SAP

SpinifexIT blog Are you ready for saps stp deployment
Are you ready for SAP’s STP Deployment?
Are you ready for SAP’s STP Deployment? 1024 512 SpinifexIT

In my previous blog, I’ve shared some of my views about SAP’s Single Touch Payroll (STP) solution and some considerations to keep in mind whilst implementing it to your existing payroll process.

For today’s entry, I will share some technical details for SAP’s STP solution which includes its minimum system requirements, configuration and implementation.

Easy STP

SAP have been talking about the upcoming STP solution and its system requirements in the past 12 months, and now that it’s almost here, it is confirmed that customers are indeed required to be on a minimum SAP HR Support Pack Level in order to load up this new solution.

For customers who are a long way behind on their SAP version, now is the time to start planning for this work. The table below gives you a guide on the minimum level you need to be in based on your existing SAP release. In all cases, the May 10th sync point is the minimum HR level requirement.

Additional Requirements

SAP is delivering the STP solution to their customers as part of their normal upgrade process. However, this is not the complete solution as does not include the ability to physically transmit the file to the ATO via a secure encrypted process.

In order to meet this requirement, additional functionality will be required. SAP’s recommended approach is to use their SAP Cloud Platform Integration (SCPI) solution. You may learn more about SCPI and check out their standard pricing here.  However SAP have agreed on special pricing to enable customers to quickly migrate to STP.  You should speak to your sales representative or partner to discuss this further.

While the ATO does not require the use of SCPI, organisations are expected to comply with its requirement: transmissions and communication should be secure and encrypted following the EbMS3/AS4 protocol. Should you decide to take up SCPI, you will likely need a Test and Production SCPI system as the minimum requirement.

Easy STP

As you can see, the few steps listed above can quickly start to be a larger project. For most customers, this will involve preparing for the following requirements:

Development Environment

The development environment is where you will initially install the system upgrades and configure the new STP solution. The following gives you some high-level guidelines of what will need to be done here.

  • Upgrade system to minimum HR Support levels
  • Install STP solution.  NOTE: If you upgrade the system to the latest HRSP level, then you will not need to install a separate STP update
  • Modify your Schemas, Wagetypes, ABN Details and Setup connections to the SAP Cloud Platform Integration solution
  • Development Unit Testing of the above
  • Test Migration of Clusters to create new STP data
  • Testing of the Payroll runs
  • Testing of the STP Data Creation Reports
  • Once happy with the solution, plan to migrate these changes to Test

Test Environment

The Test environment is where you can test the STP solution with more up to date employee data. It would be a good idea to factor in a copy of your production environment prior to commencing this project so that you can test the entire process including the payroll results conversion on your recent (2019) data. Otherwise, you may be needing to create test data to simulate what will occur in production.

  • Copy the production system or Clone data from production (If you have a tool to do this)
  • Upgrade the environment to the latest support packs (As per development)
  • Import configuration transports
  • Conversion of the payroll clusters
  • Test the STP file creation process
  • Setup of the SAP Cloud Platform Integration solution and liking this to test
  • Test the encrypted transmission to the ATO
  • Test the execution of Payroll runs
  • Retest the STP file creation
  • Retest the transmission to the ATO

Production – Go Live

Once everything is completely tested, you will then have the option to go live with STP.  This will often be done across a weekend as there is the need to upgrade the SAP environment, convert the payroll clusters and perform some additional testing. During go live, you will have steps such as the following:

  • Upgrade the environment to the latest support packs
  • Import Configuration Transports
  • Convert the Payroll Clusters to be ready for STP
  • Perform Additional Testing

The remaining steps then will be part of your normal payroll process.  For example: Next payroll run, you will create the first STP file for transmission to the ATO and transmit it.  

Easy STP

Upgrading your HR Support packs as well as configuring and testing STP may not be a huge change but it will involve some time and effort to complete. Planning ahead is vital to streamline this process. As part of this preparation, we recommend that you also look into the following key activities:

  • Review and modify your payroll business process
  • Plan for your STP project’s resource with consideration to variables such as configuration, data validation, testing reporting, and finalisation
  • Check your SAP HR support pack level and planning for the upgrade if required
  • Explore and finalise your file transmission options:
  • SAP Cloud Platform Integration (SCPI) is the easiest option
  • You can also explore the services provided by your clearing house such as Click Super and Plum
  • Find out more about ATO compliant gateways

Upgrading the HR Support Packs can also bring in a lot of new functionality on top of the STP solution. This may also require more extensive testing to ensure that there will be no impact on your production payroll.

