When a multibillion-dollar private equity investment firm acquired ABC Fitness Solutions in 2017, it was a textbook deal. Founded in 1981, the family-owned and -operated company had built a healthy business and become the choice of over 6,700 health clubs for its award-winning club management software—with even bigger growth prospects worldwide.
But despite such potential, ABC’s back-office finance, HR, and planning systems needed updating if it was going to expand its customer base more, either organically or via acquisitions. One giant step that the company took was to deploy Workday Financial Management and Workday Human Capital Management (HCM) as an integrated platform.
Acquisition integrations made easy.
Vice President of Finance Jennifer Mitchell sees Workday as key to the company’s accounting and financial planning and analysis (FP&A) capabilities. “It’s all proactively positioning us for efficient, scalable, and profitable long-term growth,” she says. “Having made three acquisitions just last year, we needed more efficient integrations like what Workday has enabled.”
Having made three acquisitions just last year, we needed more efficient integrations like what Workday has enabled.
Vice President, Finance
In fact, ABC has grown explosively, adding more than 12,000 more health club customers in a little more than four years both organically and inorganically—a 27% compounded annual growth rate. According to Controller Katherin Daniels, “We’re handling 25 million monthly billing transactions across all our customers and $8.2 billion in payments annually, so we need the scalable capacity to handle even more as we grow,” she says. “I love how Workday easily integrates with our other systems. It frees me from the painful chore of manual monthly bank reconciliations involving millions of lines on spreadsheets so I can do more meaningful work.”
Reporting is an important function for which ABC’s leadership counts on finance and accounting to provide. “We rely on Workday as both our ERP and accounting repository,” says Daniels. “Knowing that the data is complete, accurate, and timely is vital to do my job efficiently and effectively while easily delivering reports our executives need for good decision-making.”
We rely on Workday … Knowing that the data is complete, accurate and timely is vital for me to do my job efficiently and effectively.
Better decisions, better business guidance.
Mitchell concurs, noting that she added Workday Enterprise Planning for all the company’s business modeling. “It’s improved our ability to report back and share information with leadership,” Mitchell explains. “With Enterprise Planning, we can provide our executives with valuable insights based on accurate, clean, and real-time data to make more-informed decisions that better guide our business.”
Enterprise Planning, seamlessly combined with Financial Management and HCM, helps Mitchell’s FP&A team and company executives quickly adjust plans when circumstances change, enabling them to evaluate different options and their business impacts. “Enterprise Planning is at the core of what we do in FP&A,” Mitchell says. “We have lots of models and forecasts built into the tool, so its ease of use, data storage, and reporting capabilities are all extremely helpful.
With Enterprise Planning, we can provide our executives with valuable insights based on accurate, clean, and real-time data to make more-informed decisions that better guide our business.
Vice President, Finance
Workday has reduced silos across ABC and facilitated collaboration between the finance and accounting teams and other parts of the company’s operations. “Workday has freed up our time so we can provide other parts of ABC with higher value work outputs that give us more visibility,” Daniels says. “So, when they’re working on something new, they can loop us in for guidance from the start, which can help prevent accounting misstatements and other issues from arising.”
New worlds with more to explore.
For Daniels, having Workday take over payroll processes has been a welcome change. “From my accounting perspective, the payroll function is magical,” she says. “Not having to do it manually and having that information at my fingertips is just a whole new world for me. We’ve also deployed Workday Advanced Compensation so we can do our bonuses, commissions, and variable compensation through Workday instead of having to do it offline and then do payroll adjustments and other workarounds.”
Both Mitchell and Daniels agree that that Workday has many more capabilities still to be tapped, helped by its easy configurations and integrations. They’ve also drawn a lot of guidance from the Workday Community as well as from their Workday deployment partner. “As a smaller company, we appreciate Workday not needing the scale of IT resources that my previous Fortune 15 employer required for its massive ERP system,” Mitchell says. “We’ve been able to transform our finance functions without relying heavily on our IT team.”
Workday is also helping retain accounting talent. “Hiring and keeping good people is a big challenge,” concludes Daniels. “But enabling our teams to tackle more interesting work instead of performing countless manual journal entries is always part of my sales pitch to candidates.”