SpinifexIT Blogs

HR documents
Why HR document access is crucial during a crisis
Why HR document access is crucial during a crisis 1024 576 SpinifexIT

How the COVID crisis has changed the way we work and shown that quick access to HR documents is crucial.

On March 16, 2020, a community-wide enhanced quarantine (ECQ) was imposed in Metro Manila and other parts of the Philippines. This move was part of the government’s efforts to flatten the COVID19 infection curve.

While rules were eased starting May 16th, restrictions were still put in place for the ‘modified enhanced community quarantine’ (MECQ).

During the ECQ, a civilian’s movements were restricted. They could only go out for necessities – getting groceries, medicines, going to the hospital, sorting their banking needs. That’s it. Only frontliners, as defined by the government’s IRR, were allowed to regularly go out and proceed with business as usual. 

When quarantine protocols were modified, the MECQ presented new challenges for workers returning to their workplace. To report to work, they had to present the following: 

  1. Their city-issued Quarantine Pass
  2. Two, or at least one valid Government ID
  3. Their Company ID stating their office’s address for verification
  4. And a signed Certificate of Employment (COE)

The fourth requirement might sound basic. However, in the Philippines, where traditional HR processes are still a norm, securing a signed Certificate of Employment during ECQ can be difficult. Here’s why:

Employees still have to email HR to request for a copy of their COE. Even during regular business days, this takes days for HR to produce as it is not considered their top priority. Most of the time, they would rather be focused on running payroll and getting pay and benefits right.

Issuing HR documents such as COEs is a time-consuming administrative task that is often overlooked and under-appreciated… until it becomes a requirement for everyone.

Such is the case now, at least, in Metro Manila. Without a COE proving that you work at Company ABC, you’ll be sent home, penalized.

Having access to your HR documents 24/7 is not just a ‘nice-to- have’ perk. It is a necessity – regardless of circumstances. 

So this is how we do it at SpinifexIT. 

Anytime, anywhere, on my mobile phone or laptop, I’ll just log in to my SuccessFactors for instance. I’ll click a tiny box that says Strato, and then select “Certificate of Employment.”

I’ll download it or mail it to myself, so I’ll have a copy of it with me all the time. 

I didn’t have to contact our HR Manager, I didn’t have to wait for a few days to get a copy of my document.

I just logged in, downloaded – and then printed. Done.

This is why applications and solutions developed with a built-in Employee Self Service (ESS) option should be put under the spotlight more.

Times like these where we have to be self-sufficient may be ‘rare,’ but here we are now.

Aspects of what we’ve dreamed of as part of “the future ways of working” will be integrated to business as usual during and after COVID-19.

The best practices we apply now to improve the employee experience by giving them better access to their Employee Lifecycle Documents should be part of the ‘new normal.’ Not just because it’s convenient, but because it simply works.

Not using SAP SuccessFactors?
Strato Documents can create and send your employee documents with a MS Excel CSV file or a Google Sheets link as its own data source.

If you’re interested in Strato to give your employees easy access to their most needed documents, contact us at [email protected].

Take your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level (Part 2)
Take your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level (Part 2) 1024 576 SpinifexIT

In this blog, we’ll step back to consider some of the challenges during implementation, both for existing on-premise customers deciding to migrate to Employee Central Payroll (ECP) and for new Customers planning to implement ECP.  

This blog will focus on the Payroll Migration, but of course, you still need to implement Employee Central.

If you already have Employee Central implemented and connected to your on-premise solution, then the migration process could be much simpler as you may be able to just focus on the ECP side and know that the Employee Central configuration and setup is already there.

This blog comes with a FREE planning checklist.
Download it here and use it as your guide.

Moving from On-Premise? Implement, Reimplement or Migrate your Payroll

Many companies who are looking to move to Employee Central Payroll will be existing SAP On-Premise customers. If you fall into this category, you need to consider how much of your existing Payroll configuration and setup you would want to move to the Employee Central Payroll Solution.

SpinifexIT_April 2020 blog_Taking your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level part 2_Cost vs risk

Migrate your System

The intent of the migration is to move your configuration, and historical employee data (including payroll history) to the new Employee Central Payroll solution with the aim that it will run with minimal changes. This means less re-configuration, less testing and that you can continue to use your new system to report historical data.

Reimplement your Payroll

In some cases, customers may have areas that they have felt have always been a challenge.

For example: There may be an old configuration you wish to remove, or you want to reconfigure some payroll rules to operate differently. 

This is often a perfect time to do this as you have a project team and can incorporate this work into the existing project. It is also lower risk as you are only changing some areas of the configuration.

Save yourself and your company hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars!

The best course of action is to begin planning now, so you can review all the options available to you. Part of this is learning the prerequisites you’ll need to support your project more efficiently.

Aside from the migration of the payroll configuration, there are many other areas to also consider. 

Some of these include:

  • Will I migrate my prior history for the employees? For example: Do you move your payroll results, employee history, finance postings, year to date results into the new system?
  • How do I best perform Parallel runs?
  • Do I migrate my existing ABAP reports and other functionality into the new system?
  • For any reports being migrated, how will I modify and maintain these into the future?
  • Can all of my reports (Either custom reports or standard SAP reports) be executed from Employee Central, or by the Managers themselves
  • How will I cater for my Adhoc Requests that come up. Often we see customers go from 20-30 go live reports to hundreds in a period of 12 months.  If you have adhoc requests, you want to know how you will cater for these
  • Will all your custom reports and manual reports be able to fit into the Payroll Control Center process
  • If I need additional Payroll Control Center checks – How can I add these?

