Just this week the subject of dealing with a financial printer came up with several financial reporting teams. On two different occasions, teams told us that somewhere around 10-14 days before filing, “we send the document to the printer.”
When I asked why, they looked at me and said, “Well, we have to get it typeset and filed.”
Then I asked how long it takes. They said, "Usually two days to get the first proof back, and then we turn the document two or three more times."
I was shocked. Even more so when I heard what it cost them.
Finally, I asked if they thought this process worked. They said, “Well, no, but what choice do we have?”
Now, take a look at this list:
- Using maps or asking for directions
- Relying solely on a home phone
- Referring to an encyclopedia
- Creating mixtapes
- Driving to Blockbuster to rent movies
- Waiting for photos to be processed
- Checking TV Guide and waiting for your favorite show to come on
Can you see the common denominator? These are all things we used to do, but we don’t have to any longer.
Look, I get it. I spent over 20 years in the financial printing industry helping clients get value in their process and performance. Even now, some very important functions still need to be done on financial documents:
- Co-authoring editing cycles
- Running blackline proofs
- Taking a Word file and “typesetting” it
- Edgarizing the document for filing
- Filing the document
- Preparing the PDF file for printing
- Making the HTML file for Web and mobile posting
But – and this is huge – you no longer need to “hand off” these functions to an independent service provider such as the financial printer.
Why? Because it is an enormous:
- Waste of time
- Waste of money
- Risk of introducing errors to data and content
- Loss of control
There are technology platforms that can streamline and automate the process, including all the necessary functions listed above.
We were completing an RFP the other day and the subject of customized workflow came up. Initially, we completed a section by saying we could customize the workflow to fit their process. Then we realized, NO this is not about bending the technology to fit an existing process. It is about completely re-engineering the workflow process to take advantage of what automation and technology can do today.
We have proven use cases that a firm reduces the time to get regulatory and marketing documents completed by more than 50% and eliminates the cost of a financial printer. The gains are totally huge.
The proposed regulatory changes in the U.S. are forcing ‘40 Act reporting teams to look at how they are going to build a process to meet the increased demands. We talk all the time about teams have a process in place that is working. There can be outside “triggers” that force teams to consider better processes and better use of technology. This is one of those triggers. As we are sun-setting bad processes, let’s put outsourcing to a financial printer on the list.