Trustpower turbocharges decision-makers with self-serve financials.

New Zealand power provider harnesses finance system from Workday to give the business a new level of insight.

Fully automated, integrated finance reporting

Self-service allows users to ‘slice and dice’ financials

Standardised procurement system with robust controls

Frees the finance team to work in the business

New Zealand energy company Trustpower wanted to replace its aging, on-premise legacy accounting system, which was hard to upgrade and provided very limited self-service. For Chief Financial Officer Kevin Palmer, it was an opportunity to rethink how the service was provisioned. “We sat down and asked the hard questions: Why do we own the software? Why do we have it on our premises? We’d been prone to customising systems and we wanted to stop that. It seemed so old-school. We decided we never want to be in that position again – where we’ve got a system that’s out of date. Where we’re not on the latest version. It was a no-brainer to go for software-as-a-service.” 

Also in the mix was the fact that Trustpower has always had an innovative self-starting mindset. “We had a culture of people who were wanting to make decisions low down in the organisation”, Kevin says. “So we wanted a system that would allow non-finance people to interact with the system easily, both to find information and in the process-to-pay cycle.”

Seeking an integrated, holistic, automated finance system.

Trustpower needed a system with the flexibility and the reporting capability to allow people to make decisions themselves. “We wanted those who actually make the engineering or the retail decisions to make the financial decisions too. We didn’t want people to come to finance for the data. We wanted people to self-serve and find their own way around the commercial context. The idea was to leave finance to be a business partner, proactively analysing data and bringing trends to the business before they knew they had a problem.”

We’re an innovative, flexible company that’s raring to go. We chose Workday to be part of our transformative culture.

Chief Financial Officer

Running in the background.

Kevin was delighted that Workday quickly allowed finance processes to run behind the scenes, virtually unnoticed. “We’re doing things today – executive approvals, in a cab on your phone via the Workday app – that would have been unheard of a few years ago. It’s amazing how quickly we took that stuff for granted. Workday sits there in the background, just allowing people to do stuff, without thinking about how incredible it is. And that’s what you want. If people are noticing the expense claim form system – that’s not a good thing. Instead, Workday feeds into our decision-making in a calm and measured way. People have forgotten they used to have to go to Finance and look at a spreadsheet. Now they just get the information they need, compare it quickly against forecasts, drill down… click, click, click. It means we have the tools to support commercial decisions anywhere in the business.”

Workday quietly oils the decision-making – it’s part of the fabric of our business.

Chief Financial Officer

Supporting a virtual year-end close.

The new Workday system was put to the test six months after implementation, as the Finance team had to perform its first ever virtual close during the COVID-19 lockdown. “Despite it being our first year-end with Workday, we were still able to release our full annual report two months after the balance date, which is pretty amazing”, recalls Kevin.

People are genuinely excited about using Workday. They want to work in a company where the technology is cool.

Chief Financial Officer

Standardised procurement across the business.

Prior to the Workday deployment the procurement process differed among each division. But now it is standardised in line with the new system. “We had the approach when we implemented the system that we were going to implement it as close to ‘out of the box’ as we could”, Kevin says. “We felt Workday had already considered best practice in the way things were done. That meant some people had to change the way they did stuff, but having standard processes was more than worth it.”

Ready to pivot and change.

Workday gives Kevin confidence the Finance team will be able to adapt to major changes, such as the imminent sale of its retail business. “When we sell that side of the business, we’ll be left with a completely different company, with different reporting requirements, a different chart of accounts, different structures”, he explains. “And this is where the real benefit of Workday is going to come in. Because we’ve got a tool that can respond to big changes – even after deployment. The team’s pretty excited, because with Workday we’re certain we’ll be able to move quickly and just get on with it, no matter how big the change required.”

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