So, here’s Part 2 of my 3-part blog series. Once again, if you’d like to view Part 1, click hereWe’re publishing Part 3 next week, where I’ll talk about the importance of STP reconciliation and how SpinifexIT’s Easy STP solution can make this process faster, better & easier.

Are you a current Easy Payment Summaries user?

We’ve got great news for you! You can avail of our Easy STP upgrade for absolutely NO COST! Our Easy STP solution will be available after October 11, 2018 once SAP releases their STP solution. E-mail us at [email protected] or message our support team through our Customer Care Portal to learn more about the update.

Easy STP
SAP payroll cloud document generation Spinifexit
Webinar: A Taste Of The Cloud Featuring Strato by SpinifexIT | November 29, 2018
Webinar: A Taste Of The Cloud Featuring Strato by SpinifexIT | November 29, 2018 1024 512 SpinifexIT

Discover how SpinifexIT solutions can help On-Premise SAP Customers prepare to move to SuccessFactors and improve their day to day communications and overall employee satisfaction while enabling an easier transition to the cloud.

This webinar will be hosted by Stephen Gallo, our Product Architect from SpinifexIT North America. Stephen will give a brief description and demonstration of our cloud-based on-demand document generation solution, Strato. Strato is built for both on-premise and cloud environments and offers a seamless user experience for users who are using both or either environment.

This webinar is highly recommended for: 

  • Organizations who are using SAP HCM on-premise and are looking for ways to improve their document distribution and employee communication processes
  • Organizations using both SuccessFactors Employee Central but still with On-Premise Payroll (hybrid) who are looking for ways to easily bridge the gap between their cloud and on-premise solutions by being able to generate data from both sources without the need for external downloads, manual efforts, third-party software, or interface files.
  • Organizations who are looking for solutions to help them create and automate the distribution of key employee documents like Letters of Employment, Claims, and Total Compensation Statements
  • SuccessFactors customers who are looking for a robust document generation solution that can easily combine data from across multiple SF modules, including ECP (Payroll)

This webinar is FREE for everyone.

Click here to register and reserve your slot.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, November 29, 2018

Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EST

Hosts: Kris Burke & Stephen Gallo

Spinifexit 2018.r3 release
Limited Release Coming Soon: 2018.R3!
Limited Release Coming Soon: 2018.R3! 1000 667 SpinifexIT

2018.R3 packs over 50 new updates and enhancements especially made to continuously improve and your SAP HCM and SuccessFactors experience and maximise your solution investments.

Improve your on-premise to cloud transition processes with SpinifexIT’s 2018.R3

Our third solutions update for this year goes live on November 19, 2018. This release will be available for a few pre-identified customers first before its full public release. 
For any questions related to the rollout, please contact our Customer Care team.  
Below are the most requested updates we’ve made available for you:

Easy Reporter Updates

IMPROVING SUCCESSFACTORS INTEGRATION

Connect to SuccessFactors systems via SAP Cloud Integration.

Include new Time Off Reporting Fields within Employee Central to include Time Off Absences, Leave Balances, Attendance records and more

NEW FEATURES TO ENSURE GDPR COMPLIANCE

Report on SAP system logs (most requested!) to read access logs and transactions run by users

WEB REPORTING ENHANCEMENTS

Reporting performance with regards to loading reports using the Web Reporter has been improved with more features added to the Additional Selection tab.

A new capability to add Data Input Fields to a report or document selection screen under the tab “Report Parameters” has also been added. *** Performance improvements, additional parameters (2nd paragraph) details can follow

Payroll Control Center Integrated Solution

ENHANCED USABILITY

A new option to call SuccessFactors Employee Central when investigating errors has been added. This can be accessed within the Payroll Error Solution screen.

The new enhancements to be delivered will also enable Easy Reporter reports to be linked into the payroll processing functionality. The results of these reports can also be stored for future references

Strato

NEW FEATURES TO COVER MORE SUCCESSFACTORS MODULES

A new option to call SuccessFactors Employee Central when investigating errors has been added. This can be accessed within the Payroll Error Solution screen.

The new enhancements to be delivered will also enable Easy Reporter reports to be linked into the payroll processing functionality. The results of these reports can also be stored for future references

ADDITIONAL CUSTOM DATA SOURCE

You can now upload CSV files to be used as a catalogue while creating new documents or new fields.

Introducing: Easy Single Touch

ADDITIONAL CUSTOM DATA SOURCE

Along with the new STP Solution from SAP, we’re releasing Easy STP at NO COST to all existing Easy Payment Summaries customers. Learn more about Easy STP here.

