Rolling out a Workday Financial Management implementation

KeyBank: One of America’s largest Workday finance transformations

KeyBank: One of America’s largest Workday finance transformations
  • February 22, 2024

When KeyBank needed to replace its out-of-date general ledger system, it didn’t simply install a new technology solution. It underwent a major finance transformation, using Workday to help eliminate many manual tasks, create automations, generate business-boosting data and more. Its newly upskilled workforce – which is unencumbered by legacy tech and can now think more strategically – is ready to take on more business-building activities to help stay ahead in the evolving financial services industry.

KeyBank: One of America’s largest Workday finance transformations



Financial services



Reduced the number of cost centers from 18,000 to 1,300, eliminating duplicate work, unnecessary complexities and saving KeyBank significant time

Reduced the number of financial operational reports from 1,400 down to 100, further boosting efficiency

Automated 40% of SOX controls — the safeguards that help prevent errors — up from 17%


Modernizing the finance function

While KeyBank is a 200-year-old financial institution, the Cleveland-headquartered organization has never shied away from making critical business investments. Case in point: when the bank — which caters to retail, small business, corporate and investment clients — needed to replace a decades-old mainframe finance application, leadership wanted to do more than buy new technology. Instead, they went all in on a business-altering finance transformation.

Priority number one? Replace the critical, but soon-to-be-retired, general ledger solution and finance data platform, which stored important financial information.

As modernizing the finance function is a central concern to an overwhelming number of CFOs, KeyBank focused on the big picture. The organization wanted to reduce transaction processing time and lower compliance costs by automating controls and reporting processes. This, in turn, would help reduce time spent manipulating and reconciling data and allow business lines to focus on analysis powered by real-time insights.

By streamlining planning and forecasting processes — and aligning expense drivers — KeyBank leaders could make more informed decisions and help increase ROI.

When KeyBank began its finance transformation, it maintained thousands of accounts and cost centers and had too many people manually inputting general ledger data. Plus, the institution’s regulatory and reporting process was mostly manual, meaning long hours and room for hiccups and mistakes. Meanwhile, financial analytics were created in silos outside of the finance department. When conducting its analysis, KeyBank also realized that its shadow finance accounting and reporting activities could be centralized and rationalized to further improve service and reduce costs.

KeyBank took a holistic approach, addressing digital disruption head on — leading with automations, data consistency and preventive monitoring. This digital agility helps position KeyBank as competitive, operationally effective and attractive to top talent in the midst of a talent war.

KeyBank's goal: Move beyond being a steward of critical information and use new tools to drive strategy and decision-making. Meet targets. Manage risk. Find new opportunities. Introduce insights. Be more agile and join the frontier of predictive analysis with decision-ready information.  


Banking on more efficient business focus and insights

The KeyBank and PwC teams used out-of-the-box thinking to assess where finance is today vs. where it could be in five years. Throughout the transformation, teams continually pushed one another to reimagine how work is done.

KeyBank’s mission is to empower clients, communities and employees to thrive. But to continue thriving itself, the company needed a system that could help it reach business goals. The joint team came up with a two-step process to finance transformation:

Step one: Centralize and rationalize the operating model. Adopt a unified finance data model and common process standards. Digitize what was once done in manual spreadsheets and move to a cloud-based platform, using Workday Financial Management, Workday Adaptive Planning, Workday Prism Analytics and Workday Accounting Center.

Step two: Fully digitize. Adopt a finance-of-the-future operating model with real-time analytics. In the past, if a KeyBank employee wanted to look at a loan portfolio, they would see one large loan balance rather than multiple balances reflecting individual loans and would have to crunch the numbers themselves. KeyBank’s new solution gives employees deeper insights into their loans in seconds, so they can spend more time collaborating on ways to boost business.

Before the transformation, about 85% of the finance team’s time was spent processing transactions, gathering and collating data and completing compliance and reporting activities. Just 15% went to developing business insights, like identifying where a division might be underperforming.

These insights are crucial to keeping the business on track for growth. As they work through subsequent phases of the transformation, KeyBank expects to continue to automate processes and further reduce the time it takes to close its books.

Elevating the workplace experience

KeyBank chose Workday, a PwC Alliance, to underpin its transformation — which included revamping transaction processing, supporting new Federal Reserve reporting requirements and providing on-demand learning resources — because the software can satisfy a seemingly endless variety of demands. It could also flex to the institution’s needs, such as automating data collection and adapting to regulatory changes in real time — all while maintaining a consistent user experience.

Given the enormity of this transformation, PwC and KeyBank upskilled employees through workshops, videos and in-person software testing sessions. These training sessions helped employees think differently about their work, easily adjust to new processes and learn about the time savings the wide-reaching technology solutions offered.

As additional tasks are increasingly automated, KeyBank’s workforce can expect to have even more time and opportunities to think strategically, become more responsive to business needs and develop new ways to invest company dollars. And getting everyone on the same system means each employee can access the same data and quickly get on the same page.

Part of KeyBank’s success can also be attributed to the company's flexibility. It changed its business processes to align to Workday’s platform designed on leading practices — like automating financial consolidation, which reduces overall reporting cycles.

Tapping into Workday’s time-saving tech

KeyBank’s technological requirements were complex, but Workday was a natural fit for the task. In fact, KeyBank has a history with Workday that dates all the way back to 2014 with Workday HCM, and it was clear there would be potential for long-term advantages with this latest implementation.

During phase one of the transformation, PwC and KeyBank added Workday Financial Management and Workday Adaptive Planning to its existing Workday platform. This replaced the company’s former financial system and streamlined its general ledger, accounts receivable, financial planning, and analysis. Furthermore, by having all of KeyBank’s people and financial data in one Workday platform, the organization can create even more long-term synergies, insights and the opportunity for further automation.

The teams are now collaborating to expand Workday Prism Analytics, which will create an expanded finance data hub, helping to instill employee trust and confidence that everyone is accessing the same data.

KeyBank also selected Workday Adaptive Planning for budgeting and planning and Workday Accounting Center to centralize accounting rules. Using Workday as a single platform across its entire finance function also makes it easier for KeyBank to integrate disparate systems and data. That, in turn, saves staff time and reduces headaches caused by using multiple systems.

Results: Compounding skills and digital agility for a more flexible finance function


Compounding skills and digital agility for a more flexible finance function

KeyBank is now one of the largest financial companies in the US to use Workday Financial Management. As such, the organization modernized with an accounting rules engine and improved the quality of various data models.

The Workday adoption also made KeyBank far more efficient — eliminating thousands of cost centers and dramatically reducing the number of financial and operational reports. The team remediated about 300 integrations, allowing employees to avoid reverse mapping and instead access financial data in one cloud-based dashboard.

The bank also automated numerous processes, saving countless hours of manual task time while creating an adaptable, digital-enabled workforce. Keybank can now close its books on the first day of the month as opposed to the former three-day process, allowing it to deliver information to investors and stakeholders faster. Additionally, the business aims to view financial results in real time, which allows it to adjust operations when in danger of missing projections.

As a bonus, every simplified process helps KeyBank become more agile, meaning it can more easily adapt to customer wants and needs.


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When undertaking significant finance transformation initiatives, forge even stronger collaborations with your CFO, other leaders and audit committees. Bring regulatory information to the forefront at an early stage, offer guidance on complex accounting and reporting matters, and help your colleagues grasp technical accounting intricacies. Develop a technology agenda with clear objectives that will fuel ongoing excitement for innovation.

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Principal, Consulting services, PwC US

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Principal, Workday Financials Transformation Leader, Consulting Solutions, PwC US

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Managing Director, Financial Services, PwC US

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