Workiva 101: Beyond the Basics


Posted by Michelle Richardson

Topic(s): Training, Workiva

Read Time: minute(s)

The Need

Although Workiva offers excellent, basic training for beginning users as well as additional specialized courses, many of our clients have expressed a need for more. We created Workiva 101: Beyond the Basics to provide a space for more than simple skill-building 

This training serves the broader goal of enhancing our clients’ understanding of the domain they work in. It will improve attendees' ability to participate meaningfully in conversations about data and report automation. Like the reporting standards (GASB, PSAB, FASB, etc.) themselves, Workiva’s functionality is changing all the timeso we aim to help our clients become nimbler, lifelong problem-solvers.  software_features

The Difference

Workiva 101 differs from other course offerings in a few ways. First, the course was designed with adult education best practices in mind. Pre-course and post-course surveys and a course assessment are included as part of the overall learning experience to maximize engagement and enhance learning outcomes.  

Rather than being solely lecture-based, the course includes interactive components at every step, promoting the retention of skills and the reasoning behind them. In addition to its instructional piece, the training features live demonstration of the skills discussed. workiva101_classroom_graphic

And finally, Workiva 101 allows participants to practice the skills they’ve just learned in a hands-on, safe workspace, with real-time guidance and oversight from our expert instructors. After all, watching an instructional video doesn’t give learners confidence. Practice does. 


A New Mindset

Many of our new clients are refugees from a land of spreadsheets, with a deeply ingrained reliance on manual data entry and manipulation. They’ve learned to treat report preparation like a document-editing task, instead of setting up reports to be data driven. They’re used to gathering and typing information into a report by hand. If they discover errors, they must contact others to investigate and find a solution. This method relies heavily on human comprehension and attention

easy_v_hard_graphic-1Finance and budget professionals typically take this approach because they don’t know how to use available tools and don’t have time to weed through instructional videos or “help” documentation. To them, manual manipulation seems simpler, safer, and even faster. It’s what they know. But in the long run, they will reap far greater benefits from doing the proper thing, rather than the seemingly simple thing. 

Instead of adding more steps to already complex processes, we challenge finance and budget teams to do away with unnecessary tasks. As their duties continue to expand, we invite them to think differently. A department that clings to manual data entry and manipulation is delaying the inevitable. 


Looking Ahead

FHB intends to develop additional course offerings in the near future, following principles of adult learning to incorporate gamification and other interactive elements. For example, Workiva 201 will focus on advanced queries—how to write your own SQL (Structured Query Language) to extract every bit of available automation from the platform.  

workiva101_past_v_presentTypically, writing SQL is left to members of an organization’s Information Technology (IT) staff because most accountants don’t understand the syntax. Unfortunately, in most cases, IT experts don’t understand accounting. This often leads to painful, time-consuming, back-and-forth communication in an effort to understand each other.  

We see massive benefits for those accountants who can bridge this gap effectively by fulfilling the more historic role of an accountant.  workvia101_yogaA strong grasp of Workiva’s implementation of SQL will enable finance, budget, and audit teams to become less dependent on IT.  We’re developing Workiva 101, 201, and additional courses because we know that a little incremental knowledge can unlock a world of understanding. And understanding brings competence, confidence, and calm 



Course Description

Have you taken Workiva’s basic training, but still feel ill-equipped to make use of its total functionality? Do you struggle to stay abreast of its newly updated features? Or are you strictly a Workiva beginner?  

Taught over two half-days, this live virtual learning opportunity is: 

  • Led by Workiva-certified experts 
  • Designed and delivered by CPAs, for CPAs 
  • Hands-on and interactive 

Our experienced course leaders will provide instruction, demos, and practice exercises designed to optimize your Workiva experience, covering: 

  • Understanding platform components 
  • Creating tables to hold any of the data you need  
  • Loading data into the database 
  • Creating queries using Workiva’s quick and easy builder functionality  
  • Connecting your data to spreadsheets 
  • Building spreadsheets and writing formulas based on the connected queries 
  • Creating document content and linking it back to the query-connected spreadsheets 

Built for Public Sector – Applicable for Corporate Users Too

While the scenario we use as the context for the Workiva 101 training is a new GASB pronouncement, the training is just as applicable for corporate Workiva users. So users from any industry will come away with a more advanced understanding and practical mastery of this valuable software.



  • Be a currently licensed user of Workiva 
  • Have a workspace suitable for training 
  • Have the “Workspace Owner” role in the workspace to be used 
  • Complete Workiva Learning Hub course "Using Workiva" 

At the time of this article’s publishing, establishment of CPD/CPE eligibility for  
Workiva 101: Beyond the Basics is in process. Please check back in 1-2 weeks for updates. 

For more on this topic(s), see: Training, Workiva

Originally Posted on 02 June, 2023

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