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Keeping today’s filers ahead of tomorrow's SEC disclosure requirements. Customer-centric product development in an agile world.

Addie Cheney, Merrill Bridge - Principal Product Manager | November 01, 2018

Keeping ahead of SEC Filing Requirements

The Securities Exchange Commission is modernizing, and with this we are seeing increasingly complex filing requirements that the Merrill Bridge Product Development team must integrate into the Merrill Bridge platform. To meet that challenge, the team has adopted an agile product development methodology, working in two-week sprints to code, test, and release new features and functionality. This adaptation has emphasized innovation, velocity and precision into Merrill Bridge product development, with the result being that our clients are benefitting from a continuous release of new features and functionality.

Before we ever begin writing code, we spend a tremendous amount of time sitting side-by-side with our customers to observe and understand how they are currently contending with SEC disclosure requirements. We are keenly interested in looking for processes and steps they are completing “off-line” (on their local desktop or network); we then strive to find ways to bring those tasks -- which are often mired in non-value added tasks and time -- to the “on-line” Merrill Bridge platform. Often key breakthroughs are made during those discovery sessions.

The features announced in our Q4 release are a direct result of spending discovery time directly with clients to help guide our product roadmap, and represent key enhancements to Merrill Bridge. Some of these include updates to the Extension Taxonomy wizard, the introduction of simultaneous folio views, and enhancements to the Show Me and Spell Check technology. In addition, mandatory XBRL taxonomy updates were completed so filers now have access to the 2018 US-GAAP, IFRS and new SRT taxonomy.

Highlighting the Merrill Bridge Q4 release is a new feature which allows for the upload and conversion of PowerPoint slides to EDGAR-compliant HTML, including searchable text, for filing with the SEC.

Why is the new PowerPoint to EDGAR-compliant HTML feature so important?

Forms 8-K and 6-K require companies to file notice with the SEC of certain reportable events. Often those filing are accompanied by PowerPoint slides--which the SEC requires be submitted in EDGAR-compliant HTML format. This new Merrill Bridge functionality allows the full content of those slides to be converted to HTML inside the platform, including the creation of searchable text. Meaning that the output is fully compliant with SEC filing requirements.

The feature delivers instant productivity and removes potential costly delays for filers to meet their critical SEC disclosure requirements. Merrill Bridge clients are reporting that the time from finalization of PPT slide edits to completed SEC filing has been as little as 5 minutes. While last-minute edits may still be a reality, Merrill Bridge users will still have time to meet SEC filing timeline requirements.

What’s Next?

As we look ahead to Q1, the team is very excited about the release of iXBRL functionality to the Merrill Bridge platform. The introduction of iXBRL will be nearly six months ahead of the mandatory SEC filing requirement for the initial group of Large Accelerated filers. We are excited to report that customers are contacting us already indicating that they are looking to transition early, getting well ahead of the new filing requirement. We’ll be in final testing shortly, and look forward to welcoming those early adopters early in 2019.

Bio

Addie Cheney is the Principal Product Manager for Merrill Bridge. She leads a team of product engineers who are committed to continuously improving the Merrill Bridge platform. Her teams strive to gain direct insight from clients about the challenges they face in meeting SEC disclosure requirements and to use that insight to inform the Merrill Bridge product roadmap.

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