Workday product results show real time data and analytics key to delivering agility

How Workday is enabling CFOs to move from a traditional finance function to a strategic business partner.

On 10 December, Workday hosted its annual EMEA region media update for 2020, virtually, with special focus on how their products have delivered to and supported the financial industry.

“Today’s finance teams are really challenged to achieve greater agility amidst this ever-changing business landscape,” said Workday VP of global financial management strategy Tim Wakeford. “CFOs come to us because they’re not just looking for a new general ledger application, they’re looking to transform their finance function and move it to become a strategic business advisor.”

To do that effectively, Tim explains that CFOs have to do two things:

  1. They have to be able to deliver information quickly and make strategic recommendations.
  2. They also have to bring that information to the table.

Tim, who is a CA by training and has worked in global finance roles for over 25 years, explained that the impact of the pandemic has heightened scenarios or business issues that were already in palace, and real time data and insights are key to delivering the agility that organisations are looking for.

He said that what Workday has seen from engagements with organisations around the world is that many of them have disconnected data sources and multiple legacy and accounting systems which can no longer keep pace in today’s changing world.

“At Workday, we set about creating a financial management application that allows customers to operate with agility and has an intelligent data foundation,” Tim explained.

In September, Workday announced the availability of its Accounting Center and Adaptive Planning functions. “Both of these developments help to bring new levels of visibility and control for the office of the CFO.”

Workday Accounting Centre gives CFOs the ability to ingest business event operation data into Workday, where it can be transformed and enriched, and accounting can be created on the back of that enrichment and posted natively to the general ledger. “This is helping us to open up key verticals, predominantly in and around financial services and its increasingly attractive to large enterprises,” Tim said.

He explained that planning has become an increasingly critical requirement for organisations to manage through the pandemic. “What we’ve seen from our planning application is an increase in forecast activity with a multiple of 30 times the volumes in the pre-pandemic period.”

During an Impact Session at the Finance Inaba Network, Aon shared how Workday enabled the company to adapt its financial model to be able to work virtually.

Read more: Impact Session hears how Workday enabled Aon to go virtual overnight

The company has also delivered two other initiatives during the second quarter for the office of the CFO:

  1. The general availability of discovery boards, which is a tour that is embedded within the Workday application and allows ad-hoc analysis on real time data.
  2. Workday customers can now publish plans from Workday adaptive planning directly into Workday financial management and vice versa.

“One thing that’s common across all our customers is that desire to transform their operations and move the needle from that whole finance function to becoming a strategic business partner to the wider business by bringing incremental insights used for competitive advantage,” Tim concluded.