Author

SpinifexIT Darren Souter

Darren Souter

SpinifexIT Founder & Global Architect

Get this FREE ECP Implementation checklist to guide you in your planning and thought process!

Download your checklist here.

SpinifexIT April blog_Take your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level part 2 checklist image

If you need help assessing these questions further, feel free to talk to us, or even comment down below. We can schedule a quick discussion or even refer you to some of our customers who have used our solutions for their own implementations.

Ready to move to Employee Central Payroll?

The Easy Migration solution will help you de-risk and accelerate your migration to ECP with an integrated toolset that allows full configuration and data migration copies from On-Premise to ECP, reports to validate full payroll results, runs repeated payroll tests, and identifies data and configuration inconsistencies between source and target systems for corrections. 

SpinifexIT_April 2020 blog_Taking your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level part 2_Easy Migration

Easy Migration

Our Easy Migration solution helps you complete your ECP migration process 90% faster than traditional implementation times. It can help you:

    I
  • dentify and migrate your current payroll configuration to Employee Central Payroll.
  • Copy current employee data and results into the new system, and
  • Run reconciliation reports fast using built-in reports, powered by our SAP-Certified reporting solution

Our Easy Migration solution is also 100% integrated with other SpinifexIT solutions so it is an easy step to transition to our other products if you have the need.

What if I have already implemented ECP or plan to remain on-premise for the moment?

If you have already moved to Employee Central Payroll, or are happy to just stay with your on-premise solution for the moment, this doesn’t mean that you cannot look to areas to improve.

About 90% or more of the customers who we speak to, already have Employee Central Payroll or SAP Payroll installed and running, and are looking to improve some of their day to day manual processes.

In this case, the SpinifexIT solutions can just be installed into your existing system.  The way that most customers then start to use the solutions is as follows:

  • Train on how to use the solutions – This is about 3-5 days training upfront
  • Identify the time-consuming processes that your team is doing, and then replace these with any of our 120 pre-delivered reports. You can also build custom reports to support your HR and Payroll information requirements. This immediately removes a lot of manual steps and starts to free up your team. Here is the YouTube case study.
  • New, ad hoc requests can be delivered through Easy Reporter. Reports can be scheduled and emailed out directly to the required person so it completely removes the need for manual processing.
  • If your payroll has Year End processes for Australia, USA or Canada, start to use our predefined Year End solutions.
  • From here, you can continue to replace your existing manual processes with the automated Easy Reporter steps.

Over a quick period, you will be able to automate the extraction, generation and sending of your reports. Instead of spending a lot of time and effort manually building the perfect set of reports, your team can then focus on delivering a high quality service to your customers.

In Summary

Employee Central Payroll is a powerful solution, but like most software solutions, will have areas that can be further streamlined. Whether this is during the implementation, streamlining payroll processes, report building or reconciliation steps, there are always many ways to further take advantage of your ECP solution.

If you decide to walk the SpinifexIT path, you will find that we are not just a software solution that is dropped into your system and rarely used. 

Our team of expert consultants will work directly with your team right through the implementation and into go live to ensure you use the best practice methods from the start and build long lasting processes, based on the best practices we have seen at hundreds of other customers.

The reporting and Payroll Control Center solution (discussed in Part 1) is just part of the SpinifexIT solution set, but if you are moving to Employee Central Payroll, this is a key building block for your journey. 

Along the way, you may have a need for our other solutions, and the good thing is that most of our solutions leverage off of Easy Reporter, so you are starting with the best of breed solution.

SpinifexIT solutions can be installed in a matter of hours into your system, but if you are using any of our partner’s hosted Employee Central Payroll or SAP Payroll Solutions, then our solutions are already available in their environments. Make sure to ask them about us!

Once again, here’s your simplified implementation checklist, so you can talk about your plans with your implementation partner.

As always, feel free to reach out to us at [email protected] for any questions.

On a side note, we hope you’re doing well, and that you and your loved ones are healthy, safe and well despite what the world is going through. We’re all in this together, and SpinifexIT will always be here to support you if you need help with our solutions. 

Stay connected!

Our North American team recently held a User Group Meeting for all SpinifexIT customers. Stay tuned for announcements, so you may join these online activities in the future!

Employee Central Payroll
Take your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level
Take your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level 1024 475 SpinifexIT

In this blog, we’ll provide insights on options you can take to save time and thousands of dollars in your payroll business. This includes our findings whilst speaking with our own customers when streamlining their Payroll process. 

It is always a challenge for a customer new to SAP Payroll to know some of the challenges they will encounter along the journey, so I am trying to highlight some of the areas that I know will come up during implementation and post go-live.

For 20 years, I’ve been working in and around the SAP payroll solution and have been building software that can streamline its processes from end to end.

Whilst overall, I would think that most customers would benefit from additional solutions to streamline the existing processes, I will provide a balanced viewpoint without necessarily talking about just software solutions.

Author

SpinifexIT Darren Souter

Darren Souter

SpinifexIT Founder & Global Architect

The SAP Customer’s Standard Journey

Now, let’s talk about the journey of a standard SAP customer.

