Launching Workday Financials can be a massive undertaking for any organization. We’ve already given you a brief, high-level overview of the solution with our article, What You Need to Know About Workday Financial Management, but then we thought we’d dig a little deeper. That’s why we reached out to a senior-level Workday consultant who has over ten years of experience with Workday Financials (and also happens to have a background in accounting and finance) to get you some insider information.

In this two-part Q&A series, we go behind the scenes of Workday Financials to get some top tips straight from an expert himself. Let’s get started. 

Q: What do organizations need to consider before deploying Workday Financials?

A: The first thing to consider is staffing. It’s critical to make sure you have the resources to support the implementation and your day-to-day operations. Bringing in a client-side implementation partner to augment your staff and provide expertise to the project is vital for success. 

Next, take into account the scope of the project. I always encourage clients to take a broad perspective regarding the functional areas or the workstreams that they want to deploy. Your implementation team can help you get familiar with all the different workstreams and functional areas. However, keep things simple and don’t feel like you need to tackle everything on Day One. Implementing a new solution can be overwhelming, so be patient and lean on your implementation partners for support. 

Finally, develop your timeline. Before the project starts, work with your team and stakeholders to come up with an achievable timeline. Every timeline is different, but you can plan for a six- to nine-month timeframe for most mid-sized enterprise deployments. Larger enterprises will require 12 to 18 months. Your implementation partner can take the lead on the timeline and also help your organization stick to it. 

Q: What are some lessons learned during your many years of implementing Workday Financials?

A: You can never start too soon. There’s always something you can start working on early, whether it’s data clean up, data purging, identifying integrations, and so much more. Best advice: don’t wait. 

I would also encourage clients to start thinking about the data model. Workday has something they call the Foundation Data Model (FDM). FDM is the core of the entire Workday platform. It’s essentially the multidimensional structure of Workday accounting and financial reporting. It’s also broad and impacts human resources (HR) and payroll. So your cost centers, ledger accounts, etc., will change in the Workday model. It’s very common for Workday customers to go from thousands of ledger accounts in their legacy system to a couple of hundred in Workday. You ultimately have the same level of detail, but understanding that data model is critically important. 

Also, start using the system as quickly as possible. Workday provides organizations with demo environments so you can start familiarizing yourself with the tool and even entering data into it immediately. What I enjoy most about my job is educating clients and helping them get comfortable with Workday. It’s all about understanding the architecture and how the system works. There’s going to be a learning curve, but the product is designed to be iterative. Get started as quickly as possible and refine as you go. 

Q: Any final advice for organizations deploying Workday Financials?

A: I’ll go back to my first piece of advice in this interview: bring in experienced resources. It will benefit everyone. It helps with your organization’s learning curve and ensures a smooth implementation. 

The challenge is that many clients don’t recognize this need at the beginning and often call in for support when things go wrong. And sometimes, there are certain issues that can’t be undone quickly. It might require more time and effort just to get the implementation back on track. So bring in experts as early as possible. 

In the second part of this interview, we’ll cover how to prepare for go-live and common pitfalls that can derail your Workday Financials implementation. 

Surety Systems has an experienced senior-level Workday consulting team that can help with everything from project management to deployment, education, support, and more. Contact us today to learn more and get started on the road to success.