What is ERP?

What is an enterprise resource planning system?

According to Gartner, enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems provide an integrated suite of business applications that include financial management, procurement, and HCM. Learn more about ERP and how Workday can help you move beyond it.

illustration of light bulb with brain landscape

Diving into ERP.

Not all ERP systems are alike. Learn what you should expect from an ERP system, and see how Workday Enterprise Management Cloud is a step above the rest.


What should you look for in an ERP system?

In today’s technology landscape, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the options. 

Many cloud ERP systems still run on traditional technologies and architectures that have simply been moved to the cloud. This results in data stored silos and disparate point solutions, making it difficult for finance teams and controllers to operate with greater efficiency, agility, and insight. 

When choosing an ERP system, consider the following questions:

  • Where do you want to be in six months to a year?

  • How can your organization operate differently in the future?

  • What business challenges do you need to solve?

  • Are you able to take a technology-first approach to solving business problems?

  • How do your current strategy, operations, and technology factor into your choice?


For your accounting team, you might also consider:

  • How do you want to elevate the contributions of your accounting teams?

  • How complex and time-consuming is your close and consolidation process today? 

  • How much time is your team spending on data aggregation and reconciliation compared to reporting and analysis?

  • What do you need to do to ensure confidence in your numbers? Do you have to restructure your data to analyze and make decisions?

  • Should accounting and FP&A collaborate to resolve variances?

“Having the right technology platform to build on is key. Without that, I think you’re going to be challenged.”

—John Diez, Executive Vice President and CFO

Rethink ERP

Expect more from your ERP system.

Realizing the benefits of a true cloud system takes more than just migrating an architecture to the cloud. Cloud-based ERP may help lower operating costs, but a fragmented architecture and lack of holistic data make it almost impossible to be agile. Not to mention time lost with delayed deployment and constant maintenance. You need a system that gives you the insights at the speed necessary to adapt to change.

Meet Workday Enterprise Management Cloud. Built in the cloud from the beginning with an in-memory object architecture, we deliver best-in-class finance and HR applications and an adaptable technology foundation. What does that mean? You can easily blend external operational data with Workday financial and HR data in a system within a unified data model to make smarter, faster decisions. And when you need to make changes, our flexible processes and frameworks make it easy for finance users to do so without needing IT resources. That’s essential for staying ahead in a changing world.

Workday Enterprise Management Cloud

  •  Continuous innovation

  •  Intelligent accounting

  •  Configurable business processes

  • Open and adaptable architecture

  • Unified data model

  • On-time deployments


  • Expensive changes that require IT support

  • Slow and complex financial close

  • Complicated data management

  • Excessive time spent on reconciliation

  • Lack of real-time reporting

  • Slow analysis and action

  • Costly and delayed deployments


How Workday is different from legacy financial ERP.

When you choose an enterprise management cloud, you get a cloud-native system for the business—not just legacy architecture ported to the cloud. This gives you greater agility, insights for decision-making, tools to attract top finance talent, and compliance you can count on. Explore how Workday is different in the following areas.

Boost effectiveness by streamlining work.

Legacy ERP systems and their rigid business processes can slow down your organization and make it difficult to adapt. And when you use multiple systems to close, consolidate, and record transactions, data has to move across systems, resulting in more reconciliation and more work.

What if you could make finance processes more efficient and make your teams more effective? Workday delivers just that.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Easily adapt to address new requirements

  • Automatically create accounting, intercompany eliminating entries, and currency translation   

  • Faster, more efficient close designed to meet strategic forecasting needs

  • Embedded machine learning intelligently automates business processes to surface anomalies continuously and recommend corrective action

  • More time to focus on analysis and action

Workday creates a more efficient close by reducing friction across finance business processes.

Instead of moving data across systems and reconciling data, Workday uses machine learning to capture transactions, scan details, route and balance transactions across team members, recommend appropriate accounting treatment, and detect anomalies. All while maintaining the rich transaction details you need, instead of stripping them away.

As you transact, Workday automates the creation of accounting, intercompany eliminating entries, and currency translation, making it easy for multinational organizations to run their business around the world. You can also create accounting from operational data sets using an accounting rules engine in the same system of record.

These processes run continuously, so finance gets the real-time insight needed for reporting and planning. And by eliminating manual data entry, you can spend more time on analysis, work at the pace of the business, and measure KPIs and metrics that matter such as DPO and DSO.

Safeguard business operations.

Controllers need to safeguard the business from operational risk. But that can be difficult to achieve if bolt-on solutions make tracking and documenting change optional. In contrast, integrity and controls are infused into Workday with an always-on audit capability, documenting change continuously. This empowers controllers to deliver undefeatable electronic evidence to their audit committee and prove out what has changed and why.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Built post-Sarbanes Oxley (SOX)

  • Always-on audit provides undefeatable electronic evidence for audit committees

  • Continuously capture what has changed and why

Change happens all the time, so oversight must be constant. That‘s why Workday continuously and pervasively documents change, including the who, what, and when. This not only safeguards against operational risk, but also proves the soundness of their operations.

Composability is the key to success.

According to Gartner*, “CFOs can increase finance agility by adopting a composable technology strategy that transforms their technology portfolio to be modular, flexible, and adaptive to business needs.”1 We believe that composability is key to getting ahead of change.


of finance organizations will seek composable finance applications in new technology investments by 2024.**


higher revenue growth is expected for organizations that have adopted a composable technology strategy by 2024.**

1. “Drive Agility by Deploying a Composable Finance Technology Strategy; Nisha Bhandare, 14 September 2022

* “How CFOs Should Champion Change for ERP Success”; Nisha Bandare; 5 July 2022.