SAP Customer Journey
SAP Customer Journey

Reporting takes backstage during the implementation process, but turns out to be a major requirement as time goes on. So, does this mean needing additional reporting solutions?

Let’s explore the standard reporting solutions and find out if it is enough to work with these. 

Standard Employee Central Payroll Reports

Employee Central Payroll will come standard with many reports such as Superannuation Reports, Wagetype Reporter and Various Other pre-defined reports. 

These are all useful reports, but they are generally hardcoded and cannot easily be altered.

Adhoc Query is a generic reporting tool that SAP provides, however this only reports specific data such as infotypes and does not combine this with Payroll or other Transactional Results. 

This is often the starting place for reporting and we would recommend you understand the reports that are delivered out of the box.

People Analytics

This is a new Employee Central Reporting solution that sits on top of SAP Analytics Cloud. This is for reporting SuccessFactors data and replaces a number of the existing SuccessFactors reporting solutions. 

At this time, this solution does not include Payroll Reporting.

People Analytics is a new solution and as of today, it is too early to indicate the overall value proposition.

Workforce Analytics or People Analytics – Advanced Edition

Workforce Analytics (Now known as People Analytics Advanced Edition) is a useful Management Analytic Solution, but is often more higher business level reporting.  

Whilst this delivers a subset of Payroll Reports, these are often not the day to day reports the payroll team will require, but focused more on Management type reporting. 

This solution is not generally used for day-to-day Payroll Reporting.

SAP Analytics Cloud

This solution allows you to build your own dashboards and user stories using data from various systems with powerful visualisation tools.  

It would be possible to build your payroll reporting, but you need to consider how to get the data into this solution, and then how to cater for things like security, regular updates etc. 

This requires reports to be purpose built and then updated with data.  Much like many Business Warehouse solutions, and Workforce Analytics, this is more of a management analytics solution.

ABAP Custom Reports

Within the Employee Central Payroll Solution, the Internal IT Team can build their own reports. These however require a specific skill set and often end up with fairly purpose built reports.  

This is not a cost effective approach for most reporting needs.

Excel Reports

Most customers resort to using Excel or some other tool to extract data from Employee Central Payroll. You can include multiple data sources and merge them together to produce the reports you need.  

This is a very manual process and often results in many complex spreadsheets that require an expert to maintain.

So many reports, so little time

Equipping your Payroll team with the right tools and expertise upfront saves you a lot of time and many thousands, in some cases, millions of dollars.

Here’s where SpinifexIT can help you. 

Employee Central Payroll

Our customers have found that SpinifexIT is not just “nice to have”, but a mandatory solution for their day to day work. Our accelerator is powered by our SAP-certified Easy Reporter solution, our Payroll Control Center (PCC) Accelerator add-on, and a couple of localized solutions for Australian (Easy STP) and North American (Easy Balance) payroll reconciliation, and more!

Employee Central Payroll
  • Purpose build Payroll Day to Day and Compliance Reports that can be run out of the box
  • Adhoc Report capabilities to build the reports you need in minutes
  • Distribution Capabilities that can be used for sending reports out to managers, departments or even external interfaces such as Deduction Vendors
  • Full Integration into the Payroll Control Center solution as well as Employee or Manager Self Service Capabilities for any report you want to make available
  • Additional Functionality delivered out of the box that can be used to streamline implementation of Employee Central Payroll and even Testing the Regular upgrades.

In the next blog, we’ll be featuring customer case studies where SpinifexIT solutions have been implemented and how clients have considered it a success. We’re also including a 2020 checklist you can refer to whilst planning your implementation.

Let’s continue the conversation!

Subscribe to SpinifexIT to know the latest about our solutions!

Email us at [email protected]
to book a quick 15 – 30 minute discovery call to learn more about how you can take your Employee Central Payroll system to the next level.

Strato is featured in Tech Target!
Strato is featured in Tech Target! 1024 728 SpinifexIT

Strato, SpinifexIT’s document generation software, is featured in Tech Target’s Search SAP site.

The article, published on Jan. 25, highlights five third-party apps that help businesses maximise their Success Factors experience. 

Search SAP by Tech Target is a leading resource for the latest news and expert advice on SAP.

The article features Strato as a document generation solution that cuts down the copious amounts of business hours spent on producing documents.

Here’s the full quote from the article:

“Finally, SpinifexIT’s Strato software provides the ability to generate documents that can be electronically signed by candidates and hiring managers or other responsible parties. Such documents include job requisitions, offer letters, employment contracts and more. Automating them enables more efficient management and execution of the recruitment process.”

Strato was built to help businesses create and distribute (in less time) professional documents required in employment, recruitment and payroll. Documents can be created in multiple languages and accessed across multiple devices.

Learn its full capabilities here.

You can also watch our videos to understand how this document generation solution works and how you can use it to optimise your Success Factors platform to meet your business requirements.

Find out the top business cases Strato can solve in this quick webinar:

Create and generate complicated HCM documents without the need for custom programming or external support.

Here’s how easy it is to generate Pixel Perfect Talent Card in Strato:

Simplified SAP Payroll and SuccessFactors Reporting At Your Fingertips
Simplified SAP Payroll and SuccessFactors Reporting At Your Fingertips 1024 512 SpinifexIT

Meet Easy Reporter, an easy-to-use Web Reporting tool to make generating SAP Payroll and HCM reports so much faster.

