Video: 3 Ways that CFOs can Benefit from Workday
Overall, many organizations struggle with reporting and data tracking in their legacy systems, and CrossCountry’s story is no different than many other mid-sized growth companies. Over the past 10 years, we implemented a myriad of systems to meet the specific needs of our organization at that point in time. These solutions worked for a while, but as we have grown, they began to hold us back. We needed to evolve from our current processes and migrate them into one system.
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JOHN HOEBLER: Hi. My name is John Hoebler; I’m a partner at CrossCountry Consulting. CrossCountry Consulting provides professional services to commercial organizations around the world. CrossCountry recently selected Workday to be our new primary HR, accounting, and professional services automation solution.
Joining us today is Amy Seibel; she is our Chief Financial Officer. Hello, Amy.
AMY SEIBEL: Hi, John. Thanks for having me.
JOHN HOEBLER: Welcome. So, can you tell us a little about what you do here at CrossCountry?
AMY SEIBEL: I am the Chief Financial Officer of CrossCountry, and I’m in charge largely of the financial operations here.
JOHN HOEBLER: Outstanding. So, what are you excited about with Workday?
AMY SEIBEL: We’re really excited about our investment in Workday. There are three primary things I’d like to talk about today, and most of them have the same themes in terms of converting manual processes into some automated processes, and enhancing the existing control structure that we have. The three areas I would like to talk about today are the financial reporting and analysis process, the treasury management process, and the procurement operations.
JOHN HOEBLER: Well, that’s exciting. That’s quite a bit. Why don’t we start with treasury a little bit? Can you tell us about what we’re doing today with treasury?
AMY SEIBEL: Sure. It follows the same themes I’ve referenced in terms of some of our processes today being very manual, and we’d like to automate them. So, one example is our disbursements process. As payments are getting made, today that’s a two-step process in terms of approving the disbursements in our general ledger, and then secondly, pushing those transactions over to the bank.
In the Workday world, because of the tight integration between the bank system and Workday, that will be viewed more as one set of transactions instead of two.
JOHN HOEBLER: And my understanding is the settlement engine kind of works for our payroll transactions: we’re paying a supplier, reimbursing employees, and all outbound payments flow through it. Is that correct?
AMY SEIBEL: That’s correct.
JOHN HOEBLER: Outstanding. What about on the inbound side? Is there any improvement that you see there?
AMY SEIBEL: Yes. Similarly, on the inbound side today, as transactions come in and cash receipts come in the door, our team spends a lot of time having to sift through and manually applying the receipts to transactions. In the Workday world, most of those cash receipts coming in will be part of the automation that Workday has, where they can automatically match it to the existing transaction. Therefore, the team will mostly be focused on the exceptions, and not every single transaction in terms of cash receipts.
JOHN HOEBLER: Yes, that’s super helpful, because I’ve run the service line and it seems like it’ll also get the cash applied faster than in manual. So I’ll have a true insight into how I’m doing on my aging, which is really exciting to me.
AMY SEIBEL: Yes, true insight, and definitely saving a lot of time so we can free up our resources to do more exciting things.
JOHN HOEBLER: And we bank with a bunch of different banks, so I imagine reconciling all the bank accounts are a challenge. Is that true, and is there any automation there?
AMY SEIBEL: Yes. We have multiple banks and multiple entities, so there are a lot of challenges and complications in terms of the manual nature of how we have to reconcile banks today, and the volume of those transactions. So, the Workday features of being able to automate those banking transactions, we’re really looking forward to.
JOHN HOEBLER: That sounds great about treasury operations. We’re going to see some dramatic improvement there, and it’s going to impact me in ways that I wasn’t even considering. Can you talk about procurement a little bit more? That’s a little near and dear to my heart.
AMY SEIBEL: Yes, sure. So, today we have a very decentralized process of procuring, and a lot of times business leaders such as yourself have the ability to go out and spend without any automation around purchasing controls. And therefore, people on my team, for example, don’t even know that purchase has been made until an invoice comes in much later down the road, after we’ve already made commissions to vendors, et cetera.
