Workday Becoming a Global Financial Management Software Provider

In a slew of announcements at the recently held Workday Rising 2012 user conference, one major theme has been that Workday, the cloud software company that initially started with providing human resource management system (HRMS) and which later added payroll software, now has 40 financial management customers as well (10 percent of its customer base). Most recently, the roster of Workday Financial Management customers has been joined by the University of Rochester, TripAdvisor, and J.B. Hunt.

Workday 18 Financial Management

The recently released Workday 18 had major Workday Financial Management application enhancements to bring more global capabilities to large multinational organizations, together with advanced industry-specific functionality (see the related PR). Some advancements to Workday Financial Management included the following:

  • Enhanced global tax and payment support gives customers the ability to support partial tax recoverability and tax regimes with mixed recoverable and non-recoverable tax rates, while enriched international payment formats provide greater and more efficient reach to different regions, divisions, and business units.

  • Expanded reporting using Worktags on dimensions such as Division or Business Unit provides even more flexible real-time reporting for multinational organizations. Worktags are Workday’s means to provide organic multi-dimensionality. Worktags or financial dimensions, e.g., fund, project, etc., look like a tag cloud but have structure and data in them, not a mere taxonomy (see the blog post for more information). Detailed business transactions captured with Worktags provide real-time business insights and reporting flexibility and granularity to enable stronger decision-making across the organization.

  • Project scenario planning leverages Workday's unified human capital management (HCM) and financial management applications, so that managers can allocate resources seamlessly across projects with details that include cost, worker availability, skills, and experience. A unified system with Workday HCM, delivering greater visibility into the total workforce, including both full-time and contingent labor, and better insight into global headcount, workforce costs, skills and experience, and overall performance. This integration enables both management insight (in terms of Project Charter, Project Risks, Project Estimates) and talent-driven insights (in terms of HR allowance plan, Contingent Workers, Worker Assignment Workflow, Fully burdened Costing, etc.). In other words, Workday combines financial and workforce measures enabling project scenario planning so organizations can efficiently model the right resources for the right work.

  • Industry-specific functionality for education and government, including grants management and fund accounting—driving reporting and compliance. Grants Management and fund accounting for education and government organizations deliver visibility into grant activity, improved compliance with grantor reporting requirements, and enable the monitoring of the use of funds to help ensure they are segregated appropriately. Other relevant features are commitment accounting, budgetary control, effort certification, multi-dimensional budget structures, and new Worktags (fund, program, and grant).

Workday Financials “Secret Sauces”

Worktags bring new levels of operational efficiency and accurate accounting through a unified accounting and financials core, and the ability to simplify the chart of accounts and reduce administrative maintenance, while maintaining rich, multi-dimensional business visibility. Another part of Workday’s “secret sauce” is the built-in Business Process Framework (BPF)—a fabric of effective and proactive control and governance by modeling, monitoring, and analyzing processes. Workday apps are built on top of BPF (i.e., no bolt-on workflow/BPM solution is needed), whereas most other business apps were built well before the advent of workflow software.

Built-in (not optional) budgetary controls, auditing, and configurable workflows facilitate governance and compliance across the organization to cost-effectively adapt to changing regulatory and organizational requirements. Flexible business process framework and an always-on audit trail allow for the creation of workflows and controls relevant and necessary to the business. There is also a better ability to accommodate new business requirements and processes, including mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity and re-organizations, without relying on information technology (IT) support and investment due to Workday's business-driven configurability.

Built-in and actionable BI tools provide faster access to reports and relevant business data. Workday's real-time reporting and business-event driven analytics increase efficiencies around business processes and provide executives with critical business insights to make better decisions. Richer contextual insights into the details of the business through business event data captured at the transactional level create the ability to develop germane financial, operational, and management reports.

Future Developments

It is refreshing to see so many contemporary features in Workday Financial Management—tags, events, compliance, people elements, effective dating, etc.—all architected from ground up. Still, while Workday is good at storing budgets, it cannot do budgeting, per se. TidemarkEPM is one of the partners in this regard (i.e., budgeting is a critical issue for government agencies). Future product developments will be along the themes of more scalability, reporting, and depth in terms of GAAP/IFRS compliance, global capabilities (e.g., for Latin American countries), document-sequencing, governance, risk management & compliance (GRC), etc.

Granted, Workday Financial Management might still be behind SAP, Oracle, and CODA Financials in terms of in-depth feature-by-feature comparison. But the attractiveness of Workday, in addition to its true cloud deployment and design concept with agility in mind, stems from the greater control to adapt and accommodate to new business requirements and processes, while reducing the level of IT support. Moreover, a consumer-driven, intuitive user interface (UI) enables finance operations to better manage information and extract insights with minimal training for improved operational efficiencies and employee engagement, with reduced support costs. Last but not least, Workday has long offered built-in mobile access across tablet and smartphone devices empowering the organization with greater accessibility to business information and insights.


Can Software Help Employees Enjoy Their Workday (More)? – Part 1. September 28, 2011.  
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