Easy Reporter seamlessly integrates with SAP’s Payroll Control Center. Automate and optimize your key HCM processes with this powerful combo.

Find out more about SpinifexIT's Easy Reporter and Payroll Control Center Combo

Complete the form below to request a copy of the webinar or book a quick 15-minute discovery call.
 

Benefits of using Easy Reporter

Access reports quickly with easy-to-use tiles

Use pre-delivered reports to reconcile Payroll

Future-proof your
payroll processes

Always display the latest info across all reports

Implement your Payroll Control Center 85% faster

Nail your Audit & Compliance (eg. GDPR) reporting requirements

Frequently Asked Questions, answered!

What is the implementation time for Easy Reporter?

Easy Reporter doesn’t require a full implementation that takes days, it is simply a matter of receiving and applying a set of transports from our team. Once the transports are provided, we will set up a training plan. This spans a couple of days for your Superuser, and another day for your Admin.

Do you have any pre-delivered reports for UK Gender Pay Gap reporting?

We do have some standard reports, and they work fairly similarly to the SAP standard. They have a bit more flexibility built in. To see the full list of our reports, send a request to [email protected]

With the Easy Reporter file output options, can we send a file directly to our pension provider?

Yes indeed. Easy Reporter provides the ability to output files via email as you saw or for a more secure option you can also upload the file directly via FTP. In both cases, you can also leverage your own encryption tools within Easy Reporter to further secure your data.

What is the minimum enhancement pack needed for Easy Reporter and Payroll Control Centre?

Payroll Control Centre requires Enhancement Pack 7 with HR Renewal 2.0. Easy Reporter is tested down to a much earlier enhancement pack level. However, if you want to integrate with the PCC then of course you need to be up to date.

Do we need to have Payroll Control Centre already implemented to use the Easy Reporter functionality?

Yes, because we integrate into the PCC framework you will need to have the basics implemented in order to make use of the Easy Reporter integration. The good news is that using Easy Reporter means that the implementation time can be dramatically reduced. We provide all the same RDS exception checks as the standard SAP RDS, and as you can imagine it is much much easier and faster to adapt those to your requirements or build new checks

SAP Payroll Control Center Deployment Made Easier
Find out easier ways to accelerate your Payroll Control Center Deployment
Find out easier ways to accelerate your Payroll Control Center Deployment 1024 512 SpinifexIT

For SAP On-Premise, Hybrid, or SAP SuccessFactors Cloud Environments

Get your Payroll Control Center up and running in no time with a powerful rapid-deployment solution. Optimize this process by 85% with this powerful Payroll Reconciliation and Reporting Combo.

Find out more about SpinifexIT's Payroll Control Center Rapid Deployment Solution

Complete the form below to request a copy of the webinar or book a quick 15-minute discovery call.
 

Payroll Control Center RDS at a glance

Use multiple methods of
validating data & payroll

Reduce PCC
Implementation Time

Future-proof your
payroll

Set up your PCC without
technical assistance

Easy-to-use
Web Reporting

Empower your
Payroll Team today

Your Easy Single Touch Payroll Just Got Better
Your Easy Single Touch Payroll Just Got Better 810 356 SpinifexIT

You asked, we delivered!

Many of our new and existing customers have started using Easy STP, our powerful reporting and reconciliation solution for the Australian Single Touch Payroll requirement which went live last October, to streamline their own single touch payroll reporting process.

We’re now in the process of releasing an improved and updated version of Easy STP which includes new features and functionalities based on our customers’ initial feedback and suggestions. This new version includes several new reports, small changes to existing reconciliation reports, and two of the most top requested features which I’d be glad to share with you on the update below.

Easy Single Touch Payroll February 2019 updates

Pre-reconcile Your Single Touch Payroll Using Test Run Results

The Challenge: One of the challenges that we have seen with customers reconciling their Single Touch Payroll solution has been related to the timing of this reconciliation.

The recommended approach from SAP is to produce the STP Submit Event file afterexiting Payroll. This essentially means that until you exit Payroll, there is no physical data held inside of SAP to reconcile back to the Payroll Results tables.

The workaround would be to either set the STP functionality to be able to run prior to exiting pay (Not recommended by SAP), or to run the STP reports in Test mode, then download the results into a local excel file for reconciliation. The option of downloading to a local file would mean a much more complex process to run pre-reconciliation.

We have had many customers ask about how they can follow SAP’s recommended approach but still reconcile their STP prior to exiting payroll. This would give the opportunity to fix any major concerns before even running Bank Files or Finance Postings.

Our Solution: The good news is that SpinifexIT has been able to address this business process by building into our Easy STP solution the ability to include the Test Run results into the reconciliation reports.


Enter Easy STP’s Test Run Mode

Essentially, this means that as soon as you have run the Payroll Run and have Payroll Results, you can now use our existing reports to reconcile to the Single Touch Payroll Test run values.

With this new feature, Easy STP will be able to simplify your Single Touch Payroll reconciliation process by triggering a call to the SAP program to calculate the STP figures and reconcile their values. This new process eliminates the cumbersome (and often error-prone) process of downloading STP reports in Test Mode and then addressing issues before exiting payroll.

Bonus Functionality – Reporting on the STP Submit Event Logs

Another improvement we’re adding into Easy STP is the ability to report on the logs produced when normally running the SAP Single Touch Payroll – Generate Reporting Data transaction. This gives you better options to report and distribute these details out to your internal teams for faster resolution.

