As our chief accounting officer (CAO), Robynne Sisco manages day-to-day finances at Workday. We asked Robynne to share a bit about her role at the Workday Blog, as well as her unique perspective as a user of Workday's financial management system. Robynne told us that being a CAO isn't all about numbers and accounting regulations—at least not when you're at a company that's redefining finance for the enterprise.
Late last year, Shelter Insurance Companies selected Workday to move our finance operations off legacy technology and into the cloud. We are nearly halfway through and expect to have Workday Financial Management fully deployed in September. Workday invited me to contribute to the Workday Blog, and I’ve taken them up on the opportunity to share our experience with others.
With every Workday update, we ask ourselves the same question: How can we meet the requirements of large enterprise customers in a way that's simpler, faster, and smarter? Below I highlight several new features in Workday 22, announced today, that demonstrate how we're delivering on that promise. It's just a sample of all the new functionality we've added to Workday Financial Management in this update—including more than 25 major new features—and as always, our customers have the flexibility to "turn on" any feature at their convenience.
On March 13, Workday announced that JDA Software had selected Workday Financial Management with plans to migrate off its legacy ERP system and unify its HR and finance in the Workday cloud. It’s yet another example of a company that realizes the value of this move and where it can lead.
We talk a lot in our industry about how consumer technologies drive innovation in enterprise technologies. My own favorite example of this is Worktags, just one of our inspirations from the consumer world. Worktags play a supporting role in how our customers will leverage innovations we announced today for Financial Management in Workday 18, as they did in many of the 17 updates that came before it. That's why Worktags deserve their very own blog post as to what they are and why they’re special.
In a prospect meeting a while ago we were explaining that with our HR system you could finally get a good answer to the question “Who works here?” The prospect smiled and said, “You know, that’s the wrong question. It’s not who works here, it’s who here works?”
At Workday Rising 2014 a number of customers took the stage to share stories about the business benefits they're seeing with Workday Financial Management, underscoring the community's growth and momentum. But what really stood out for me were the stories about letting go of the familiar—legacy systems and processes—and coming out on the other side with something that delivers far more value.
Last March I wrote about how quickly the deployment took off after selecting Workday—we had converted a full year of historical data and were testing transactions within the first 10 weeks. In my second post, halfway through the deployment, I shared how we were using Worktags to tag keywords and events in our data so we could later report and analyze it in different ways and from different views. In this third installment, I want to share some immediate benefits and changes that we're already seeing or expect to see in the near future.
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. What 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?
While most of my time is spent with the Workday Financial Management development team, in recent months I’ve also spent a good amount of time outside the office. At events we hosted or participated in, I had great conversations with customers, partners, and prospective customers, many of whom are CFOs. I listened to CFOs talk about the complexity of managing mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as well as the ongoing challenges of the everyday task of reporting.
I see four megatrends that directly impact finance and HR teams. Although these two functions represent different disciplines and skillsets, they’re responsible for what’s at the heart of any successful company: financial performance and talent.
At our Workday Rising user conference in November I had the pleasure of talking with David Dobrin, an industry analyst who always seems to have an interesting idea to kick around. We were talking about the reporting that comes out of traditional business and financial systems and how it seems to generally disappoint. My view is that this is because these systems were built to do financial accounting (GAAP), and when we ask them to do more, they struggle. That is when David delivered the gem of the conversation: "Of course, because operational reporting is disruptive." Huh! Now that’s an interesting thought.
Last month, after posting a blog on why it's time to bury traditional financial management software, I received very interesting feedback from a reader: "So when are you going to challenge the accounting industry, accounting textbooks, and universities to update their practices?" And while Bill McCarthy, a professor of accounting and information systems, has prolifically pushed to modernize "400-year-old" accounting practices, wrote the reader, "until currently accepted accounting practices are challenged and changed at the national or international level, fraud, waste, and abuse in accounting are major issues to be buried in the GL."
You may have read my post yesterday about the first few months of our Workday Financial Management deployment and what we accomplished in that short time. Today’s post is about Shelter Insurance Companies’ goal for more transparency across our business, which we expect to achieve with the data transparency and analysis capabilities within Workday.
We recently announced Workday 19, which delivers great new capabilities in Workday Financial Management. I'm particularly excited about our continued work in the area of embedded analytics, a unique offering from Workday that demonstrates—and delivers on—our focus on innovation.
Putting together a recent Webinar with analyst Dennis Howlett on the current state of ERP-based financial software took me back seven years to the beginnings of Workday, when "The Market" asked, as it got wind of what we were planning, "Does the business world really need another general ledger product?"