Easy Clone

MAJOR ENHANCEMENTS FOR CLONING SUCCESSFACTORS DATA

7 shiny new updates are in place to make Employee Central data cloning and scrambling a breeze. This includes new scramble rules and customisation options, the option to include data retrieval for non-key fields, and some additional Admin options to keep this process fool-proof.

Additional Resources

Visit our Customer Care Portal

View the complete set of release notes and updates by signing up, if you haven’t yet.

Join our webinars

We will be hosting two webinars for 2018.R2 on the following schedules:
ANZ/APAC: TBD
US/EU: December 6, 2018.

FAQ

It’s so easy to upgrade to 2018.R3. We’ll answer your top release related questions here.

NOTE: 2018.R3 will be released incrementally, first to a select group of customers, prior to a full public release.

How can I update?

Two ways. You can e-mail us at [email protected] and ask for an upgrade, or file a ticket using our Customer Care Portal. If you’re using one of our on-premise products, the update will be in the form of a transport. If you’re using Strato, the update will be included the next time you log in.

I’m using an old version. should i update to the latest one?

Of course. You can do a one time big time update rather than updating to the next version after yours. It’s easier and more practical that way.

How many versions do you support?

SpinifexIT supports three active solution versions. If you’re still on 2017.R2, an upgrade is in order.

What benefits do i enjoy when i upgrade to 2018.r3

We’ve enumerated the top requested enhancements only, but we’re really delivering over 50 new features and enhancements.  You can also view our public release notes by visiting our customer care portal. 

I want to learn more about your solutions

Great! We highly recommend that you browse our solutions section, and if you have any questions about these, don’t hesitate to send us the note using the form on the page’s footer. We can arrange for a quick call and demo. You can also e-mail us straight at [email protected]

Spinifexit hr payroll seminar sap insider 2018
SAP Insider HR Payroll Seminar | November 7-8, 2018
SAP Insider HR Payroll Seminar | November 7-8, 2018 1024 511 SpinifexIT

SpinifexIT is proud to announce that they will be exhibiting at the upcoming SAPinsider HR Payroll Seminar to offer proven advice to attendees.

The event takes place November 7-8 in Chicago. This year’s must-attend event is packed with lectures, demonstrations, and interactive discussions all led by top HR experts.

HR Payroll Seminar is produced by SAPinsider and is the premier event for organizations running SAP payroll who are looking to achieve greater control over payroll-related costs and resources while evaluating or preparing their organization to transition payroll to the cloud.

View the full agenda as well as receive a special discount by visiting www.hrpayrollseminar.com/SpinifexIT.

About SAPinsider

SAPinsider, published by Wellesley Information Services, is the premier source of information on products, services, and strategic initiatives coming from SAP and its partners. More than 225,000 customers in 70 countries rely annually on education and training materials from Wellesley Information Services to optimize their investments in SAP solutions. Wellesley Information Services is the publisher of SAPinsider, and is the producer of SAPinsider conferences and seminars. For more information, visit www.SAPinsiderOnline.com.

SAP is a registered trademark of SAP SE in Germany and several other countries. Wellesley Information Services is not affiliated with SAP SE or any of the SAP SE group of companies.

SAP and other SAP products and services mentioned herein as well as their respective logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP SE (or an SAP affiliate company) in Germany and other countries.

All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.

SpinifexIT is at Australia customer days
SpinifexIT Australia Customer Days | October – November 2018
SpinifexIT Australia Customer Days | October – November 2018 1024 512 SpinifexIT

We’re hosting our annual SpinifexIT Customer Day and User Group Meeting across Australia from October – November 2018. We’re looking forward to seeing you at one of our events.

Our annual Customer Days and User Group Meetings are great opportunities for you to get the latest updates about our solutions, talk about how we can support your organisation better, and build your network by connecting with peers, SAP HCM/Payroll and SAP SuccessFactors users, fellow SpinifexIT customers and the SpinifexIT experts within your State.

You will also be able to meet with key SpinifexIT staff members during the User Group Meeting. This is the venue for you to help influence the features and capabilities of our solutions’ development which can benefit your organisation moving forward.

SpinifexIT is covering the cost of the event so it is free for a number of your company’s team members to attend. More information about the upcoming Customer Days will be posted on this page soon. 

Save the date!

We’ve listed the dates and locations of our upcoming Customer Days below. We will be sending the first set of invitations in the next few days. The registration is currently limited to two people per organisation but if you have a larger team, please call or e-mail the organisers listed below so we can see if we can accommodate your request for a stand-by space or additional registration.

