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UW Finance Transformation

Frequently Asked Questions

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UWFT is much more than a systems update. It’s a collaborative redesign of our current finance policies, processes and systems for predictable, real-time and informed decisions. This includes some changes to current processes as well as the adoption of additional Workday® modules to enable financial functionality to the UW Workday application for both Academy and Medicine.

Our current financial accounting system (FAS) was created in 1974 to run an annual $552M institution. Today’s UW’s revenues are $8B. With approximately 900 side systems and 900 integrations between systems, our financial systems are extremely fragmented and provide limited reporting capabilities, impeding decision-making, hampering productivity and increasing risk. We lack transparency and there is no single source of truth.  A 2018 Hackett benchmarking study also revealed that we spend twice as much as peers on procurement and supply chain activities. Plus, over 1,000 employees do financial work not core to their job function. 

One comprehensive, cloud-based, modern finance infrastructure is vital to support the University and promote responsible stewardship. With Workday we will have a single, transparent source of trusted, timely and reliable financial information across the entire University, providing easier access to real-time information and better insight into resources/fund availability to support proactive decision-making. And through shared services, we will have an operating model that allows unit employees to focus on mission-critical work.


The following areas will be impacted by Finance Transformation:

  • Record to Report

  • Asset Acquire to Retire

  • Customer Requisitions to Payment

  • Grant Award to Close

  • Manage Cash and Financial Assets

  • Gift and Endowments

  • Procurement and Supply Chain

  • Project Inception to Close

  • Hire to Retire

  • Plan and Manage the Business

See our webpage covering scope here for more details.

UW Finance Transformation will affect all who conduct financial-related work at the University.

In 2018, a benchmarking and data gathering study informed how the enterprise and local units handle financial business processes, systems and staffing. This information was used to help build new process design and a conceptual operating model. Further process design has been developed in broad collaboration with process transformation team (PTT) members in process design workshops (PDW) made up of approximately 300 subject matter experts (SMEs) and participants from 100 units across the enterprise. Collaboration and information gathering has also been conducted by the technology change management team handling systems dispositioning and integrations and with the reporting and security workstream on Workday platform alignment. UWFT’s organizational change management team also meets regularly with units to gather additional information and change impacts. 

Decisions are made through UW Finance Transformation's governance structure. To learn more about governance structure, see our governance fact sheet on the Change Network.

You can find them under the “End-to-End Process Areas” section within the UWFT Change Network.

The Change Network and its SharePoint site have been created to help provide a framework for ongoing end user engagement in the planning, design, configuration, testing, and eventual deployment of the University’s new finance system. Visit our webpage and site here.

Please contact our program any time with questions and feedback at


Workday is a cloud-based software that will provide tools and functionality to support finance and human capital management business activities at UW. See more about our decision to move forward with Workday here.

Based on a thorough evaluation, the UW has determined Workday® Financials will provide the best available platform to support its business objectives for finance transformation, while also providing a seamless, tightly integrated solution for human resources and payroll (HR/P), procurement, and finance.

The go-live date, scope, schedule, and budget were defined as part of our Readiness and Design activities in 2019.​ See our timeline here.


With Workday, the UW will be able to:

  • Deliver quick, accurate data

  • Provide the same data to everyone, facilitating transparency in decision-making at all levels

  • Identify overruns, deficits, and other risks big and small

  • Support long-term planning through better forecasting

  • Integrate all platforms, including HR/Payroll (HR/P), procurement and finance (enter data only once)

  • Help leverage the hard work and dedication of our staff to improve effectiveness

  • Reduce the administrative workload associated with business functions and interactions that are necessary but secondary to our core mission

Workday provides support for screen readers, keyboards, speech-to-text software, zoom, and color and contrast enhancements. Please see this whitepaper directly from Workday for details. UW Finance Transformation follows all University, state, and federal accessibility policies.

All of UW will operate on the most current version of Workday; however, the Workday system may look or feel different upon go-live as we will have additional functionalities and will have a new Foundation Data Model (FDM).

We will utilize a “Big Bang” approach where core financials, procurement, supply chain, and post-awards grants management for UW Medicine and UW Academy will go-live at the same time. Systems being fully replaced by Workday will be retired at go-live.

Workday® Adaptive is a planning and forecasting tool that UW Finance Transformation (UWFT) is implementing to improve, prepare and maintain UW’s financial budgets in the future state. Just as Workday® Financials is a cloud-based tool to help us manage future-state financials, Adaptive is the tool within the Workday platform that will help us with future-state planning and management reporting. Once we go live with the full financials and Adaptive, we’ll use new standard terminology to describe activities and concepts for budgeting and fiscal management across these tools. 

Generally, staff who develop budgets and plans and need to report or analyze actual performance versus those plans. In April 2022, Unit Readiness Leads (URLs) and administrators used the Employee Mapping Tool (EMT) to map employees to Adaptive security roles and corresponding levels of access. Specifically, unit-level users fall into one of two security categories: Planner or Report Only. Planners are able to enter budget data into the budget templates within Adaptive. Report Only users can’t enter data but can run reports to view budget data at the level of detail required for their analysis and review. 

You can learn about the Workday® Adaptive Planning tool on the Change Network. There you can see UWFT Adaptive Key Points, Benefits and access resources including FAQs, the timeline, videos and more useful information. 

Future State

Yes, a “big bang” approach implementing all functionality is currently planned for the work being done within UW Finance Transformation. 

Currently, there are over 895 side systems supporting finance and supply chain processes and over 900 integrations between systems. Design considerations in the Architect stage will help determine which systems to retire, which to remediate and the steps necessary to integrate with current Workday applications. 

To date, UWFT has identified several systems as candidates for retirement. These include some of the financial enterprise applications in UW Academy (UWA), such as the financial accounting system (FAS), the purchasing and account payables system (PAS), budgeting system (BGT), Ariba, and MyFinancial Desktop (MyFD), among other systems in both UWA and UW Medicine. This list will continue to be refined as we move through the program and is refreshed on a weekly basis with the current disposition. You can view the current systems candidates list on the Change Network. The “system disposition” column indicates whether a system is currently expected to be retained or retired.  

The formal UWFT training program for end users will start approximately three months before go-live. Training will be delivered via a blended approach of different delivery methods. These include:

  • Virtual/in-person instructor-led training courses (these will include hands-on exercises in a real Workday system) 
  • eLearning courses 
  • Quick reference guides 
  • Practice labs (self-paced practice sessions) 
  • Job shadowing (selective) 
  • Peer-to-peer learning
  • Workday “sandbox” system to practice in outside of formal training before go-live

UW will remain compliant with all local, state and federal laws and regulations. As we implement Workday, some of our policies regarding business processes may change.