P&S Council learns about Workday training in development

The Professional and Scientific Council received an update on training and development for employees in finance leadership roles across the university during its Oct. 6 meeting.

Training will be delivered in three parts by July 1, 2023, primarily focused on cost center and business unit managers, but also useful for business unit financial analysts and financial administrative support specialists. The training will assist 165 cost center managers and 45 business unit managers.

Cost center managers are responsible for review and  final approval of Workday transactions to align with current policies and departmental strategy, said finance service delivery operations manager Rachael Gross. Previously their training came in various forms, from desk manuals to word of mouth, which led to inconsistencies.

A survey of cost center and business unit managers helped identify gaps in training as well as current strengths. Training is being designed using input from the results.

"We identified a real gap in terms of training for all of our finance leaders across campus," said Heather Paris, interim senior vice president for operations and finance. "Having something that is comprehensive, in one place and on-demand for a new cost center manager coming into a department, or someone who has been there a while but needs to learn more about the Workday system, is key."


The training will focus on financial business processes and tools, interdepartmental collaboration and essential information to work in a financial leadership position. Currently, it is broken into three parts -- introductory, intermediate and advanced -- and will be administered through Workday Learning, which is set to launch in the coming months. Managers would be required to take the trainings that apply to their job. Gross said the amount of training is fluid to ensure it is easily understood and not too lengthy.

"It is not just how to do the transaction, but when you run into something that doesn't fit into a box, where do I go or who do I reach out to?" she said.

The introductory level is intended for the first week on the job with organizational and budget structures, allowability and appropriateness, and basic Workday transactions, Gross said. Intermediate provides a higher level of training on reporting, petty cash, payroll accounting and expense reimbursement. Advanced training focuses on audit reporting, internal billing, receivables, tuition and nonconventional payments.

Training would be assigned to new employees in Workday and available to those currently in a role wanting to increase their knowledge. It also will be updated as needs of financial managers shift.


The financial leaders alignment group (FLAG) leadership team is helping develop training. Its members come from financial units and departments across campus. Each contributor is evaluating what information should be included in the training and at which level.

"Our FLAG representatives work with change management to review for risks, knowledge gaps and any policy or procedure issues from their point of view," Gross said.

Material for the first level of training will be collected by mid-November and the course draft developed by the end of November. A focus group will provide feedback in December with the introductory level launch in January.

"We will pull together the training in a way that allows us to do knowledge-based checks and be very interactive with the different layers of a transaction," Gross said.

Tentatively, intermediate training would launch in the spring with advanced to follow in the summer, Gross said.