Schedule & Location

Click each location to view it on Google maps and to get driving / commuting directions

Adelaide

October 18, 2018
The Playford
120 North Terrace

Melbourne

November 15, 2018
RACV Club
501 Bourke St

Canberra

October 25, 2018
QT Hotel
1 London Circuit

Brisbane

November 22, 2018
Christie Conference Centre
320 Adelaide St

Sydney

October 26, 2018
Cliftons Venues
60 Margaret Street

Customer Day Topics

Time Agenda
8:30 AM – 9:00 AM Registration and Morning Tea / Coffee
9:00 AM – 9:10 AM Conference Welcome
9:10 AM – 10:45 AM SpinifexIT Presentations
Introducing the new Easy STP solution
Generating Employee Documents from SuccessFactors
Web Reporting and Documents
Tips & Tricks
Latest Product features (2018.R3)
10:45 AM – 11:00 AM Break
11:00 AM – 12:45 PM User Group Meeting
Customer Presentation on STP (Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane)
Product roadmap update
Open Forum
12:45 PM – 1:30 PM Lunch & Networking

Key SpinifexIT Contacts

ADELAIDE, CANBERRA & SYDNEY

MELBOURNE

BRISBANE

Neil Young
[email protected]
+61 417 847 283

Kim Rawlings
[email protected]
+ 61 427 077 457

Blair Ross
[email protected]
+61 417 908 276

MEET WITH SPINIFEXIT, SAP & SUCCESSFACTORS  EXPERTS FACE TO FACE

We’re looking forward to seeing you!

SpinifexIT DSAG Jahreskongress october 2018
SpinifexIT at DSAG Jahreskongress| October 16 – 18, 2018
SpinifexIT at DSAG Jahreskongress| October 16 – 18, 2018 1024 512 SpinifexIT

SpinifexIT joins this year’s DSAG Jahreskongress, the 19th annual gathering of the German-speaking SAP User Group. The three-day event will be held at the Leipzig Congress Center from October 16 – 18, 2018. More information about DSAG can be found here. 

DSAG Theme – Business Without Borders, Architecture of the Future

This year’s theme talks about business digitisation and automation, cloud migration strategies, and finding the right solutions for the most common issues organisations using SAP On-premise deal with. The event will highlight how organisations can choose the best platforms to use for their continuous growth.

SpinifexIT’s Brendon Andrews-Warmuth and Henning Bachmayer will be joining the event, and will be glad to help you solve your top HR & Payroll puzzles in line with SAP and Successfactors. More information about SpinifexIT’s presence in DSAG will be posted in this page. Stay tuned for more updates.

Meet our Team

Let’s Jump in the SAC But Keep One Foot Out of the Covers
Let’s Jump in the SAC But Keep One Foot Out of the Covers
Let’s Jump in the SAC But Keep One Foot Out of the Covers 1024 512 SpinifexIT

Stephen Gallo shares his thoughts about the benefits of using SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) and how it can unleash the power of your data through its sophisticated reporting capabilities

SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) Status

SAP has done it again.  It’s made us all rethink what we are currently doing as we wait patiently until they have a fully integrated product.  I’m of course talking about SAP Analytics Cloud (SAC) which is part of their Unified Reporting strategy that will allow customers to combine data from all SAP systems including Success Factors.  I’ve written at my website recently about reporting in 2018 and this is kind of a follow-up to it.  I’ll start with the cynical approach to this with the “it’s about time” dig, but in truth, I’ve been doing HCM reporting with SAP tools for over 10 years.  It’s hard.  For SAP to finally take on this initiative with its daunting requirements I’m sure took years of planning and I’d probably shed a few tears of dread if I were sitting in their conference rooms designing how this is all going to work.  I say years of planning, because none of this works without HANA.  When they decided to build HANA, I have to imagine this was one of the use cases for building it.

What I’m finding in the market though is a polarizing effect everytime SAP announces something with the roadmap in its infancy.  To SAP’s credit, I’ve seen more innovation in this product since it launched than many of their prior endeavors. They are constantly trying to make it better, or in their case, the best – and it will get there.  The effect that it has on customers, however, is the old wait and see mentality. “Should we purchase now, no wait, on the roadmap 6 months from now is the feature we might need.  Let’s wait until they launch it and then see how the feedback is on it”.  Wash rinse and repeat.  What I’m going to try to implore upon you is not to wait – start piloting the application as it does have its merits.  

Let’s start this journey by talking about what SAP currently offers.  I won’t go in deep into the current Success Factors reporting, others have already done so.  In fact, read this article by our friends at iXerv.  It covers pretty much what you get with Success Factors.  You can also read mine if you want a shorter version .