View Log reports in Easy Single Touch Payroll
View Log reports in Easy Single Touch Payroll

For more information on the Easy STP Solution, please check out the resources below:

  1. Meet Easy STP – Watch our Webinar and see SpinifexIT’s Single Touch Payroll solution in action. If you have any questions about this session or if you’d like to request a separate demonstration for you and your team, email us at [email protected].
  2. Single Touch Payroll is Nearly Here for SAP Payroll – a handy blog post that summarizes the Single Touch Payroll Process and how SpinifexIT’s Easy STP solution can help optimize this
  3. Are You Ready For SAP’s STP Deployment – What are the required steps that you need to take to prepare for the STP roll out? Read the blog to learn more
  4. Reconciling Single Touch Payroll – Published 1 day before SAP’s STP roll out. I’m sharing some considerations during Go Live and how our Easy STP solution fits in the process.

Visit our booth at Mastering SAP HR & Payroll in Sydney on March 19 – 20, 2019

We will be sharing information about our booth number so you can easily find us, but for now, we’re inviting you to #ComeSeeSpinifexIT next month. We’d be very excited to show you our Easy STP solution in action during the exhibit.

Spinifexit for employee central
How to get the most out of Employee Central?
How to get the most out of Employee Central? 1024 512 SpinifexIT

During the last few months of 2018, we have had the opportunity to check in and reconnect with some of our customers to see how they are using our solutions and where else can we add value.
One of the questions often raised while discussing the possibility of moving to Employee Central Payroll (ECP) was, “Do we still need add-on solutions when we have Employee Central Payroll?”

most-common-question-about-employee-central

As a solutions provider and having over a decade in the development and implementation business within the SAP HCM area, we believe that the answer is yes, and I’d be happy to explain in my blog why this is so.

Developing flexible software solutions for SAP

The Employee Central Payroll solution, whilst being a new cloud-based deployment option, has the same underlying architecture as the core SAP Payroll solution. The key difference between On-Premise and ECP is that the Employee Data is maintained via Employee Central. 

The ECP solution though, has been designed with better options for integration with SuccessFactors Employee Central. This helps to accelerate and improve the implementation of Payroll.

SpinifexIT’s SAP-certified solutions can add further value and help companies maximise their existing investments by providing easy-to-use solutions that can also be deployed into the Employee Central Environment.

SpinifexIT has been providing software add-on solutions to SAP On-Premise for over 15 years. With thousands of deployments of our software products, SpinifexIT is the team to look to before spending time and effort in many of the common processes around Payroll. Our solutions can run in both on-premise, cloud and hybrid setups, giving our customers a huge advantage.

What is it like to move to Employee Central?

Moving to Employee Central can be a complex process. It involves the full data migration process (check out Brendon’s blog to learn more about this), integrating to SAP and potentially changing your existing Payroll solution and configuration, rebuilding your reports and interfaces, adding your custom functionalities, acing your parallel runs, and finally, setting up your BAU processes which includes Employee communication and support. All these with a usually thin and inflexible timeframe. I go through this in detail here.

Using Employee Central Payroll

Employee Central Payroll has many common processes you see within most payroll solutions. These run normally around a weekly, fortnightly or monthly process. Like many payrolls, this revolves around data input for the payroll, validation of data and pre-checks, running payroll and verification of results, and then often creation of reports and interfaces. On top of these items are often additional items such as queries from employees on their pay, adhoc reports and requests for information, and even throughout the year, various adhoc reconciliation activities such as Year-End, or even just Month-end processes.

SAP have recently introduced the Payroll Control Center solution, which puts a lot of control around many of these processes.

The HCM environment is quite a complex environment and as many of these processes are dependent upon the specific customers requirements- many of these need to be setup specifically for the customer which may involve manual processes such as Excel Spreadsheets or the development of custom reports.

So how can SpinifexIT solutions help?

spinifexit-solutions-for-successfactors-employee-central

SpinifexIT’s easy-to-use solutions can help companies who have implemented Employee Central Payroll to…

  • Streamline the creation, automation and distribution of their Reports and interfaces without the need for a technical guru. It’s straight forward, point-and-click, drag-and-drop features not only allows you to easily recreate your existing reports, but also build new ones in no time.
  • Vastly reduce the implementation time of your Payroll Control Center and use additional functionality which includes drilling down into payroll results, linking of reports into the Payroll Control Center and allowing the user to setup their own exception rules with no technical knowledge
  • Securely copy and scramble Employee Payroll data to make Payroll testing activities more efficient
  • Reconcile per-pay and year-end payroll information in compliance with local legislation
  • Easily address pay-related questions and issues and troubleshoot on the fly
  • Create and distribute full employee lifecycle documents which include Total Compensation / Rewards statements, Salary Breakdowns, Overpayment Details, Benefit Letters, and more

But do we really need all of these?

spinifexit-results-optimising-hcm-payroll-employeecentral

Many SAP customers go without any additional software in their system and they can still run their payroll department with the base solutions that SAP provides. It will work just fine.

However, for companies who want to get the most out of Employee Central Payroll without investing additional time, cost and effort, our solutions can help you in terms of maximising what you currently have while optimising your existing processes.

Aside from these time, effort and cost savings, our solutions can also help companies keep their data and results more accurate and improve their employee services and communication.

