How Match Group Found the Perfect Partner in Workday for Financials

Trey Henderson, Match Group vice president and corporate controller, spoke with Bob Evans of Acceleration Economy about how digital transformation empowered the company to move beyond traditional finance cycles, accelerating its ability to create value and provide a better employee experience.

This article, written by Bob Evans, chief content officer and co-founder of Acceleration Economy, first appeared at Acceleration Economy and is republished with permission.

The story of the Match Group—the parent company of—is a classic tale of a high-growth company confronting and overcoming the many challenges of scaling a feisty high-flier into a global corporation that retains its spirit and energy, but also adopts modern cloud technology to help manage all that growth. 

At the recent Workday Rising customer conference, Trey Henderson, Match Group’s vice president and corporate controller, talked about his fast-growing company’s battles to rein in disparate financial systems and multiple versions of the truth. He also discussed the interminable hours the company’s finance team has spent in the never-ending “cycle of death” around preclose, close, and reconciliation. (Lather, rinse, repeat.)

Henderson was also emphatic about his and the company’s desire for employees to spend more time with their families, and how modern cloud technology can make that happen. 

This article contains some of Henderson’s key points from the conversation at Workday Rising. Hear more by streaming the full podcast conversation.  

Riding a Growth Rocket 

“Match Group is a fantastic success story and growth story, starting with in the mid-’90s and growing organically and through M&A [mergers and acquisitions] over the years. . . . I’ve been part of the group for about seven years now, and it’s a fantastic, fun group to be with—a lot of smart people here. Of course, the past few years have been very challenging for everybody, and we implemented Workday virtually during the COVID environment. Obviously, people were affected during that time and we really found ways to boost the productivity of our group—it was a big challenge and they really rose to it. . . . We’ve done a few acquisitions over the years, including a big one in South Korea that we’re excited about, and we’ve got a new CEO, Bernard Kim, who started just a few months ago, and we’re excited to see where he takes the company.” 

“We decided we needed to centralize and globalize and be part of the SaaS world, so we asked, ‘How can we revolutionize for our world in the cloud but also provide better value for the business?’”

Trey Henderson Vice President and Corporate Controller Match Group

Love in the Metaverse? 

“We’ve dabbled in it, and we pushed to see if we should be the early adopter, or should we wait to see how it plays out and then leverage that technology. And so we’re kind of playing it in the middle a little bit. Our CEO recently said we’re going to pull back a little from the metaverse, but it’s an avenue that’s out there. At the same time, people are also discussing more about crypto and how that may impact our worlds. So we’re trying to straddle the fence a little bit, and we’ll be ready to leverage that technology or be able to create it ourselves and define the space. We’re going to wait and see how it plays out.” 

The Road to Modernization and the Cloud 

“We used to find ourselves very decentralized [by geography]. And as we grew with our M&A, those silos only continued to grow. So we challenged ourselves to work from an accounting perspective to cross all the different portfolios of brands across all geographies, and really try to capture a globally consistent environment.  

“And that was all with different ERPs [enterprise resource planning systems]. During that time, we were still in the Great Plains, in North America, for 20-something years, and we were in NetSuite, and we also had local ERPs. And we decided we needed to centralize and globalize and be part of the SaaS [software as a service] world, so we asked, ‘How can we revolutionize for our world in the cloud but also provide better value for the business?’ 

“So we went down a pathway where we knew we needed a new ERP, and globally we wanted to be in the cloud. We knew we needed to solve for all the multilanguage and multicurrency aspects of being a global business.”  

Finding the Right Tools  

“We started looking at a few competitors, and I’m kind of ashamed to say that Workday was not on the shortlist in the beginning. Once I saw the differentiation that Workday had against the competitors, I was absolutely blown away. I saw how we could provide the linkage of the payroll data with the financial data, I saw how its flexible chart of accounts are, and its extended dimensionality and its abilities to solve for what we saw in the future as revolutionizing accounting, and I knew that we could provide huge value to the business.

“And not just to the business but to our employees as well—we take that very seriously. We want our employees to be able to spend more time with their families. And we believe that adding the technology, and adding the right people, can provide that value so they get to spend more time with their families. I’m very serious about that mantra: I have a family myself and love spending time with them.

“We knew we needed to solve for all the multilanguage and multicurrency aspects of being a global business.”

“So we’ve more or less revolutionized where we were to provide that better value. And we can continue on that pathway to say, ‘OK, now that we’ve installed [Workday Financial Management], we can take it to the next level. Let’s continue to clean it up, provide additional enhancements of reporting, or track traceability of data to our business and to our employees.” 

Ending the ‘Cycle of Death’

“When I first joined [Match Group] in 2015, we had this sort of ‘cycle of death.’ We’d go into preclose, and then we’d go into close, and then we’d go into reconciliations. And then we’d have a little bit of time for vacation, and then we’re back to preclose again, and there was no time to add any value to any processes or any reviews.

“We had to drive a wedge into where can we start and where can we obtain that snowball effect that would then increase the value but also decrease the time to close, and decrease the need for people to have to work those long, late hours. So we started chipping away at that. It took a few years, but having the right people there and [having them] invested in the process, plus the investment in the technology, was really important.

“Once we got past that point, we really then started talking about what our next step should be. And we realized the next step was a wholesale change involving Workday. So our HCM [human capital management] group installed Workday for HCM and Payroll in 2017. And then, because we were able to see there was a light at the end of the tunnel, we realized we had a great challenge and a great opportunity ahead of us, and we needed to try to meet that challenge. And it’s been a great choice, and we’re so happy with what we’ve done.”

Listen to the Cloud Wars podcast with Trey Henderson.

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