Disruptive events over the last few years have reinforced the importance of fast decision-making and accurate business insights, especially when it comes to finance. CEOs and executive board members increasingly look to CFOs for business strategies and digital transformation solutions that deliver the financial insights needed to drive growth and control costs.
As an organization that’s grown from two founders to more than 15,200 employees across 5 continents in fewer than 20 years, Workday understands the need for accurate financial data, efficient collaboration, cost containment, and agility. Its own use of Workday Enterprise Management Cloud to manage finance, HR, and planning is what informs the product’s rapid development as well as the company’s hypergrowth.
Office of the CFO: putting finance at the heart of the business.
The Workday finance team embraces continuous change and is constantly reimagining how they can do things differently or better remove friction from processes and support the company’s aggressive growth targets. To capture the quantitative and qualitative benefits of both this flexible mindset and the Workday system, finance leadership partnered with the company’s value management team to conduct a value realization study. The research serves as a benchmark for measuring progress as the finance team automates, streamlines, and scales processes. The team has deployed—or has added to the roadmap—almost 98% of Workday system features, including new ones in biannual releases, across the following functions:
Sales and marketing
Supported 41% annual growth from 2013 to 2020, and double-digit annual growth during the pandemic
Delivered $6.3M in annualized general and administrative (G&A) cost avoidance
Kept G&A expenses at 6% of total revenue
Enabled the integration of the Scout and Peakon acquisitions in three weeks
“We pride ourselves on running lean because it reflects how we use our own technology to scale.”
Accounting, tax, and treasury: removing friction in finance.
Traditional close processes create friction across business units. One of our goals at Workday is to close the books quickly, if not continuously, so that everyone has access to the latest actuals in real time. To make zero-day close a reality, Workday’s leaders created a chief accounting officer command center dashboard that gives employees deep, real-time insights into operational metrics, close processes, global cash positions, and investments. As a result, at any time staff can compare plans versus actuals and drill down into the transactions and calculations that support dashboard metrics. Close surveys and automated monitoring capabilities also flag emerging risks so that the appropriate individuals can proactively resolve potential issues.
The Workday finance team also collaborated with IT to automate treasury workflows during a phase of 820% growth from acquisitions, and the team automated accounting and tax workflows as well. Staff members now manage consolidations in real time and process 5,300 “touchless” invoices each month because workflows automatically ingest and share operational and financial data. U.S. sales and use tax accrual and reconciliation workflows and an automated roll forward report improve tax forecasting. And employees save time with digital workflows that simplify transfer pricing, foreign tax provision journal entries, and the filing of UK VAT returns.
automation of journal entries
automation of cash flow
customer billing accuracy
hours saved in U.S. tax reconciliation
“As soon as you post an entry, you see the consolidated results. That’s the number one biggest value-add. And if a number looks strange, I can drill from the top level down and get an answer in minutes.”
Chief Financial Officer
Business finance: enabling continuous, proactive decision-making.
To drive hypergrowth while containing costs, Workday business finance teams must spend the bulk of their time on proactive planning rather than manual workflows, data reconciliation, and reactive strategies. Finance teams also require real-time business insights and tools for rapid scenario planning. When Workday acquired the Adaptive Planning solution in 2018, leadership wanted to quickly integrate it with the Workday menu of other systems and use it as a catalyst to drive continuous, company-wide planning.
In just 10 weeks, Workday deployed Workday Adaptive Planning. Now, 100% of the company’s business finance teams manage headcount, revenue, and expense and capital planning with automated workflows, real-time dashboards, self-service reporting, and rapid what-if modeling tools. The combination of on-demand insights and digital workflows improves decision-making and enables continuous planning. Business finance teams now spend twice as much time analyzing data and observing trends. And strategic investment reviews are now conducted biweekly instead of only twice a year.
faster reporting cycles
reduction in what-if scenario modeling
increase in the use of what-if scenario planning
“What the single data model allows us to do is stop spending time validating the data. Instead, we are having conversations with accounting, HR, sales, and marketing on the story around what that data is telling us.”
Vice President, Business Finance
Sales and marketing: accelerating pipeline and revenue growth.
Setting realistic sales targets and assigning the right people to the right accounts requires ongoing analysis of sales capacity, sales quotas, and territory segmentation as well as close collaboration with finance. So when Workday acquired what is now Workday Adaptive Planning, it also deployed Workday Sales Planning. By doing so, the company was able to replace manual workflows based on 130 spreadsheets and siloed analytics with one system that enables standardized digital workflows and comprehensive insights.
Today sales, marketing, HR, and finance employees make decisions based on the same real-time data. Teams have greater confidence in quotas and incentive plans. Sales operations can complete global consolidations 60 hours faster, and can prepare account assignment workbooks in two weeks instead of one month. Rapid what-if scenario modeling and self-service reporting also facilitate continuous planning without increasing demands on IT staff.
more time spent on strategic territory planning
self-service adoption by regional sales directors
“I want to have fidelity between the financial plan rolled up under the corporate finance model and what is being deployed in the field. Having both instances in Workday Adaptive Planning increases our confidence.”
Vice President, Business Finance
Global Procurement: greater sourcing, better pricing.
Providing enterprise teams with the products and services they need, when they need them, at prices that align with budgets is difficult without standardized tools and processes. To improve procurement efficiency and control, Workday established one centralized global procurement office and consolidated four disparate sourcing systems using Workday Strategic Sourcing.
Business stakeholders now have full visibility into internal customers, projects, supplier records, and communications. For procurement requests, employees contact one concierge desk instead of individual sourcing managers. A centralized repository for supplier onboarding also provides standardized forms, embedded security, improved contract lifecycle management, and automated workflows including RFP submissions and reviews. Not only do sourcing managers now send RFPs to twice as many suppliers, which results in a 26% average savings per competitive bid, but they’ve also improved vendor relationships.
increase in projects handled by each sourcing manager
increase in sourcing project volume
less time required to create RFPs
“I’ve received feedback from suppliers that the tool has made it a lot simpler for them to participate in RFPs. From communication to proposal to entry to bid—it’s all on a standardized platform.”
Vice President, Global Sourcing and Procurement
Office of the CIO: improving enterprise collaboration and planning.
To help global employees save time, improve planning, and contain costs, the Workday finance team collaborates closely with the Workday on Workday IT team to develop new end-to-end solutions, educate teams on how to adopt Workday capabilities, and solve challenges using existing features such as Workday Prism Analytics. A favorite tool of Workday teams, Workday Prism Analytics ingests and compiles real-time data from internal and external sources into one data hub, and provides tools for multidimensional reports and dashboards. Individuals can also drill down into the transaction layer in reports and dashboards to understand the why and the how behind the numbers.
Powered by AI, teams are using Workday Prism Analytics to develop 75 use cases to automate the insight-generation process, including a collections dashboard that shows which customers are struggling to pay their invoices. Finance employees use this dashboard to proactively reach out to these customers and negotiate feasible terms so that they continue paying, rather than just defaulting. To help Workday realize its vision of a zero-day close, the Workday on Workday IT team partnered with accounting to automate the stock-based compensation and contract FX hedging journal entries using Workday Accounting Center. The teams also helped drive insights using the same set of data within the Workday Prism Analytics data hub. By doing so, finance no longer has to manually extract, compile, and reverify data from these third-party systems because it’s now automatically ingested by Workday Prism Analytics in real time, all the time.
adoption of new Workday features
enterprise-wide data hub built into the system of record
Workday Prism Analytics reports executed annually across all lines of business
“Everything we do is about evolving. We are continuously improving and iterating to keep pace with change.”
Director, WoW Finance & Analytics