If we look back at the ECC side of the house we still have our good old Ad-hoc Query, SQ01 – Abap Query for HR, and then point solution tools to get data out of your module of choice, Wage Type Reporter (Payroll), PT_QTA10 (Absence quotas) etc…etc.  Again, there are novels of information on these.

These tools provide you the data to do your own analysis.  You can download whatever you like, shove it in a warehouse, excel, access, your choice, and created your own analytics.  The problem of course is every time you want to produce an up to date version, your downloading the data all over again. Not super-efficient.

Let’s All Get in the SAC Together

When I look at a reporting maturity model, I see the SAC as the highest level of reporting.  If you go from reactive reporting, to proactive reporting, to metrics, to planning and finally to predictive analytics, SAC is at the top of the game.  SAC is going to bring us out of the Excel analytics that every HR department is doing on a monthly/quarterly/annual basis. It’s providing on-demand analytics that allow you to monitor your key business metrics to see if your business is performing to the levels that you desire.  SAP has other analytics products out there: BI, Lumira, but what I can see the benefit of SAC is this: It’s going to link up to your systems with ease.  Figure 1 shows all the systems SAC can speak to currently.  

Figure 1

To clarify on the slide, live data lives in the source system.  SAC reads it on the fly to get your data. Imported data will be brought out of your system into the cloud.  Currently, one of the pros of using Imported data is, it’s easier to create your own datasets of data mashed up against other imported data.  Apparently, there are still some limitations of mashing up live data with imported data, but SAP has said it is resolving that soon.

Now we must understand the types of questions planning and predictive analytics helps us solve to understand what value SAC brings to our organization.  I’ll use some examples that were shown at SAPPHIRE.

  • Are we attracting hires by Ethnicity? (Recruiting)
  • Are we hiring a diverse workforce? (Onboarding)
  • Are we promoting across Ethnicities? (Employee Central/ECC)

SAP Sapphire Demonstration

Figure 2

With these metrics, as Chief of Diversity, I can get instant insight as to how my plans are performing, which areas of the company need my involvement, and get an overall health of workforce sliced by any dimension I see fit.  SAC can also, based on prior data, predict where your trends for these metrics will go in the future. So right now, it might look like region X is not performing, but looking at a predictive trend line into the future (not shown in the image) we can see that they are on the upside, hence I should focus my time on regions where my metrics are trending downward.  This is invaluable information for leaders and managers but also invaluable to analysts.  Analysts spend countless hours putting these types of charts and predictions together, only to have to do them all over again next month.  With SAC you have the build it once, use forever type deployment.

The SAC is Nice and Toasty, But Keep a Foot Out of the Covers

For the executives and managers of the world, I see SAC as a no-brainer.  Even if you sit and tell yourself “we’ve invested so much time in WorkForce Analytics, or Lumira or BI”, know that the SAC is going to have all of this available in the platform.  Some of it is already here and some of it is coming.  Always check the roadmaps at https://www.sap.com/products/roadmaps.html and watch the webinars. This is the future of SAP reporting and it’s something you should get on board with.  Coming from a guy who works for an SAP software Partner that does reporting, take this advice with more than a grain of salt.  If you’re a leader, get a subscription, grab an analyst, layout a one-month plan of analytics you want and point them in right direction.  You might be surprised with what they can accomplish in a short period of time.

However, if this is the greatest thing since sliced bread for managers, it still lacks some functionality and some of these use cases may never be included in the software or can be arduous to build.  SAP is great at always showing us it’s prize pony when it talks about innovation, but there is always the dark underbelly of HCM that only us on-the-ground analysts understand:  Data consistency and auditing.  This term is so broad in scope, I will just provide a few examples below of what I’ve come across in the past.  These are of course problems that every customer has and some a customer created for themselves, but remember customers of course buy SAP because of all the standards it provides, but you also buy it because you can customize it to your business processes.  The below examples are ECC based, however I’m sure those of you on Employee Central/ECC Hybrid can relate.

For example:

  1. Do I have Rehire Dates that are before my Hire Date on infotype 0041?

    1. Human Error

  2. We have a Z-table in ECC based on payroll area that stores my annual merit effective dates and I need to ensure that the base pay infotype was loaded correctly based on those dates.
    1. Customization problem.
  3. Who is reaching there 401K limits as I need to start their deferred comp plans?
    1. Seen everywhere in US as config is not always correct.
  4. I work in Wisconsin and I have this work schedule, so I’m only allowed to be in Payscale groups 12345 and 12346.
    1. Business rule localized to a customer process.
  5. I need to submit to a union by region all the hours and types of hours their employees worked?
    1. The dreaded union reconciliation.