The above gives some high level areas that might be able to be streamlined in your SAP Payroll Environment. These are relevant for ECP and also for On-Premise customers though. If you would like more details about some of these areas, you can read more in the following blogs:

If you have any questions in this area, feel free to reach out to me by replying to this post, or send our team an e-mail at [email protected].

SpinifexIT Happy new year it is
Happy New Year! Or Is It…
Happy New Year! Or Is It… 1024 512 SpinifexIT

It’s a familiar refrain in payroll departments across North America — year-end payroll processing is just no fun! So why does it have to be so difficult?  In this article, we will explore the common headaches, and how to nip them in the bud – targeting those organizations that run SAP payroll systems.

To start the conversation, I will first provide some pointers regarding wage type configuration.  If you create new wage types during the year and then do not realize until year-end that you did not configure the taxation correctly, well that can be a big problem.  Or perhaps it’s not a new wage type that’s the issue, but existing ones because a tax authority has changed regulations and you needed to change your configuration accordingly…but failed to do so.  

The second item concerns issues with your Tax Calculations – those scenarios where taxes are not computing correctly, and you end up with out-of-balance cases or taxes stopping at the wrong ceilings.  These are all things that you want to catch during the year, right away, not at year-end.

The third topic we will discuss is Employee Master Data – for example, ensuring new employees have supplied valid social security or social insurance numbers, or that employees who moved during the year have gone through the appropriate steps to have their addresses updated.

And finally, those year-end manual adjustments; items like noncash benefits that need added to employee YTD taxable amounts, either using infotype 221 or maybe just by making entries directly into SAP’s US Tax Reporter module.

So now let’s take a deeper dive into each of those areas.  

Wage Type Configuration

Whoever in your organization that is responsible for creating wage types – which might be you – is no doubt very familiar with table T512W.  Cumulations, evaluation classes, and processing classes are all a part of that configuration – and I have listed below for you the processing classes that have an impact on how wage types are taxed (in the US) plus a couple of cumulation classes to be aware of. So, at a minimum, I would suggest your wage type configuration script include these items.

    • PC 64 Alternate Formula indicator
    • PC 65 415 limit category
    • PC 67 Work Tax Proration
    • PC 68 Payment type for tax calculation
    • PC 69 Taxable/nontaxable contribution
    • PC 70 Work Tax Proration (salaried)
    • PC 71 Wage Type Tax Classification (This one is critical)
    • Cumulation /102 (401k wages)
    • Cumulation /114 BSI Base Wages

For Canadian payrolls, the specifics are a little different; below are the tax-related wage type configuration items I suggest staying on top of:

    • PC 52 Cumulation into gross WTs for Workers Compensation
    • PC 65 Definition of Earnings subject to Health Tax
    • PC 69 Definition of Workers Compensation assessable earnings
    • PC 72 Derivation of GST and other sales tax for income tax
    • PC 84 Definition of PPIP Insurable Earnings
    • Taxable Wage Cumulation WTs:  /102, /103, 104, 105, /112, /113, /118, /119, /120, /121, /122, /130, /131, /132, /140, /141, /142, /152, /153, /154, /158, /160, /161, /162, /163, /164,

I would also propose that whatever mechanism you use to request a configuration transport be moved through the landscape, that it require the attachment of a test matrix.  Even well-qualified super users doing the config should be required to test their changes before implementing into production.

Along with that, I recommend some sort of signature approval be required.  This may mean something different to you as compared to other organizations, depending on how your SAP support teams are structured, but there should be some individual required to review and provide signoff.

Finally – perform regression testing for any changes made – do not fall into the trap of just testing for the expected changes.  And when I say regression testing, here is what I mean:  Run your payroll process prior to the change, followed by a report with the pertinent results, then apply the changes; followed by repeating the process so you can compare before and after results.  And make sure your regression test population – if not a full employee population – contains a good cross-section of different employee types, work schedules, and tax authorities.

For my final recommendation regarding wage type configuration – we all understand that sometimes you need to adjust configuration due to outside forces – like a tax authority creating a new regulation regarding certain types of employee payments.  To keep on top of any changes like that which could affect your configuration, here are a few suggestions:

  1. Maintain a membership in organizations such as the American Payroll Association or the similar Canada Payroll Association.  That will give you access to website announcements regarding tax reg changes, plus the opportunity to attend both local and national chapter conferences.
  2. Another way to keep up is to subscribe to any mailing lists deployed by various tax authorities, which will allow you to have information pushed out to you instead of needing to remember to go check for updated info all on your own.
  3. And last — periodically reviewing your configuration in the system is always a good idea.  Reviewing your SAP US Tax Model configuration (tables T5ute/y/m) in addition to the wage type configuration I mentioned above, just every so often, is a good idea to make sure nothing has slipped by you.

Tax Calculations

In this area, there are a few periodic audits I would suggest doing, throughout the year, starting with a review of your Social Security, Medicare, FUTA & SUTA tax results (for the US) and the Canadian counterparts of CPP/QPP/EI/QPIP/PPIP.  For instance, compare the Employee Withholding and Employer match amounts to see if they are in sync; plus perform tests to determine if the actual tax amounts recorded equal the taxable wages multiplied by their respective rates.

In addition to these checks, don’t forget to verify the accurate calculation of the additional US Medicare surtax for those people earning over $200K per year, and confirm that all taxes with ceilings (e.g. CPP/QPP/EI, US Social Security, US FUTA/SUTA) are stopping at the appropriate maximums for the year.

