Training begins next month on Workday Planning module

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The new embedded budgeting module in Workday is on track to go live in April.

A project team last fall began configuring the budget program for Workday, the platform that has handled Iowa State's financial and human capital management transactions since last summer. Financial officers will use Workday Planning for the first time in setting budgets for fiscal year 2021, which begins July 1, 2020.

Legacy budget systems couldn't be coordinated with Workday, but building budgets in Workday Planning will take advantage of the platform's real-time financial data and allow a more collaborative and holistic development process, interim associate vice president for institutional finance strategy Ellen Rasmussen said at a program demonstration Feb. 4.

Training next month

Workday Planning will launch just as the budgeting cycle begins to intensify, essentially extending go-live for the duration of the FY21 budget-setting process, said Rasmussen, who is leading the project.

"I kind of see it as a three-month deployment," she said.

The project team has identified 20 job aids it will create to help navigate the new system, step-by-step tip sheets that will be on the WorkCyte website. In-person training classes are scheduled to run March 23-27. User acceptance training is expected to run March 23-April 3, with in-person learning labs beginning April 6.

Fifty ISU staff will have a "planner" role in the system, allowing them to create and edit budgets. Many others will have "viewer" access for seeing and commenting on sheets and reports. Rasmussen said direct invitations will be sent to planners who will need training to begin developing the FY21 budget.

"You don't have to worry about missing anything. We'll invite you," she said.

Training and access for viewers will come later in the first phase deployment, after the system has stabilized.

What's in and out

In its initial phase for FY21, Workday Planning will be limited to creating a single-year budget for the legislative of general fund revenue composed mostly of state and federal general and directed appropriations, tuition and indirect cost revenue -- about half of the university's $1.5 billion budget.

In future phases, the system will be expanded to support multiyear plans and most restricted funds budgets, including auxiliary and fee-for-service units. Capital planning and forecasts for enrollment and tuition could be included over time. The timeline and phasing for those elements isn't set yet.

"There will be a lot of things that could eventually be part of the system, but aren't right now," Rasmussen said.

Some aspects that initially were going to be included in phase one have been pushed back to future iterations, such as faculty startup funds. Rasmussen said that gives the project team more time to develop the features for employee compensation planning. External grant budgeting won't be incorporated at any point.

What's new

The decision-making hierarchy for budgeting won't change. The president and senior vice presidents will continue to set budget policies and priorities, with input from the institutional budget management team, that will drive unit-level decisions across the university's four divisions. Workday will provide planners with access to actual expense and revenue data, including current year information updated monthly, which will bring a deeper level of budget analysis.

"The reports you're using to support some of that decision-making will certainly change," Rasmussen said.

At the Feb. 4 demonstration, staff who will begin using Workday Planning this spring got a peek at how work is progressing. The planning module will appear on Workday's home screen as "Adaptive Insights," a company Workday acquired in 2018 to add a planning and budget development capacity to its platform.

The sheets that planners will use will include actual revenue and expense information from the current year as a starting point for the next year’s budget. Some information, such as revenue estimates, will be entered centrally. Workday financial data or centrally supplied allocation rates will feed some fields automatically. Planners can edit their budgets to reflect their unit’s needs. Reports are integrated and easier to access.

One difference highlighted in the demo is a change in budgeting nonlabor spending. Planners will separate expected expenses into just 10 general categories such as maintenance, supplies and equipment. That will avoid the detailed categories established in Workday, which classifies more than 600 types of nonlabor expenses.

Having a uniform manner for budgeting those expenses also makes it easier to view campuswide trends, said project team member Ben Phillips, a fiscal officer in the College of Human Sciences.

"You can look and see what are the maintenance needs across the entire university," he said.