Converting raw data into rich information that builds a better business

“We have, as a team, become a lot closer culturally to the heart and soul of what has always been.” – Emma Castledine, Enterprise Architect, Finance Transformation

Simplified and streamlined finance operations

Building valuable partnerships across the business

Very significant efficiency and productivity gains

Converts raw transactional data into valuable information

As an organisation that’s committed to helping businesses across the world manage always-on digital payments,’s operations generate massive volumes of data from its bespoke payment-processing solutions.

This is clearly a source of immense value for the business as it continuously seeks to better understand its customers and streamline its offer. More than that, this data also holds the potential for the company’s finance team to turn it into extremely rich information. This would not just be valuable from a general-ledger perspective, but it would also help Finance get more involved as a business partner in areas including new-product development, reporting and control.

Getting culturally closer to the company’s heart and soul

According to the company’s Enterprise Architect, Finance Transformation Director, Emma Castledine, “We used to have a problem in that while we were using an excellent payments platform, there was no way of turning the data generated into accounting entries. We’d have hundreds of spreadsheets, but no way of interrogating anything or joining the dots between them.”

That all changed with the arrival of Workday Prism Analytics and Workday Accounting Centre. “This was when we really unlocked the power of data,” says Castledine. “Now we can really close that gap as a finance department. Critically, it means the team has suddenly become a lot closer culturally to the heart and soul of what has always been – a company with the insight that empowers us to provide solutions that solve our clients’ individual needs.”

We can now also use the existing work and controls from operational finance to support our statutory results – a massive, massive game changer.

Emma Castledine, Enterprise Architect, Finance Transformation

Breaking down barriers between teams

Until the company implemented Workday Prism Analytics and Workday Accounting Centre in its finance department, there was an unbridgeable gap between the accounting and operational-finance functions. And in a very complex payments landscape, Castledine explains that this came at a major efficiency cost. “We have a lot of merchants with a lot of payments,” Castledine says. “This makes the revenue-to cash process very, very complex – and before Workday, it was very time-consuming and inefficient. Now, we not only understand that the revenue-to-cash process is far better, but we also audit-trail from front to back, and then back again. And we have a real partnership between our accounting and statutory finance teams with our operational finance team. They used to be completely separate, but with Workday they can come together and talk the same language.

“This isn’t just fabulous for control. It also brings huge operational efficiencies because everybody is supporting everyone else’s numbers. Over the next year we will be continuing to use the existing work and controls from operational finance to support our statutory results which will no doubt prove a massive game changer.”

This new sense of closeness extends far beyond the finance function. As Castledine continues, “Now, the sorts of interaction we can have with our product and engineering teams are completely different to what they were before Workday. Not only can those teams now talk accounting, but our accounting teams too are also suddenly better able to talk to products and engineering. This has had a profound effect on the culture. Suddenly, we feel much more like a single unit than a number of different factions that didn’t really understand each other.”

It is also strengthening relationships with the company’s leadership. “Thanks to Workday, not just the CFO but the whole C-suite understands and appreciates the importance of financial control,” Castledine continues. “That’s really important as we mature as a business, and Workday has really helped in this area.”

If we were to attempt to process manually everything we now process via Workday Accounting Centre, our processing finance team would have to be double the size.

Emma Castledine, Enterprise Architect, Finance Transformation

Revealing “incredibly useful” data for extra analysis

“Workday Accounting Centre has also been a game-changer for our day-to-day operations in finance, enabling us to take transaction-level information from our upstream systems,” Castledine continues. “Our key applications are around accounting journal entries for net revenue, including factors such as revenue, the cost of sales and associated balance sheet items.”

That’s not all. “We also use it alongside Workday Prism Analytics to help with reconciliation in two key areas,” Castledine says. “First, the impact of foreign exchange on our balance sheet. And also our revenue-to-cash reconciliations, where we can take rich information from Workday Accounting Centre and reconcile it directly with bank transactional information.”

This is particularly important for Castledine and the team. “It means we can take that granular transaction-level information and use mapping tables within Workday Accounting Centre to determine what the accounting double entries should be in Workday Financial Management. That really matters, because it means we can easily import the granularity of information we need to report KPIs into the general ledger – but we can also see much more.

“For example, one of our KPIs is net revenue by merchant. We can not only easily post that – we can also see the processing currency, the action type, expected settlement dates and more. While you don’t want to post that level of detail in the general ledger – it would massively increase volumes – it’s incredibly useful data when you want to provide extra analysis.”

Positively changing the culture of finance

Castledine also believes the implementation of Workday Accounting Centre has positively changed the culture of finance at Checkout, particularly for several accountants whose sphere of influence has substantially expanded.

“Finance now has a blended role between an accountant and a system accountant, meaning they’re really deeply into upstream data as well,” Castledine says. “They are administratively in charge of Workday Accounting Centre, running the whole end-to-end piece, which works absolutely beautifully.

“They understand all the data validations in Workday Accounting Centre. As a result, if they need to troubleshoot something they can go upstream to find what they need to know. Equally, if they’re looking at data in Workday Financial Management, they know both where it’s come from and what is driving it.

“This has dramatically improved their ability to offer insights on data, turning them into what I might call ‘end-to-end’ accountants. And that is making their work more interesting, more appealing to the technically minded, curious types of people Checkout tends to employ. They absolutely love having another toy to play with.”

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