick, accurate preparation of XBRL files. XBRL dates back to 1998, when Charlie Hoffman, CPA, searched for a better way to prepare and share financial information. Hoffman enlisted the support of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) to spearhead its development.
According to the AICPA, the creation of XBRL was to provide “a standard, XML-based language for digitizing business reports in accordance with the rules of accounting in every country around the world.” XML, or extensible markup language, is a set of codes or tags that digitally define a document. In a way, it’s like translating a document to make it readable by a web agent or bot (like those that run apps or search engines).
Why do this? The obvious rationale is that it’s required in certain countries—but it’s required for good reason. Comparing disclosures and financial information has been a huge hassle without consistent formatting. Just think of all the minor differences between the reporting of different organizations, industries, and countries. But with XBRL, companies can tag all of their disclosure data points to classify them in a standardized way. Many compare XBRL to barcodes, as it’s like assigning barcodes to all of your data points that give the information context and meaning.
And once your disclosure is formatted with XBRL, it can be read by anyone who has XBRL software. You can also prepare disclosures with iXBRL (Inline eXtensible Business Reporting Language), which embeds the tags so that a human can still easily read the report (instead of trying to read the information around a bunch of coding).
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to go out and learn how to code and XBRL. Simply find software that will do it all for you—like Fluence!
Which Software is Best for Disclosure Management?
Consider Fluence for your disclosure management. If you need SEC reporting software, we’ve got you covered. What about ESAM? We can handle that, too. Whatever financial agency you need to report to, whether it be CIPC, ASIC, SEDAR, or another agency, Fluence can help.
What sets our platform apart from other disclosure management software? Besides the workflow, automation, collaboration, and integration advantages we mentioned earlier, our software features Inversed Design. Instead of building an entire project to meet specifications, users can feed a prior end product into the application. From that end product, our software will create the necessary metadata and objects based on financial and artificial intelligence. This means less work for you, less room for error, and fewer headaches.