And finally – there are two tables that are maintained in SAP regarding US State Unemployment rates and ceilings – those being tables BTXRATE and T5UTX, plus the same data is entered directly into the BSI software application.  You will want to make sure and verify that the values in all those places are in sync with each other.  From a Canadian perspective, constants used in the tax calculations are stored in tables T511K and T5KTC (as updated every year by SAP via HRSPs) – be sure to confirm your system has been updated timely every year.

Some more best practices to head off tax calculation issues are  – if you use SAP’s Tax Reporter module for generating US forms such as W2’s, 941’s, and Unemployment reports you should be generating test runs for these forms, on a monthly or quarterly basis, and when you do, always check the log that is produced for any errors or warning messages. I also suggest you periodically perform “three way” reconciliations between Tax Reporter, general ledger postings, and payroll cluster results.  

In a similar manner, you can run the Canadian T4 program, RPCYERK0, multiple times during the year in ‘test’ mode, confirming results and watching for error messages and employee rejections.  

Employee Master Data

Moving to Employee Master Data, let’s cover some of the best practices you should be following as you perform some audits.

First off, audit those employees claiming tax exemption – perhaps even contacting those employees to verify the data is correct

Next, I would suggest auditing resident, work, and unemployment tax authorities – info types 207, 208 and 209 for the US, and info types 461, 462, 463, 464 for Canada – in a few different ways:

  1. Compared to the employee’s address (SAP info type 6)
  2. Compared to other system data that might indicate location, like perhaps personnel area or cost center
  3. Compare the values across the info types to each other – obviously there are legitimate reasons as to why for some organizations they do not have to agree – but know what would make sense for your employee population and look for that.

And finally – audit the SSN/SIN’s found on info type 2, to make sure all employees have valid numbers.

Taking it a step further – extend your audit process to include contacting your employees to have them validate the data you have on them, such as SSN/SIN, addresses, tax exempt statuses. And of course, include in your notifications the instructions for getting any incorrect data corrected – and if employees can correct it themselves via an ESS portal, all the better!

Manual Adjustments

The last topic mentioned in our opening discussion was Manual Adjustments.  I have a few best practices to share, starting with…. JUST DON’T DO THEM 😊

But since that’s probably not feasible…..do incorporate as many adjustments you can into your regular payrolls to minimize the number of off-cycles that are necessary, and reconcile the info type 221’s that get created versus the ones picked up and actually processed in payroll – make sure there aren’t any yearend adjustments entered but not pushed all the way through.

As much as possible, I strongly recommend you work with your stake holders to limit the need for these adjustments – good luck with that, right?  But if you can convince the business units to adopt practices that are payroll process friendly, it will relieve some of the headache for you.

Here’s one example of a business practice you can influence – consider using fiscal year cutoffs rather than calendar years when possible, to alleviate having all the work come down at year end.  For example, I used to work at a company where the employees all had the use of a company vehicle. Those employees had to log any personal use of the car and provide that data to us annually so that an imputed value could be computed and added to their payroll results.  Company policy set the year for those accumulations to be Dec 1 through Nov 30 – giving the payroll department time to record the adjustments during December, instead of a last-minute rush in January.

And finally, if you use US Tax Reporter, you know there is an option to directly enter in adjustments, via manual table entries, forcing adjustments onto the forms – like W2’s – without ever flowing through either master data or payroll calculation.  It’s a great tool and has its uses – but I would suggest doing so sparingly and keep your documentation to justify the entries made and provide an audit trail.

So where does SpinifexIT come in?

Now that we have walked through some of the biggest yearend challenges and offered up some suggestions for meeting those challenges, I of course want to introduce you to a Spinifex product that was built to handle these issues very efficiently.  That product is called Easy Balance and we have both a US and a Canadian version.  


Easy Balance is basically a suite of reports specifically geared towards payroll tax audits and validations.

For example, Easy Balance includes reports that audit for undesired negative results, like for instance in tax amounts, which will result in an error when running your W2’s or T4’s.  Easy Balance reports deliver results at a high level as well as including the ability to drill down into specific numbers, to easily locate what exactly is creating an issue. Other functionality delivered by EB allows you to validate the configuration of your wage types, in terms of how their taxability has been set up, addressing those wage type concerns mentioned earlier in this discussion.

Easy Balance Functions can be categorized under these four major topics –

  1. Validation of tax-related configuration
  2. Pre-delivered exception reports – for example, whose fica wage, multiplied by .062, does NOT equal the tax withheld?  Or, for Canada, employees whose province for health tax purposes does not agree with their province of employment.
  3. Reconciliation between US Tax Reporter, Payroll results, and even the General Ledger postings
  4. Correspondence, like the Address/SSN verification just mentioned, as well as documents explaining US W2 results to the employees

Regardless of your reporting tool of choice, the suggestions we have mentioned today – as implemented at check points all throughout the year – will hopefully ease some of the year-end stress experienced by your payroll department.  And if you would like to utilize a reporting tool built especially for these needs, my final recommendation is that you check out Easy Balance!

Your SpinifexIT representative will be happy to demonstrate the features of the product as part of a no-cost demonstration, so that you can see for yourself what we can do to help you have a “Happy New Year”.