The examples I listed above are actual examples of things I’ve worked on for customers recently.  Looking at the list I’m sure you can imagine some fun things you’ve had to reconcile in the past. And what do we use to get this data if you just have standard SAP tools?

SAP Ad-Hoc Query

SuccessFactors Ad-Hoc Query and ORD

SAP Wage Type Reporter

You look at some the use case examples and think, well actually most of these we could put into Payroll Control Center (PCC).  And you’re right. It all boils down to budget and priority. If I have an analyst who can put this together, why spend the time and the money to put some of this in PCC.  The answer is, you should always be improving your processes, but I digress and that’s a philosophical discussion for another day. (Also, PCC adoption is low. Another philosophical discussion.) The first four items I listed could be done in PCC, however the 5th is kind of an ad-hoc request that we are all too familiar with.  Someone, somewhere either in our company or outside our company requests a bit of data that we do not have readily available. So, we use the standard SAP tools to mash this data together and provide them there report.

As long as I’ve been doing this, there is no way around ad-hoc requests.  They will always be the fly in the ointment to any reporting strategy. This is where the SAC falls down.

When I go to customers and we define what they are looking for 20% of it is metrics, 40% is operational reporting like payroll, 20% is data consistency and the last 20% of the work is ad-hoc requests.  It’s typically 20% of what they are producing, but in some cases, it can be 40% of the effort.  Keep this in mind when you decide to move to the SAC.  

To end this post, move to the SAC.  It’s actually really neat, fairly intuitive and for things like basic Gender or Hiring metrics you can have those up and running quickly.  I built a gender dashboard in a day. Don’t think however that SAC solves all your reporting. It doesn’t. You will still need tools whether they are standard SAP delivered or 3rd party to assist with your ad-hoc questions, data remittance type reports and master data consistency audits.

Happy Reporting!

About the Author:

Stephen Gallo is an Employee Central Certified Consultant employed by SpinifexIT. Over the past 11 years, he has been an SAP customer, an SAP HCM implementation consultant and the Product Architect of North America for the SpinifexIT Suite of products.  
additional tips to streamline your payroll process
Part Three B: Additional Tips To Streamline Your Payroll Process
Part Three B: Additional Tips To Streamline Your Payroll Process 1024 512 SpinifexIT

Darren Souter shares additional tips on how organisations can streamline their SAP Payroll processes, including considerations for SAP HCM reporting and document generation, payroll testing, and employee help desk.

Previously, I have spoken about some of the areas in payroll that can be streamlined with huge savings possible. The previous section discussed several items including the Payroll Control Center and Reporting within the Payroll System. Today’s article will continue to highlight several key areas that we see everyday in our discussions with our customers.

For many customers, the only method of automated communication to the employees is through their payslips. However, there are often many manual processes that require data within the payroll system.

Some of the following areas have quite a manual process in many organisations:

  • Pay Reviews and Increases – Letters or documents to highlight old/new Pay Details
  • New Hires and Position Changes – Letters to highlight new Position/Job details
  • Changing Jobs / Positions – Creation of new Employment Contracts
  • Termination Letters – Reporting of Termination Pay and Leave Balances
  • Total Reward / Compensation Letters – Document to describe full pay details, benefits and employment conditions

Whilst SAP provides items such as payslips to provide the employee’s payroll information, there is not too much in the way of other correspondence. This is due to the output being different for most customers, and often very unique.

Many of these adhoc requests are often done once a year. For most of these, it’s very much like reporting where there can be quite a manual process around extracting and manipulating the data just to get it together. Once the data is available it will be formatted into a document, letter, or form often with mail merge.

There are a few ways that I have seen customers build these processes. These include:

  • SAP Smartforms / HR Forms – It is possible to build a Smartform, which accompanied with an ABAP report can produce correspondence to the employee. This is often a great way to build the letters and documents your organisation requires. While this has no additional hardware or licensing costs, the downfall is that it requires a developer to build these and then any modifications will require further development work. 
  • Adobe Forms – This is similar to Smartforms, and allows you to build customer specific documents. Like Smartforms, this is a good option, but keep in mind it does require an expert to build these, and in this case, it likely will require additional licence costs.
  • MailMerge – Many customers use mail merge to create letters and other correspondence. This is often passed information from an Adhoc Query, Report or Excel Extract. This is a good way to produce a document that you often need to produce. The downfall is that the data and correspondence often needs to be manually put together.
  • Manually – The above processes each have different levels of automation. The most common process is to simply update word templates or documents manually. This means filling in fields manually with data from SAP. This is the most manual and error-prone process and whilst it will be good for minimal letters per year, it has the most overhead, so should be avoided when possible.

