Next-Generation Financial Reporting in Workday 23: It’s Time to Burn the Binder

Anyone who works in finance knows the binder.  Many operational managers know it too. It’s the binder you take to quarterly business reviews and send up to the CFO. The one stuffed with printouts of spreadsheets and documents that took tens of hours to compile and reconcile. It’s the binder that may have you—and the auditors—nervous that it’s being passed around with a lot of important information in it, or sweating that within those print-outs there could be inaccuracies.

Next-Generation Financial Reporting in Workday 23: It’s Time to Burn the BinderWhat if you could burn that binder? What if you could replace it with something containing data that is always current, is multi-dimensional and interactive, lives on your mobile device or desktop, and is protected by security and access controls? When Raphael Bres blogged about new finance capabilities in Workday 22 in May, he mentioned there would be a major innovation in financial reporting in our next release. That time is here with today’s announcement of Composite Reporting in Workday 23, which we believe to be a game-changer for financial applications.

To best understand its significance, consider how it can replace the binder. Just like the familiar spreadsheet, users can define columns, rows, and cells with Composite Reporting, but with data from multiple sources to configure sophisticated finance and business reports. These composite reports are natively protected by the security policies and access rights that our customers have defined within Workday, eliminating the risk of sensitive spreadsheets living in a physical binder. They are easily accessible on dashboards and mobile devices with no local data storage, so data is protected if a device is lost or stolen.

Burning the binder is just the start, though. While you’re at it, you can also delete the OLAP cube. While OLAP cubes fulfilled the goal of letting people drill down and gain insights into finance data, the whole concept is now archaic. Why should you have to call on your IT department to initiate the huge project of pulling your finance and operational data into an OLAP cube, if you can provide the same drill-down, multi-dimensional capabilities within the system where the actual data lives?

So you can see why we’re leading the announcement of Workday 23 with Composite Reporting. Its roots go deep and are based on many years of foundational work in our technology. And it would not be possible if it were not for the native in memory architecture and object model that Workday has been built upon since its inception. Or the use of Worktags and hierarchies that make multi-dimensional analysis possible.

For the past 18 months, the R&D team worked closely with customer design partners on addressing their pain points and designing this tool. One of our design partners told us that with Composite Reporting, it took him just five minutes to create a sophisticated report that previously took five days and involved three systems. And our design partners at Life Time Fitness told us that Composite Reporting is one of the most significant developments they’ve seen to date for Workday Financial Management.

Let’s celebrate this new era in financial management. Let’s #burnthebinder.