** “Drive Agility by Deploying a Composable Finance Technology Strategy”; Nisha Bandare; 14 September 2022..

Move finance forward with agility.

Faced with rapid change, organizations must adapt while ensuring minimal disruption. But without the right technology, response to change can be slow and reactive, not to mention expensive. For finance teams, this means falling behind. Sensing and responding to changing market and customer demands is a day-to-day exercise that requires entirely new ways of working and a new finance business model.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Mitigate risk with a truly adaptable cloud-based system

  • Easily update finance business processes

  • Empower users to configure change, freeing IT to focus on innovation

With Workday, you can easily adapt processes as soon as you need to—our adaptable architecture makes it possible. Configure finance processes to meet changing business needs—to accommodate M&A and expansions, for example—without needing IT resources. And you don’t have to worry about applying changes across your reporting and data. As changes are made to the workflow, they are immediately reflected in reporting. This gives users the latest and most complete picture of the business, with one source of truth.

Did you know?

54% of CFOs say their legacy ERP systems are not flexible enough to meet the demands of today’s business environment.

Make data-driven decisions—fast.

Better data drives better business outcomes. But unifying multiple sources of high-volume operational data with financial and worker information can be complex and time-consuming. Without a data management strategy that turns data into accessible insights, you can’t make critical decisions to guide the business.

Controllers need visibility into financial, operational, and people data to support all kinds of decision-making. This includes insight into profitability, performance, worker morale, and demographics, and measuring and disclosing progress on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives.

Siloed systems make data management inefficient, which delays insight and action. This is a problem for finance teams not just when it comes to profitability but also when making decisions in the best interest of the organization.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Real-time insight into actuals

  • Transactions with context and dimensionality for deeper analysis

  • Balance sheet and profitability guidance to support strategic partnership

  • Better visibility and oversight over the operational data pipeline

  • One source of truth for accounting and FP&A

  • Role-based insights for each team’s needs

Our solution is an analytics foundation that manages your people and your money. We enable you to blend operational and environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data together to understand profitability at a more granular level, anticipate changing conditions, respond faster, and drive more consistent and confident decision-making.

By ingesting and blending high volumes of internal and third-party data, Workday delivers deeper insight into your entire organization. A senior technology director from Fannie Mae shares, “It’s not just about having the data. It’s about how I use data and how easily I can access that data to make it useful to me. We’re talking about 500 million debits and credits, and over 1 billion balances every month. We are able to run these huge volumes every month within our accounting close and get the data to our business customers very quickly.”

In addition, a unified data source makes it easy to find and resolve any errors—no more time wasted on data reconciliation. Controllers oversee the collection, organization, analysis, and governance of data to bring more structure and discipline to decision-making. Workday provides insight into actuals in real time and transaction details for deeper analysis. So controllers gain control over their operational data pipeline, with the ability to track and monitor high-volume data as it’s brought in and posted to the GL. You can spot errors, drill down to the source data to investigate, and resolve variances easily.


See what Cushman & Wakefield achieves with actionable data.

Attract top finance talent with user-friendly technology.

Finance teams are starting to recognize the importance of an adaptable ERP system. Just as important is having the right team to leverage these systems. Required finance skills have shifted just as business needs have. To move your organization forward, you need to attract tech-savvy candidates with analytical skills and sharp business acumen, as well as upskill your current workforce.

Benefits at a glance:

  • Innovative technology to increase productivity and strategic analysis

  • Tools to help foster an accounting culture rooted in analytics

  • Continuous innovation to help accounting work faster and smarter

  • Increased efficiency to help reduce future headcount needs

With increasing competition for top finance talent, you can stand out by delivering intuitive, user-friendly technology. Finance candidates, including accountants, are looking to be strategic partners wherever they work—and they need the right tools to do so. Cloud technology gives finance the data and analytics capabilities needed to become analysts themselves (all while maintaining security), empowering them to run reports and uncover insights. This improves business-wide financial literacy and accountability.

When it comes to intuitive and innovative technology, Workday Enterprise Management Cloud has you covered.  We dramatically streamline finance processes using automation, which frees up resources, gives accounting teams more time to spend on analysis, and improves job satisfaction and retention

Did you know?

48% of CFOs are actively looking to invest in consumer-like interfaces for finance employee tasks to attract their future finance team.

Here are some reasons the next generation of finance professionals are attracted to Workday Financial Management:

  • User-friendly interface with natural language search

  • Configurable business processes that don’t require IT resources

  • No batch processing—data is available in real time

  • Dashboards designed for mobile and tablet

  • Workday Assistant with chat functionality

  • Embedded ML to detect anomalies and make recommendations

Our streamlined processes and easy-to-use solutions also make for a faster, more efficient close. Aon's chief financial officer, Asia, shares, “Doing a financial close in 10 or 15 different systems would have been a real challenge. We were very lucky to have a single platform with Workday that we could use across most of our revenue portfolio.”

“We want to be value generators, value creators, and that means not just sticking to the old ways. Finance on my team is not a spectator sport.”

—Chief Accounting Officer & Corporate Controller

Lead the way to continued business success.

Finance teams are uniquely positioned to help their organizations succeed in a changing world. Workday Enterprise Management Cloud can help you do just that—empowering you to build a more agile and analytical finance function, all while staying ahead of change.

Ready to move beyond ERP?