Employee Correspondence can be an area for streamlining your process as it often needs an expert to produce this type of report or document. Automated options such as SmartForms or AdobeForms will still require additional overheads of technical resources if any changes are needed.

CONSIDERATIONS: If you checked any of these, you might want to look at your document production processes.

SpinifexIT and Document Creation

Over the years, many of our customers have needed to provide complex information to the employee that needs to be formatted differently to a report. This is often output in the form of a PDF document that can show the data mixed with wording, graphs, pictures etc.

Through SpinifexIT’s Easy Documents and Strato document solutions, we have delivered to customers documents such as Total Rewards Statements, Employment Contracts, Statement of Earnings, Statement of Employment and Pay Review Letters.

These documents can be accessed through our Web Front end at the click of a button, rather than relying on older approaches including printing and distribution of documents.

Whether you are on-premise or in the cloud, you are going to have updates to your SAP environment. Legislative changes, new SAP versions, etc., will be loaded in throughout the year. If you have moved to Employee Central and/or Employee Central Payroll, suddenly your upgrades could be happening much quicker than your previous on-premise world. 

Whilst in many areas, you can just accept updates, the recommendation is that on the Payroll side, it is important to still have a process around checking these upgrades and updates. Especially as customers can have custom rules within Payroll, it is important to verify that this all works with the new functionality.

Things to consider here are:

  1. How to best check that the Payroll operates correctly after upgrading to the latest support packages
  2. Checking Year-End – There is often a need to reconcile the year-end figures before completing the year end process. This can often be a large and complex process.

One recommendation that I have seen many customers use is to have a process around these types of upgrades. One of the best processes I have seen many customers adopt is to ensure that in a TEST environment, the payroll runs the same after an upgrade as it did before.

The best way to do this is to have a process to extract all payroll wagetypes and compare that they are exactly the same before and after the upgrade. Whilst this is a manual process of extracting and comparing in tools such as excel, it is the best method I have seen to validate that the payroll is still producing the correct results. NOTE: This should be performed with results that are the same or close to production data.

We would recommend being aware of these and talking to your implementation partner if you have any concerns that you might be at risk with any of these areas.

CONSIDERATIONS: If you checked any of these, you might want to talk to your implementation partner about how to streamline this better.

SpinifexIT Tools To Streamline Update Testing

Whilst most of the payroll checking process can be done manually, there are always better ways to do this. Many of our customers use SpinifexIT’s Easy Reporter solution to do before-and-after data comparisons in their system. 

In addition, SpinifexIT’s Easy Clone allows you to copy groups of employees directly from a production system to a test system without the need for doing a full system copy. This is often a very useful process that streamlines testing of these upgrades as you can pick a group of employees and always have 100% accurate production data in your test (and even development environments).

It is more on the rare side that a customer would go live with all HCM functionality in one go especially when a customer has multiple companies, entities and countries involved.

Therefore, as part of any implementation and support of an existing system, you should always consider that there is the need for continued roll out of functionality. Whilst this shouldn’t affect your existing system, those of you who have been through this would often know that there is often unwanted side effects from new countries.

It is just something that you should be aware of if you end up implementing new payrolls, or countries into the future especially when trying to alter existing configuration and/or settings for a new country (might also affect other countries if using common functionality).

Any upgrades to configuration should have a simplified process to check this. Being able to do before/after comparison of payroll results is very important to ensure that there is nothing broken with the new configuration.

I have decided to put a section on Year-End processing even though this is similar to reporting and reconciliation. But since it is a once per year process, and quite complex, we often talk to customers specifically about this process and how they handle it.

Whilst Payroll will pay the employees and SAP will also provide any legislative reporting needs around year-end, most customers have a manual process to reconcile and verify that payroll figures match the year-end reporting.

As this is often a time-consuming process, many customers have developed complex processes to check their year-end figures, often involving many extracts of data, excel manipulations etc. In most cases I have seen, this often involves running reports such as wagetype reporter to extract data out to a tool such as excel, and then comparing these values back to the values reported on the year-end solution. This is to have a process to validate the payments you have made to the tax office throughout the year.

This reconciliation also often needs to be done within a thin timeframe and is generally a different process for each country. Most customers have some sort of process, whether it is manual, an ABAP program or even something that SAP provides. No matter the way you reconcile, I would highly recommend to have a more optimised process here because most of the year-end reporting is based on configuration and it is often easy to miss something and not have it reported to your tax authority.

Year End processing checklist
CONSIDERATIONS: If you checked any of these, you might want to talk to your implementation partner about how to streamline this better.

