Finance dashboard saves time, assures accuracy

A new dashboard in Workday for cost center managers and grant coordinators stores in one place the reports, tasks and links they use most frequently, erasing time spent searching and assuring they're using the most recent version.

The dashboard, known as FORT (Finance Officers Reports and Tasks), has its own announcements section, where this group of about 200 strategic finance employees receives timely updates specific to their duties in Workday. It also provides links to external sources, including training and policy documents and ISU Foundation financial reports.

FORT, which addresses some challenges voiced in last January's survey of Workday users, is part of the university's commitment to continuously improving the Workday platform for finance and human resources launched in July 2019.

FORT's reports and tasks existed previously, but with separate dashboards for procurement, sponsored programs administration or financial reporting, for example, finance officers were spending too much time locating what they needed to do their jobs, said Rachael Gross, operations manager for the operations and finance division and part of the 11-member team that developed FORT. Features in Workday's quarterly update for clients in September made a comprehensive dashboard possible, she said.

"I am so proud of the collaborative effort to develop and implement tools such as the FORT dashboard," said Heather Paris, associate vice president for central finance and finance delivery. "As part of our commitment to the continuous improvement journey with Workday and service delivery, our teams will work diligently to identify solutions to streamline access to financial information for decision-making across our campus community."

Better for everyone

With the easier access, FORT significantly shortens users' response times to the faculty and staff they serve. When a researcher asks for a grant balance or a department chair inquires about details on a transaction, they should receive a faster response based on current, accurate data.

Finance officers who add FORT to their Workday landing page receive access only to the reports and tasks they are cleared to use, keeping their dashboard as simple and helpful as possible. For reports they use quarterly or annually -- and may not easily recall their name -- the dashboard is especially helpful, Gross said.

Continuous improvement

The team that developed FORT meets biweekly to review additional tweaks to the dashboard and draft announcements. A current project is to write descriptions for each report in the dashboard to guide users to the best report for their needs.

"The amount of work going into making this a great resource is immense," Gross said. "Our team is continually looking at ways to improve the dashboard for their benefit."

Users of the FORT dashboard also are encouraged to email feedback, questions and suggestions to