How the Finance Business Team Can Help to Guide the Business Strategy

Category: Workday Financials Posted:Jun 11, 2020 By: Robert

In this article, I will discuss the best way to guide the business strategy by the finance team.

With at all times spent on transaction processing and having to contend with compliance and control workarounds, Finance Teams spend too much time looking backward, avoiding them from partnering with the business to determine where to go next.

Yet while this notion is pretty much basically accepted, very few within our profession have fully realized this transformation. Why? As discussed throughout this series, it’s due to the fact that legacy finance systems remain to stand in the way. They have stopped finance from mastering the elements of a true partnership offering impactful business analytics, delivering clear strategies and projections, as well as having the agility to adapt analyses, strategies, as well as processes to business change.

Let’s consider analytics first. Analytics that influence positive business outcomes stem from four traits that simply do not exist in legacy systems,  a broad meaning of the individual, information importance, simplicity, and accessibility on any device. Legacy ERP was designed in a command-and-control era, where information was delivered to a few who after that communicated it to the masses. Today the audience for Financial Information is, quite literally, everyone.

If the right data is not captured at the very beginning of the process at the transaction level, no reporting scheme will provide relevant analysis.

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This wide community wants evaluations such as profitability, what-if-analysis, and cost model, but traditional ERP systems were built for IFRS/GAAP as well as governing output instead of delivery of contextual analysis. Finance teams have tried to tackle this lack of capacity in their legacy ERP Systems by looking for better reporting, achieved by bolting on aftermarket business intelligence or enterprise performance management reporting tools. Yet this technique hasn’t functioned because the issue is not reporting,  it’s the quality of the data and the ability to easily draw conclusions from the analysis.

If the right data is not captured at the very beginning of the process at the transaction level, no reporting system will certainly provide a relevant analysis. Modern systems such as Workday address this problem at the transaction level by capturing data-rich transactions to make sure that relevant analytics can be delivered directly from the system without the cost, complexity, maintenance, and control concerns of aftermarket solutions.

To support the evolving requirements of the business, planning must be a continuous activity.

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Having the right data is the initial step; making it usable is the next. Since we can no longer expect that everyone utilizing the system is a back-office system specialist, analytics need to be simple to specify as well as comprehend and simple to access. And because everyone is mobile, appropriate analytics needs to be available anywhere at any time and on any device. Such tools should be designed from the beginning for delivery on mobile devices as standard, not as an optional and a chargeable extra.

The days of static plans that last a year or more are gone, and to support the evolving requirements of the business, planning must be a continuous activity. And in order to be effective, planning and forecasting require to be combined with transactions, controls, reporting, and analytics in a single system that offers a single source of truth, a single set of data, a single security model, a single control structure, a single set of procedures, and a single user experience. That’s why Workday has built planning and forecasting into the core system. Without this forward-looking approach, organizations run the risk of their plans becoming dated and redundant virtually as soon as they are produced.

That leads us to the third partnership attribute, Agility. Legacy Systems are inherently rigid, turning many otherwise excellent finance departments into business prevention teams because they’re incapable to cause the change necessary to support new business initiatives. They require modern tools with the ability to change organization frameworks, business processes, and even data models in minutes. Essentially, a finance system should be capable of converting a finance division into a modification enablement partner to help businesses rise to challenges and take advantage of opportunities, whatever they might be.


The journey to finance transformation isn’t easy, however, it’s absolutely manageable. It needs an understanding of why previous initiatives are failed and reducing the time spent in Transaction Processing. It additionally requires a rethink in terms of Governance, Compliance, and Control, and how finance approaches this from a technology perspective. Finally, finance must become a more strategic business partner, by providing understandings from the right data, the ability to plan and adapt to new opportunities as they arise. Only then can financial transformation take place.

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  4. Reshape the Finance Function using Automation and Artificial Intelligence – Part 1 
  5. Reshape The Finance Function Using Automation And Artificial Intelligence – Part Two 

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