SpinifexIT and Year-End

The Year-End process has actually been one of our early key areas of time savings for customers, and currently, we have a streamlined Year-End product for Australia, United States and Canada.

These solutions build on top of the standard SAP processes and streamline many of the areas that you might today have many manual steps around. Things like Reconciliation, Reporting on Year-End Figures, Distribution of Information out to the employees and many others are included in these solutions.

You may view our solutions for Australian Payroll Reconciliation and US/Canadian Payroll Reconciliation by clicking these links.

Many organisations do not consider this is something that they would streamline, but each pay, there are often many questions coming back to the Payroll Team (or a specific help desk team) with payroll queries. Some examples may be

  • Why has my pay gone down?
  • What is this Retro pay?
  • Is my tax correct?
  • How can I check if my leave balance is correct?

Many of these questions (and there could be dozens of variations), take time to investigate, analyse and report back to the employee. Often, having reports or letters available to answer these can help out, but it often isn’t considered as these are often adhoc requests.

Unfortunately, there is no easy standard answer to many of these types of scenarios, and in most cases, it comes down with having experts available to answer these questions or to investigate issues. Where you can, I would suggest looking at common requests and looking at ways to streamline how you answer these. Whether this is by using existing SAP reports to investigate, letters in pre-defined formats that can be filled in to help answer/explain queries or or just procedures on how to investigate some of these items. Without this mindset to look to improve your efficiency, then this will always be an overhead to your team.

Employee payroll queries checklist
CONSIDERATIONS – If you checked any of the following, you may have room for improvement with your help desk and query resolution

The above are just some of the areas that I have spoken to customers about over many years and hopefully gives you some ideas on areas that you might be able to focus on streamlining your day to day. 

Even today where we have customers moving part of their data into the Cloud, and even in many cases moving the payroll to the cloud (Employee Central Payroll), we see that these same processes that can be overheads to most customers can be streamlined.

SAP have made good progress through this streamlining with tools such as the Payroll Control Center, but in addition, SpinifexIT has specialised in this area and comes with great products and processes for further streamlining your payroll.

We would be happy to talk to you about any of the above processes and potential ways to streamline these items. Contact us at [email protected] or visit our website to book a discovery call.

You can also reply to this post and I’d get in touch with you the soonest.

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VIEW RELATED ARTICLES

  1. Considerations for Payroll During Cloud Migration
  2. Payroll Considerations During an Employee Central Implementation (w/ a free downloadable checklist for you and your implementation manager)
  3. Streamline Your Payroll Process (Part 1)
  4. Additional Tips to Streamline Your Payroll Process (Part 2)
webinar moving from sap to employee central payroll
Moving from SAP On-premise Payroll to Employee Central Payroll? | [Moved to October]
Moving from SAP On-premise Payroll to Employee Central Payroll? | [Moved to October] 1024 512 SpinifexIT

Click here to register.

Date: Will be rescheduled sometime in October

Time: 10:00 AM EST (GMT-4)

Host: Paige Elkins

Make your move to the Employee Central Payroll faster, better & easier!

Find out some of the considerations you and your team should think about when moving from SAP On-Premise Payroll to Employee Central Payroll.

In this session, Paige Elkins shares how SpinifexIT customers made their migration to the cloud faster, better, and easier by optimising their Payroll Control Center (PCC) implementation process and addressing their post go-live reporting requirements.


Find out more about SpinifexIT solutions.

SpinifexIT can solve your bulk report distribution issues
How SpinifexIT Can Solve Your Bulk SAP Report Distribution Issues | July 25, 2018
How SpinifexIT Can Solve Your Bulk SAP Report Distribution Issues | July 25, 2018 1024 512 SpinifexIT

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Date: July 25, 2018

Time: 2:00 PM GMT+10 (Melbourne)

Host: Steve Horne

Many companies still struggle with their SAP Payroll Report & Document distribution processes.

We’re here to help!

In this live webinar, Steve Horne will demonstrate how Easy Reporter can be used to efficiently format reports and prepare them for sending to a set of targeted audience on a specific schedule. He will also show how Easy Documents can be used to format, compile, and send documents to individuals and groups.

Customers who are currently using both solutions will benefit from the tips and tricks Steve will be showing during the session. Immediately apply these new techniques to make your report and document distribution processes faster, better and easier!

Just heard about SpinifexIT solutions? Learn how our solutions created for SAP and SuccessFactors can bridge the gap between standard payroll & HR reporting and document generation activities, and an even more optimised way to run HR and payroll core processes.


Find out more about Easy Reporter and Easy Documents.