There’s no question that Workday is an incredibly powerful tool for Financials, HCM, and more. What you should ask yourself, though, is whether you’re getting the most out of it, especially when it comes to reporting…

You may have read our 5-Minute Guide to Workday Reporting (and of course, if you haven’t, you should), but now it’s time to kick things up a notch by briefing you on the power of Workday Calculated Fields — the keys to making the most of your Workday fields, reports, and integrations.

Here’s everything you need to know about them and where our team of Workday consultants can come in to help!

What are Calculated Fields?

Workday Calculated Fields are custom-defined fields that allow users to perform complex calculations and data manipulations within the Workday system, enhancing reporting and decision-making capabilities. These fields enable organizations to tailor their data analysis to specific business needs without requiring external tools or extensive coding.

Calculated fields, also known as “Calc fields” or “CF,” are essentially how Workday refers to programming variables/database record buffers, and they’re useful in reports and integrations. Here are some examples:

1) Calculated Fields Can be Workday-Delivered

Workday-delivered calculated fields such as “Today” or “True” are similar to the Excel functions of TODAY and TRUE.

2) Calculated Fields Can be Constants

The string “EXEMPT” and “NON-EXEMPT,” where the database value is actually a Boolean true/false field, but the report requires the words representing something else (such as a job’s exempt status) to be spelled out. 

Another example of this calculated field would be constants like “Sunday”, “Monday”, and so forth, which would be derived from an original value of the day of the week, (i.e. a number from 1 to 7), instead of a Boolean true/false variable.

Calculated fields are a way to let the report developer turn a “7” into the string “Saturday”, or (in multiple steps) turn the today’s date into a string that reads “Mon. July 20, 2018”.

3) Calculated Fields Can be Arithmetic Calculations

Calculated fields can be an arithmetic calculation like “2 x <Base Salary>”. This would be useful in a situation where someone needed to answer the question, “If this employee died today, how much would their estate be owed from the insurance carrier?”

The calculated field “2 x <Base Salary>” would first find the employee’s annualized compensation and then multiply that base salary by two to find the basic insurance “covered amount” as the result.

4) Calculated Fields Can be a Calculation of Dates

Calculated fields can create calculated fields of dates. If, for example, there is a new hire probationary period of 30 days (or 60, or 90…), then the calculated field would be “Hire Date Plus <n>,” where <n> is itself a calculated field representing a reasonable number (30, 60, etc.). This would allow us to see when the new hire’s probationary period ends.

5) Construction From Other Calculated Fields

In the date calculation example above, the complete solution involved daisy-chaining two CFs together to get an answer, and it’s not uncommon for a solution to string together four or more CFs.

Functions of Calculated Fields

While calculated fields in Workday are commonly used to record buffers for databases and programming variables, they offer quite a few other functions across the landscape, including…

  • Create date calculations
  • Execute simple math calculations
  • Convert currencies
  • Manipulating text
  • Determine whether true or false
  • Obtain range bands from numeric or currency fields
  • Find levels and values in hierarchies and organizations
  • Sum, count, and aggregate information across related instances
  • Find values in related objects

Who Can Create a Calculated Field?

To ensure consistency and avoid duplicate calculated fields, it’s important to assign the task of creating, editing or deletion of a calculated field to a key individual(s) in the organization. Companies can also leverage Workday Calculated Fields training to ensure calculated fields are used correctly, and existing data is managed in the most efficient way possible.

Understanding Calculated Fields and Instances

  • Some calculated fields are buffers of database records (Workday calls these “instances” of an object). One common use of an instance calculated field is to get the same result but for different data. For example, let’s say you wanted a report that would tell you what the salary of each employee was on the last day of last year. This might lead to the question, “How have salary changes in the past year affected the company’s total obligation for life insurance premiums?”
  • Another example would be the question, “What are the benefits of elections happening now so I can compare them to the elections that will be effective in the future on January 1st when Open Enrollment Elections kick in?” which leads to “How many employees will be moving from PPO to a High Deductible/HSA on that day?” These would all be situations in which using instances would be beneficial.

All in all, Workday offers users nearly two dozen built-in functions that can be used to do numeric (math), date, and text (string) manipulation; Boolean logic; or CASE statements.

If you think there might be a way to improve your reporting functions and business processes with customizable calculated fields, you’re probably right.

How Can We Help?

Whether you need help using Workday Calculated Fields in reporting or scheduling recurring processes, additional support navigating complex arithmetic expressions across calculated fields, or anything else Workday-related, Surety Systems is here to help.

If your needs align with everything Workday Calculated Fields can provide, Surety has the right team and resources to help!

Getting Started with Our Team

Our Workday consulting services provide the knowledge, tools, and support you need to train your Workday “pit crew,” no matter how complex your organizational structure or the current state of your Workday system.

If you’re ready to hop on board, contact us today to get connected!