In a recent webcast, I described how we use Workday Accounting Center and Workday Prism Analytics to ingest a significant amount of information from our E-Trade stock compensation program and perform our manual checks and processes automatically. Our technology delivers journal entries enhanced with appropriate data attributes, the legal entity, cost centers, and accounts—accelerating a process that used to take my team two and a half days to a matter of hours.
Foster Close Collaboration Between Finance and IT
The stock administration use case is just one of the 75 automation use cases we’ve developed in conjunction with the Workday on Workday (WoW) IT team for Workday Prism Analytics, using 15 different data sources across our entire finance function. WoW IT’s mission is to ensure that Workday’s applications are run in the best way possible, and also serves as an innovation lab, a tester of new products, and a sounding board on IT strategy.
To drive innovation in finance, we’ve given our finance team ownership of the finance data model, including the accounting rules, mappings, calculations, and metrics. Doing this enables finance to manage and enrich that data to run their own reports, analytics, and planning models—and it’s absolutely been a game changer for us. We don’t rely on IT to deliver that anymore, freeing them up to focus on more strategic technology projects.
Embrace Continuous Learning and Innovation
Most importantly, we’ve emphasized giving our finance teams new experiences and learning opportunities, with a focus on digital literacy and technology skills. It’s one of the best ways we’ve found to not only grow our people’s skill base, but also retain the talent we’ll need in the future. But don’t take our word for it. Our recent CFO Indicator survey of more than 250 CFOs around the globe shows that an overwhelming majority of finance leaders plan to provide people with opportunities to expand their skills and learn new ones as part of their efforts to meet future organizational needs.
At Workday, my finance team is motivated to think out of the box to find opportunities to remove friction from processes and add value to the business.
The Bottom Line
We live our four-step framework for digital finance acceleration every day—and we have the ROI to show for it. Over the past eight years, we’ve increased our operational efficiency by nearly 60%, avoiding more than $6 million annually in G&A costs during a period of 41% compound annual growth rates. Those figures are even more notable given that when we acquired Peakon and Scout RFP, we integrated them into our systems and processes within weeks.
Over the past two years, our finance teams have either adopted or are in the process of adopting nearly 98% of all new features we’ve released in our office of the CFO solution. We’re proud to be the first and best customer of Workday.
At the end of the day, the framework means finance can spend less time on transactional activities and more time on high-value business building, including advancing its role in building a data-driven enterprise. And while finance automation in most businesses is still in the early stages, the future is approaching much faster than we all probably realize. The more organizations can integrate accounting automation now, the better position they and their finance teams will be to become that strategic partner for the CEO and the business in the years ahead.