JOHN HOEBLER: So there will be controls in place where my team can put in requests and I can approve it, and then I assume maybe over a certain dollar threshold it might route to other people for approvals – such as yourself?
AMY SEIBEL: Yes. We’re really excited, and not just about the automation of some of the approval processes, but in this case, in order to put some of the approval processes in place is exciting for us.
JOHN HOEBLER: That’s great. What other features of Workday procurement do you like?
AMY SEIBEL: Another one related to procurement is the Workday supplier portal. We’re excited about this so that when we do get new vendors that we have approved, the process in the portal, such that we can send a request out for the supplier to provide us with the information, including the information on the W-9 in terms of how they might want to get paid. That will no longer have to be manually data-entered into the system by my team, saving some time, and adding more security into our payment process.
JOHN HOEBLER: Well, that’s great. So, we talked about procurement; we talked about treasury. It sounds like a lot of great improvements there. What about around the analytics? I heard Workday has some great analytics that we’ll be able to leverage.
AMY SEIBEL: Yes. One of the features that we’re really excited about is the work tag feature that Workday has that gives us the ability to tag data objects at the individual level. And that enables a variety amount of reporting so that we can cut and slice our data in different ways than we are able to do today.
JOHN HOEBLER: And I know recently we added a couple of new service lines to the company, either organically or potentially through acquisition. Do you anticipate the Workday structure and the work tags will make that easier?
AMY SEIBEL: Exactly. For a business like ours that’s growing, we oftentimes need a very dynamic way to be able to pivot and look at our data, because we’re often adding things, or modifying things, or shifting things. And so, the work tag feature gives us that flexibility.
JOHN HOEBLER: That’s outstanding. What about the dashboard? As a service line leader, I care about the whole company, but I only care about specifically my portion of the business. Will they be filtered in any way? So, based on whether you’re the CFO, or the CEO, or the COO, or a service line leader, would we have different dashboards, and what that would present for us?
AMY SEIBEL: An exciting feature of Workday is its dashboard features, and we have the ability to customize or tailor each task dashboard to each user. So, from an individual consultant’s dashboard to a leader like yourself, the dashboards would be tailored different. An individual consultant will look at something largely related to just them individually, whereas you as a leader, might be able to see a bigger view of all of the areas that you manage across – including head count, performance, people, and most importantly, financial performance.
JOHN HOEBLER: That’s great, because right now we have to do that in a myriad of other systems or spreadsheets, so it would be super exciting to be able to log in and to see that right at the top. So that’s very exciting.
AMY SEIBEL: Yes, and the drill down capabilities are exciting, too. You have actions that you can take at the dashboard level in order to learn more about your performance of your business.
JOHN HOEBLER: Yes, it’s hard to get to those analytics sometimes when we’re trying to talk about margins, and why something went down. It’s usually a hunt to find that. So that will be super exciting to be able to gain analytics to figure out what happened quickly, and then quickly move to problem solving.
I know we also purchased Workday Adaptive Planning. Can you talk about Workday Adaptive Planning a little bit?
AMY SEIBEL: Yes, another feature that’s near and dear to my heart. Today, we do a lot of our budgeting, reporting, and dashboards in mostly manual ways. So we’re really excited about the Adaptive features such that we can automate most of the reporting that we do today. The budget cycle’s coming up, and we do a fair amount of dashboard and other reporting monthly, so we’re excited about that.
One of the big things that is extra exciting about the Adaptive tool is that today, because of the manual nature in which we’re looking at our business and spreadsheets, is that we’re only able to look at it at maybe the segment level, or maybe one or two levels down from the segments. And with Adaptive, we’ll have the ability to drill all the way down to the lowest unit of our business in terms of our segments and build, for example, the budget from a bottoms-up perspective at that lowest level. And that gives us the ability to do a budget to actual reporting in a different way than we have never been able to.
JOHN HOEBLER: Yes, that’s really a game-changer. Well, thank you, Amy. I’m really excited for the project. Thank you for joining us today and sharing your perspective.
AMY SEIBEL: Thanks, John. Thanks for having me.