Equiniti and Netflix: Finance Transformation in the Age of Disruption

Finance leaders from Equiniti and Netflix share how they pivoted to virtually operating their company’s financials when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and how they’re better preparing for future disruption.

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Today’s challenging market conditions and increasingly competitive landscape has made financial strategy more critical than ever. In a recent webinar, Robertjan Dekker, vice president, controller EMEA, APAC, and LATAM at Netflix, and Robert Bloor, group finance controller at Equiniti, share how they managed to close their books and operate finances when the global pandemic hit, as well as how they’re preparing for the future. Below are each of their experiences. 

Equiniti Goes Live Remotely

Equiniti, a specialist in technology, finance, and administrative services for complex and regulated markets, was preparing to move all of its financial and payroll systems globally into Workday in April 2020. Then, the pandemic hit. 

Bloor shared that at first, the company’s biggest concern was that the pandemic would cause a significant number of people to become sick and unable to work. What they hadn't anticipated —back in February 2020—was that the pandemic would cause a complete and sustained lockdown, creating an out-of-office work environment. Therefore, the company had to assess whether or not they still wanted to go live in these circumstances. 

Bloor revealed that since the organization had finished all of its face-to-face work prior to the lockdown—including testing and review—they took a balanced, risk-assessed decision and forged ahead. When Equiniti went live on Workday Payroll, the deployment went smoothly. This instilled confidence in the team that they would be able to successfully go live remotely with the rest of Workday Financial Management during these complex times, and they were right.

The team successfully performed its first virtual close in April 2020 in just eight (very long) days. But, each month-end was better than the one before, moving from closing the books in eight days to six days to seven (which included Equiniti’s half-year close), to just five days with employees working regular business hours. In addition, Equiniti has also completely overhauled the way it manages the time-sheeting system for about 2,000 employees.

A couple of monthly closes and another quarter close later, a virtual close almost feels like normal.

Netflix Virtually Closes Its Books 

Netflix, the world’s largest streaming entertainment service, was faced with a variety of restrictions and limitations for its employees located all around the world when the pandemic began. From a business perspective, Dekker said that the company’s employees were already used to working from home regularly with its current systems, including Workday, and were already well-equipped with work-from-home hardware such as laptops. 

“The company has always supported people working from different places, giving them, to a certain extent, the flexibility to design their own days and weeks,” Dekker explained. Because of that, there was already trust among managers and their teams, which was very helpful during this period.

Netflix found its first fully virtual quarter close was a bit more exciting than usual, but overall, a great opportunity. Dekker said that it was not always easy, but it was a game changer. 

Now, a couple of monthly closes and another quarter close later, a virtual close almost feels like normal, Dekker explained. Netflix is focusing on the further development of many other solutions in Workday as it prepares to grow its global business presence, its complexity, and in how original content is produced.

To learn more about how Equiniti and Netflix are using data analytics and reporting insights to drive decision-making at a global scale, watch the webinar here.

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