Q&A: Accelerating the transformation of corporate finance
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Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic, many financial organizations have, by necessity, made accelerating their digital transformation a priority. As closing the books, scenario planning, and guiding other business leaders – all remotely – has been elevated to the top of the C-suites priority list, agility has become the expression of the day for financial leaders.
But, transformation takes many forms, and for some financial organizations, the cost and complexity mean that “drop out and start over” is not a mantra they can fully support. We sat down with Terrance Wampler, Managing Director of Workday Financial Management, to discuss how finance leaders approach agility, complexity and transformation in a unique way.
The pandemic has pushed agility into the financial spotlight even further, but what kinds of technological and cultural challenges have CFOs and their teams faced in the past 12 months?
We saw, even before the pandemic, a variety of technological, societal, economic and political factors already creating a perfect storm for disruption. These forces continue to question the way organizations envision doing business, raising many questions about what the new normal will look like when we finally get there.
I also think that as we see new ways of working and a reliance on remote access and mobile technology, there will likely be a more in-depth look at how organizations manage risk. Even under more normal circumstances, agility has become a defining characteristic of companies that are better than most in their ability to anticipate what is to come. In my experience, these companies can act faster in the face of change and respond decisively to the demands of customers, the market and their competitors.
Discussions continue around the transformation and the move to the cloud, but the complexity of today’s environments can be a major barrier to the adoption of innovation and new technologies, right?
Absolutely. We see some finance teams, especially in large conglomerates, struggling with multiple systems made up of rigid data models, disparate architectures, and siled static data. For example, many manufacturing and supply chain systems have yet to reach the necessary maturity in the cloud, so CFOs and CIOs still need to build on their existing operational investments in planning. enterprise resources (ERP), forcing finance teams to make the most of on-site rigidity. systems. They are on a transformational journey, but it may take longer to put all the pieces together.
Can you share Workday’s approach to meeting customers where they are on their digital transformation journey?
We believe that by connecting financial disciplines in a common architecture, today’s leaders can unleash the power of their data and make the most of their time and resources. This can be the basis for a complete financial transformation, but it can also create a foundation for the corporate finance function of a large conglomerate, providing them with meaningful insight into their business and greater agility to plan for the future. after.
We see digital acceleration come in many different forms, and for many organizations, replacing existing systems all at once is not an option. With the Workday corporate finance solution, Workday enables finance teams to produce global consolidated financial statements, deliver reliable business information, and plan strategically in existing multi-system environments with minimal disruption. Customers can keep their ERP systems operational for industry-specific processes such as merchandising, supply chain management or manufacturing, while transforming their financial functions and taking control of their business data.
Historically, we have focused our financial management solutions on helping clients in labor-intensive industries, but we also have clients outside of those service industries who derive incredible value from Workday. We strive to meet these clients where they are, to deliver many of the benefits of financial transformation to more asset-intensive or product-oriented industries. Our solution enables clients in these industries to make real progress towards a more data-driven finance organization.
Are there other use cases for the Workday corporate finance solution?
Another area of interest for us is helping organizations to create new entities. Mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, new businesses: these all require the creation of new entities on demand, and it’s widely accepted that we’ll see a lot of this type of activity in 2021.
Organizations can create a new business unit to take advantage of emerging opportunities, make acquisitions to consolidate its position in a consolidating industry, or choose to divest a sideline to maximize shareholder value. In these scenarios, the Workday corporate finance solution can be quickly deployed to achieve common goals with improved lead time, unlike the delivery of many traditional solutions currently in use today.
CFOs may be at different stages of their transformation journey and operating at varying degrees of complexity, but they all come together in their need for good quality data to make better, faster decisions.
Visit the Workday Corporate Finance Resource Page to learn more about how we meet our financial clients where they are on their journey to digital transformation.
Listen to the Harvard Business Review Webinar: Shifting Finance from a Function to a Dynamic Capacity recording to hear Deloitte’s Jessica Bier and Matt Schwenderman describe the change financial leaders need to make to accelerate digital transformation.
Terrance Wampler is the Managing Director of Workday Financial Management.