Spinifexit blog reconciling single touch payroll
Reconciling Single Touch Payroll
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Reconciliation Considerations

Over the last 15 years, one of my key roles included working with customers in relationship to the Payment Summary process, and in particular, the reconciliation and additional reporting of their Payment Summary data. Just about every SAP customer has had a process to validate the Payment Summary figures. Most of them do this at year end but a large portion of our customers also reconcile on a per pay period basis.

With Single Touch Payroll, you may ask the question of whether there is still a need for Reconciliation, and how you should do this.

The short answer is Yes, there is still the need for Reconciliation to be done.

As the STP solution is still based on Wagetype Configuration and Employee Data (Very similar to Payment Summaries) and given that there is now the need for Transmission to the ATO on a weekly basis, there is still the need for Reconciliation.

To understand this need, the following declaration is part of the new STP process, and as you can see, there is the need to declare that the data is correct prior to transmitting this through to the ATO. 


Most customers I have worked with over the years would be reluctant to just sign off the transmission file without any sort of validation. 

A simple example of what could go wrong is that if a wagetype is not flagged for STP, then it will not be reported to the ATO. Without some form of Reconciliation this can go unnoticed.

The following will give you some areas of reconciliation that we believe will be required:

I Go Live

Initially, during Go Live, there is the need to validate the STP Process. This is not only to check that the support packs have been loaded correctly, it also finds out if your configuration is completely setup and if this process works with your own employee data. 

Some of the areas that you would want to have validation checks are as follows:

  • Verify the STP Mid Year Go Live conversion of the existing Payroll Results over to the new Clusters
  • Validate that the Payroll Run is calculating and updating the STP Cluster tables correctly
  • Check that the STP Reporting process that takes the payroll cluster information (From the new ACRT, SETP and SABN tables) and creates the data for transmission to the ATO

The best approach I can suggest is to ensure that your Payment Summary Reconciliation is up to date so you can compare the original Payment Summary values to the STP values (in the STP tables). NOTE: This is not a 1 to 1 mapping, but should give you an indication that the STP configuration and calculations are correct.

II Normal Pay Runs

Once you have gone live, you would want to have a process to check your STP figures back to what the employee has been paid. Keep in mind that even if everything balances at Go Live, during the normal year, there can be new configuration put into your system, new wagetypes used during payroll, and new scenarios too. (eg. You may have a retrospective pay over the last 2 years that might not report correctly)

Much like Payment Summaries, when customers need to print the final year statements, there is the need to verify the figures in the STP file. It is so easy to miss a wagetype, have a wagetype that is configured to be included in the wrong STP catagory or not flagged for inclusion in STP reporting.

In order to reconcile, most customers have a process where they want to validate the Payments made to the Employee at leave match to what is reported during the STP processing.

Some examples of the reconciliation process include:

Verifying the STP Figures

  • Identifying wagetypes that are paid to the employee (running wagetype reporter is a common process to get these)
  • Mapping these to the STP payments calculated – You might download the STP report data to an excel file
  • Including STP Override values

This is quite a manual process however, as there is the need to keep registers of what wagetypes have been paid to the employee, and build up an extensive Excel Spreadsheet or create other processes.

Either way you reconcile, it is important to have a method to verify your STP figures and of course, the simpler you can make it, the less overhead to you on a per pay period process.

The following items are some things I would recommend when looking to create a reconciliation process.

  1. Think about the aim here and ensure you are following a smart repeatable process
  2. Keep in mind that you need to do this for every pay period so try to make it an easy process
  3. Consider all of your payroll areas and their various frequencies
  4. Remember, employees might transfer payroll areas so make sure your process will cater for this
  5. If you have multiple ABN’s then ensure your process considers this
  6. Ensure that you include terminated employees
  7. Decide on whether you will include the ability to override figures and include this in your process

This is an area that SpinifexIT has worked in for many years, and as part of the new STP solution, we have altered our Easy Payment Summary Reconciliation Solution to also cater for STP.


Meet Easy STP

Some of the areas our Easy STP solution supports include:

  • Configuration Validation – Check the STP Wagetype Configuration and Report ABN Configuration
  • Pre Checking of Master Data – Checks against the employee to ensure data is correct prior to creating STP file
  • Reconciliation Reports – Reconciliation reports for go live (Checking of the STP conversion) and also ongoing Pay by Pay Reconciliation Reports
  • Reporting on STP – Further reports are delivered to report the STP and help reconcile across the entire company
  • Analysis of STP values – Reporting at Employee level with drill down into how the STP values are calculated and from where (Includes overrides)

Existing Easy Payment Summaries customers will receive our Easy STP solution as part of the normal upgrade of our solutions.

Summary

SAP’s STP solution will be released on the 11th October 2018. Now is the time for you to start to plan for your solution’s upgrade and implementation Whilst as a SAP customer, you do have a deferral until May of 2019, we would not recommend waiting too long as there will be quite a lot of work to do.

As part of this preparation, we recommend that you discuss with SAP the option to use their SAP Cloud Platform Integration and also ensure that you involve your technical teams in regards to the SAP HR Support pack upgrade.

For many customers, this also is a large project as upgrading the HR Support packs can take in much new functionality on top of the STP solution, so testing can be quite extensive to ensure that there is no impact on your production payroll.

I will continue to create blogs such as this during the next 6 months. Please visit our STP page on the SpinifexIT website to keep updated with any relevant information.