What FinServ Provides that a Workday Implementation Requires
What FinServ Provides that a Workday Implementation Requires
July 2018

FinServ has been engaged by many clients whose implementation partner was underperforming in key areas. Many Workday implementation partners lack a deep understanding of the investment industry and its specific business requirements. It is, therefore, extremely important to augment the project from the start with a project manager and/or business analyst who understands the client’s business to ensure informed decisions are made from the onset.

For instance, when implementing Workday Financials at a private equity firm, integration partners may not understand that “customers” in Workday can often mean funds. They are also likely not aware of how the General Partner (“GP”) structure fits into the overall Consolidated Group, or how to properly account for capital calls and distributions. This lack of understanding can lead to an improper setup that creates cascading issues in Workday.

On a Workday HCM implementation, integration partners may not be aware of the unique compensation models used by different sectors (Private Equity, Hedge Funds, Investment Banks, etc.) within the financial services industry. In addition, they may also not have knowledge about the nuances of capturing deal-related expenses that ultimately need to be paid by the management company and reimbursed by the funds.

Finally, implementation partners often do not anticipate the lean organizations at most investment firms. Workday partners often assume there is a large, dedicated client team, which is generally not available at most investment firms. As a result, the implementation team will need to take on responsibilities that it would expect the client to perform, such as data reconciliations, user acceptance testing, and hands-on transition support.

Bridging the Gap

The most successful Workday implementations have a resident expert – a resource that can speak the Workday language and really understands the business. FinServ fills this void and ensures each Workday implementation meets the goals of the business. With more than 14 years of experience working in the alternative asset management industry, FinServ possesses a deep understanding of our clients’ businesses. Because of this, FinServ has been widely successful in the roles of internal project manager and business analyst, applying industry-specific concepts to help configure a tailored Workday solution that takes into consideration the nuances of each client.

Financials Example: Leveraging Worktags

One of Workday’s core strengths is providing a highly dynamic platform; however, this flexibility can be a double-edged sword. A successful implementation can reap huge benefits by streamlining business processes and automating manual accounting functions, but the caveat, of course, is understanding how certain functionalities can be leveraged.

A prime example involves mapping general ledger accounts. Workday is extremely flexible and is designed to limit the extent of IT support required to maintain the system. Certain fields known as “worktags” are used to determine which general ledger accounts are posted to for a particular transaction. However, the same worktags will map to different accounts depending on whether the transaction is flagged as prepaid, part of a capitalizable project, fixed asset, or expense entry. There are significant risks if these mappings are not done properly, as this can lead to incorrect financial statements. FinServ understands the different types of postings made at alternative investment companies to provide the proper guidance so that the correct decisions are made.

With all the intricacies within Workday, it can be overwhelming to envision what your production environment will look like. Ensuring your existing accounting, security roles, and internal controls are compliant with regulatory standards can be daunting. Additionally, since Workday Financials is still a relatively new player in the market, we’ve seen clients challenged to configure their tenant with the confidence to meet their requirements. Because we’ve implemented Financials at several clients, FinServ provides a clear vision of your fully configured Workday tenant.

HCM Example: Managing the Compensation Structure

With all that said for Financials, Workday HCM also presents its own set of complexities. Workday Compensation is used to craft unique packages across all areas of the organization, with the key benefits of having Payroll, Talent, and more all on the same technology platform. FinServ understands that the compensation structure at financial services firms is complicated, and each firm has a unique model. For example, there can be challenges with how a firm runs waterfall distributions, defers payments, calculates discretionary bonuses, and more. Due to these nuances, there is a higher level of customization required by many of our clients compared to other industries. As such, Workday may be required to handle these compensation models with a highly-customized solution in Workday Studio.

FinServ has also experienced the introduction of a third-party vendor to develop a customizable compensation platform that runs in parallel with Workday. This solution may offer a higher degree of flexibility to handle specific requests, such as complex bonus planning with various components and financial roll-ups. This is especially useful as many firms have multiple exceptions or inconsistent compensation rules that are hard to account for with a traditional software provider. These calculations can be fed back into Workday Compensation so the numbers are tracked to each employee, thus enabling all data to flow through a single platform. In our experience, this is often the best approach for alternative asset management firms, allowing the integration to be more efficient from a time and materials basis.

Choosing the right structure for compensation is a big decision since employees’ pay and talent retention are top priorities. Whether you decide to fully develop your compensation through Workday or utilize a third-party integration in parallel, FinServ has experience with both solutions to develop the best structure for your firm. Additionally, FinServ has more than a decade of integration experience with specific knowledge and relationships with vendors in the industry.

Conclusion

Workday is an expensive system that offers a huge amount of flexibility, and has quickly become the de facto choice of progressive firms looking to implement a HCM and Financial systems solution. There are huge, tangible benefits that a firm can achieve from implementing Workday, but the key to success is selecting the right specialist firm to ensure that the system is configured to meet business goals. With FinServ, you have a trusted advisor with experience in both Workday and the industry to help you make informed decisions about what functionality to leverage, ensuring that you make the most of your Workday investment. We help those in financial services and alternative asset management to create an infrastructure that fosters growth and supports their staff in the most efficient manner possible.

About FinServ Consulting

FinServ Consulting is an independent experienced provider of business consulting, systems development, and integration services to alternative asset managers, global banks, and their service providers. Founded in 2005, FinServ delivers customized world-class business and IT consulting services for the front, middle, and back office, providing managers with optimal and first-class operating environments to support all investment styles and future asset growth. The FinServ team brings a wealth of experience from working with the largest and most complex asset management firms and global banks in the world.