At Workiva, innovation is everything. The global software-as-a-service (SaaS) company pushes the boundaries to power transparent reporting for a better world. Consumers, employees, shareholders, and stakeholders expect more from business—more action, transparency, and disclosure of both financial and nonfinancial information.
The Iowa-based Workiva provides more than 4,300 organizations across the world with regulatory, financial, and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) cloud reporting technology. “We view our platform as a living, growing thing,” CFO Jill Klindt says. “We’re constantly adding functionality and new solutions. We always want to make it better, more secure, and more trustworthy.”
The SaaS company has grown and evolved since its inception in 2008—and so has Klindt.
Klindt’s original aspiration was to be a veterinarian, but ultimately pivoted toward business when she realized that path was not for her. She earned her degree in accounting from Iowa State University and spent the first ten years of her career with finance and accounting positions at Wells Fargo Financial, CitiMortgage, and Principal Residential Mortgage.
Then Workiva, which is located near Iowa State as part of its tech incubation corridor, came calling in 2008. In the past ten years, Klindt has been controller, director and senior director of finance and accounting, and chief accounting officer. She was instrumental in taking Workiva public in 2014, and in February 2021, she stepped into the CFO role.
CFOs are uniquely positioned to reshape the future of corporate finance and investment as a catalyst for growth, value creation, and social impact. And Klindt is leveraging her expertise and leadership to help Workiva expand its impact within ESG reporting, both externally and internally.
There is a powerful motivation for organizations to report ESG data, which is a complex reporting process. Organizations must capture and manage data from both financial and nonfinancial sources, then map the data to multiple reporting standards from agencies such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board, the Global Reporting Initiative, and the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures.
Workiva, which has years of experience solving complex financial business reporting problems, launched its ESG reporting solution in 2021. “ESG is a perfect fit for how companies can use our platform to pull together a lot of different data—whether it’s financial or nonfinancial data—into a very structured form,” says Klindt, who aids fellow CFOs in understanding how this transparency of nonfinancial information holds equal weight for the betterment of companies, their stakeholders, and the planet.
That same year, Workiva became the first SaaS company to join the UN Global Compact CFO Taskforce, committing to measure its progress toward implementing the CFO Principles on Integrated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Investment and Finance.
Klindt was selected to chair the Consulting and Tech, Media, and Telecommunications macro-sector work stream, and has addressed a prestigious group of corporate and nongovernmental organization leaders in Paris. She is also part of the CFO Leadership group, working alongside fellow global CFOs to make sense of the complex ESG ecosystem.
When it comes to Workiva’s own ESG responsibilities, Klindt helps track a course for consistent progress and excellence through her leadership of the company’s internal ESG Task Force. This task force supports the company’s executive management team in its oversight of long-term ESG strategies and goals, and follows a comprehensive approach to align the company’s business values, decisions, and ethics with the most cutting-edge ESG strategies.
While Workiva’s ESG solution is currently a small, but growing part of its business, Klindt states that the company believes it can be even bigger. “We think of this as a generational opportunity,” she says. “It has a lot of growth for us in the future.”
Part of that growth also comes from Workiva’s collaborative culture, which Klindt embodies as a leader. Collaboration of teams is critical. “If we are supporting the company and the company goals,” she explains, “then we ourselves grow in that framework—trusting our coworkers to make the right decisions and trusting that we can share our ideas and be heard.”
It’s essential to a team’s success to pull in different points of view and experiences.
“We’re holding ourselves accountable to the inclusion of other ideas,” she explains. “We have a really high integrity of how we operate, and doing the right thing every time, and doing the right thing for our coworkers, company, and customers to grow our product to support our efforts the best way possible.”
In doing so, Klindt and her team will continue enabling Workiva to push the boundaries to meet the demand for trust in the global economy.