Workiva’s CFO on growth and ESG data

August 9, 2021, 10:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

When entering college, Jill Klindt, CFO, SVP, and treasurer at Workiva Inc., a software-as-a-service company, thought she’d have a career maintaining the health of animals, not as a finance leader.

“I was going to be a vet,” Klindt told me. “I really love animals. But as a vet, you have to have a little bit of a hardened heart. And I couldn’t quite get there.” So, Klindt pivoted toward business, earning a degree in accounting from Iowa State University. She’d eventually lead in an era of digitization and work on environmental, social, and corporate governance solutions. “I do think that I’m perfectly suited for the CFO role at this company because I know it so well,” Klindt says. 

Workiva CFO, SVP, and Treasurer Jill Klindt /Courtesy of Workiva

Workiva trades under the ticker WK. It’s based in Ames, Iowa, and led by President and CEO Marty Vanderploeg. The company provides a collaborative cloud platform for financial, regulatory, and operational reporting.

“We started out as just a [U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission] reporting company,” Klindt says. The platform evolved into powering both financial and non-financial data reporting for companies and even “using it for cap markets transactions if they’re going through an IPO,” she says. Klindt has worked at Workiva since its inception in 2008. She began as the controller and served in several leadership positions. Klindt was appointed CFO in February.

Workiva’s total revenue for the second quarter of 2021 reached $105.6 million, according to the earnings report released on August 3. This is an increase of 25.9% from $83.9 million at the same time last year. In the past year, its stock price has continued to climb from a low of $56.86 on August 6, 2020, to $133.14 on August 6, 2021. The company raised its full-year revenue guidance range from $430 million to $432 million.

Some of the growth is a result of tailwinds in the market from the acceleration of digital transformation, remote work, and the need for collaboration, Klindt says. In addition, “customers benefit from using our platform when they have compliance requirements,” she says. “The SEC, and some of the U.S. and Canadian regulations, do drive a lot of our business,” Klindt explains. To some extent, increased activity in SPACS is an example of a business driver, she says. 

Building upon the momentum, this past spring, Workiva announced the addition of an ESG solution on its platform to automate a collection of data to build a strategy within ESG frameworks. As there’s more regulation around ESG reporting, Klindt foresees, in the long term, a standardized report companies can complete on Workiva’s platform, she says. And XBRL, Extensible Business Reporting Language, is “probably likely to become a component of these reports in the long term,” she says. “We have XBRL tagging technology directly in our app,” Klindt says. “So, we’re well-aligned to provide that if that ends up being the way that the market is going.”

ESG is an area where Klindt will represent her company. “We are the first SaaS company to join the United Nations’ Global Compact CFO Taskforce,” she says. “What we really hope to do is to drive that conversation around technology and how technology can solve some of those challenges that companies are seeing around ESG regulations.” The task ahead for Klindt will include working with fellow members to examine quantitative and qualitative methods for ESG measurement and come up with best practices that will support the UN’s overall sustainable development goals, she says.

A key leadership learning from Klindt’s time with Workiva? “What I’ve learned about growing teams … if you get great people, things come together,” she says.

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

Many CFOs and chief information officers (CIOs) work together closely when it comes to digital transformation. But a new report by released by Genpact and MIT Sloan CIO Symposium found there isn’t a consensus among CIOs on their roles in the transformation. Only 22% are leading the efforts. The data is based on a survey of more than 500 CIOs and technology leaders. 

Going deeper

"It’s a new space for me, first and foremost, and then it’s a different stage in the company’s life than I’ve been part of before, so I’m super excited about it," said Céline Dufétel, CFO and COO at the financial services giant T. Rowe Price. In an exclusive interview with Fortune, Dufétel discussed her new appointment as CFO of U.K. payments fintech 


Renee Gaeta was named CFO at Eko, a cardiopulmonary digital health company. Gaeta previously served as CFO at Establishment Labs Holdings, Inc. She was also previously vice president and corporate controller at Sientra, Inc. 

Margaret Vo Schaus, was sworn in as CFO at NASA on August 4. Vo Schaus previously served as the director for business operations in the Office of the Under Secretary Research and Engineering at the Department of Defense. She is a career member of the Senior Executive Service.


"The federal securities laws apply with equal force to age-old frauds wrapped in today’s latest technology."

—Daniel Michael, the SEC’s Complex Financial Instruments Enforcement Unit Chief, on charges filed against Blockchain Credit Partners and its owners alleging they sold more than $30 million of unregistered securities, as reported by Fortune

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