Certent: The Financial Reporting Pioneers

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Certent: The Financial Reporting Pioneers

CIO VendorMichael Boese, CEO As Michael Boese, CEO of Certent listens to the familiar pains of a client’s regulatory filing and financial reporting processes; he discovers the lack of clarity and sync between their financial numbers and the narrative. Carefully, he reworks to bridge the speed and accuracy challenges of the client’s business process. By combining external and internal report creation with a built-in proprietary disclosure research engine, Certent provides the client with an all-in-one disclosure management solution that enables secure and automated disclosure management process to increase compliance and reduce risk.

"(The IBM) acquisition will expand our product suite, accelerate our product roadmap, and expand our international footprint"

Such scenes are played out at many client engagements of Certent—a company that endows exceptional dedication to results with a diverse and highly-talented team. “Our whole aim as a company is focused on mission critical, specialized financial processes in two areas: disclosure management (along with internal financial reporting) and equity compensation management,” says Boese. This focus, along with the strategic acquisition of IBM Cognos Disclosure Management (now Certent CDM), IBM Cognos Financial Statement Reporting (now Certent FSR), and IBM Clarity 7 (now Certent C7) is making Certent a true global provider of financial reporting and compliance software and services today.

Founded in 2002, Certent began as a software solutions provider for equity compensation management known then as EASi, and made its move into the disclosure management space in 2014 with the acquisition of Rivet Software, a provider of financial filing and reporting systems. “When we went through our rebranding exercise, we tried to get a name that encapsulated the needs that we’ve been hearing from the customers,” mentions Boese. “The first one was the need to have that compliant ‘certainty’ that is fundamental to their job as an accounting professional or a finance professional, and the second was the minimization of manual review and validation processes.” At present, Certent delivers a suite of financial disclosure and equity compensation solutions tailored according to the customers’ needs that help organizations to meet mission critical compliance requirements effectively. With five global offices, Certent serves more than 2,400 public, private, and pre-IPO companies with innovative stock plan management, regulatory compliance, and reporting technology.

Connect. Collaborate. Compare. Communicate.

Accuracy and automation are critical to ensuring regulatory compliance for an organization’s financial disclosures.

Our whole aim as a company is focused on mission critical, specialized financial processes in two product areas: disclosure management and equity compensation management

However, many organizations today are stuck with manual report assembly and reviews which, in addition to wasting money and time, impairs process agility and increases the risk of reporting errors. The efforts spent on manual processes also prevent reporting professionals from effectively analyzing and communicating corporate performance and risk assessments. Certent provides greater control over the reporting process by eliminating manual workflows and improving the quality of filings. The company’s internal and external report creation solutions, Certent Disclosure Management, CDM, FSR and C7 products, fully integrates with an organization’s back-end data sources. The solution connects with virtually any financial data source and gives an automated feed. With this, the finance and legal departments can collaborate with the core processes by creating HTML and iXBRL documents across different functions in a secure manner.

The companies can then compare and benchmark their filings versus the competitors and get real-time feedback through the analytics engine within the DisclosureNet solution. For all of the FCC filings, Certent provides exceptional user experience with the notion of benchmarking or making comparisons on qualitative information. DisclosureNet also has alerting capability using which organizations can get alerts for keywords on their peer or competitor companies in an integrated module. “It has a quantitative piece where you can easily access the financial data from your competitors and show it in the format that you want to make comparisons against,” adds Boese. The solution then allows clients to communicate their quarterly or annual results to the regulatory agency in an appropriate format through the Microsoft suite or other familiar tools—forming the 4 Cs of disclosure management. Quite impressed by Certent’s one-stop-solution, a leading online retailer recently selected them to carry out benchmarking against their key competitors and stay abreast of things with the alerting capabilities. The client was hugely benefited by the quantitative ability of the platform and the easy-to-use search capabilities.

Financial Reporting Made Simple

Certent also provides a web-based financial reporting solution and expert services that simplify the equity plan administration, accounting, and reporting. The firm’s Equity Management solution streamlines the entire equity process from grant processing through exercise and settlement, and eliminates the need for spreadsheets, as it integrates seamlessly with any equity administration platform. The solution provides financial reporting capability with over 300 reports covering 15 award types— making it one of the leading financial reporting solutions in the market.

In addition, the company provides client relationship management and recurring services to help clients optimally leverage their solutions, as well as add new capabilities.

As a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, Certent adopts agile software development principles. For Certent, it is imperative that their product lifecycle process quickly adapts to meet the needs of their clients, and their collaborative, cross-functional approach helps ensure that. Certent also leverages a collaborative project management tool on the implementation side to reduce backlogs and improve the satisfaction of their customers. “It also endows us with the ability to be very flexible in terms of customer needs, and we can make changes quickly per the regulatory changes and new priorities,” mentions Boese. To support their strategy of being a global provider of financial reporting and compliance software and services, the firm recently acquired the IBM Cognos Disclosure Management suite of software products. “This acquisition will expand our product suite, accelerate our product roadmap and expand our international footprint," says Boese.

Certent’s robust solutions are complemented with their best-of-breed partner model. The partner eco-system delivers financial compliance and equity compensation solution for unique business needs by providing clients with specialized tools and expertise. “With the recent acquisition, we’ve also added a set of value added resellers and service partners that are familiar with our solutions and will be a part of our ecosystem going forward,” says Boese.

Delivering Confidence Daily

For over 15 years, Certent has been an industry leading software and service provider for mission critical Finance, HR, accounting, and reporting functions. With expertise spanning equity management, disclosure management, and disclosure research, the firm knows the importance of getting compliance perfect the first time, every time. In Boese’s words, "With Certent, confidence is delivered daily." The company has tripled their customer base since 2013 and has over 2,400 global customers today, and has been listed as one on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies for six consecutive years. Boese gives the credit of this exemplary success to the work culture that they employ, their organic sales efforts, acquisition activities and the experience that is reflected in their equity management platform, collaborative reporting software, and disclosure research tool.

Certent aims to finish 2017 by hiring more employees and extending their partner and customer ecosystem. The company is planning to open a new, larger office in Bucharest that will employ at least 40 new people, while hiring for key positions across North America.

With the tremendous global traction that Certent is receiving today, Boese also plans their expansion to Europe and Asia Pacific in particular. “At a high level, we want to do the same thing we’ve done over the last few years. Many companies have not implemented scalable processes and solutions to help them with their internal reporting. By releasing new solutions and employing other strategic growth levers, we’ve got just a ton of opportunity that will firmly support our journey as the leaders in financial reporting solutions,” concludes Boese.

- Justin Smith
    October 04, 2017