The Client Time Sheet and Payroll Software Buying Guide by Vertex Systems

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1 The Client Time Sheet and Payroll Software Buying Guide by Vertex Systems Traditional methods for capturing time and piece counts for people with disabilities in your vocational programs can cost your agency money. Relying on paper time sheets, s, and spreadsheets will prolong the data-gathering process, create errors, and often leads to missing hours or piece counts that will keep your clients from being paid correctly. You can eliminate these costly problems by implementing a new breed of project time-tracking payroll software designed specifically for social services organizations. This buyer s guide shows you what to look for as you evaluate project client time collection software to improve your participant payroll process. Why is it Important to Improve the Client Payroll Process? Completing your payroll steps quickly and accurately is a key to optimal cash savings. Time is money, as the saying goes, and when your payroll staff is spending times tracking down time sheets, manually re-entering time and pieces, discovering errors and spending time correcting them, fixing issues with final payroll, and manually creating payroll reports for audit purposes, you are spending a lot in labor costs. So it s vital your consumer payroll process is as streamlined as possible. Unfortunately, in many human services organizations this is far from the case. Most can struggle with manual methods for submitting and reviewing hours, managing project-related items, coordinating approvals, and processing expenses. These factors impede the ability of your payroll staff, hinder budget controls, and prevent your clients from being paid for the work they do. This problem is compounded in many situations because payroll depends on capturing the appropriate hours and expenses from multiple clients in your vocational facility. In a perfect world, payroll could not be submitted until all the time sheets are submitted from every

2 supervisor on the floor for every participant. But people are often late in submitting their time sheets or piece counts, or they fill them all out at the end of the week (trying to remember all the details), or they may fail to submit them at all. It becomes an aggravating and expensive effort to collect all the information needed to prepare payroll each week. A related problem is payroll accuracy. To pay your clients accurately you need the right time and piece details on factors that can vary. For example, different individuals are paid at different rates, or the same individual s time may be billed differently per task. Before processing payroll, their hours and rates must be calculated, and this can be tedious and slow if done manually. If any of the time and piece data has to be re-entered at any stage, errors can occur. Such problems only increase with the number of clients. And what happens if payroll is wrong for several people? You ll need to set up and issue a supplemental payroll and this can easily erode client confidence and loyalty. All of these difficulties can be overcome by implementing client payroll software that simplifies and centralizes data entry and payroll management. User adoption rises, and information about hours and piece counts, and productivity becomes available instantly to all involved, making it easy to save on labor costs, reduce audit issues, improve morale, and make your business office more efficient. There are a few payroll solutions available for social services agencies that pay workers with disabilities, but their features and usability are far from equal. The best practices in this guide help ensure that the one you choose really will make client payroll easy and cost-effective. 1. Pay your clients based on detailed and accurate time and piece counts As mentioned above, accurate payroll is vital for reducing costs and streamlining the payroll system in your organization. With a manual system, your view of hours and piece counts is fragmented and likely out of date. Manual time and piece systems also inherently introduce significant administrative costs, and the potential for error and omissions is very high. But in an automated payroll system, time sheets are entered once and the data can only be submitted when correct. Productivity is calculated automatically. Payroll doesn t have to decipher illegible time sheets. Your staff won t have to track down supervisors to answer payroll queries or correct mistakes or find missing time sheets. Reports are easily printed out and shared with all involved in the payroll process. And payroll can be easily handled in-house or sent to your thirdparty payroll provider. Best practice: Deploy automated software for payroll that is designed for commensurate wage earners to give your clients accurate payroll, on time, with minimal effort for everyone.

3 2. Eliminate cumbersome paper- and spreadsheet-based payroll processing Today, a few payroll software vendors are utilizing modern mobile technology to help social services agencies collect and manage their data. Most payroll software systems still require direct service providers to use paper time sheets and manually entered piece counts. This information must be re-entered by the payroll department into the system which wastes time and can cause errors. Look for vendors that give options on how to acquire your client time and piece data. It s possible now to enter payroll information using an ipad or other tablet PC directly on the floor during or at the end of the work day. Once all the data has been entered (and entered correctly) it can only then be submitted to payroll for processing. Because payroll details are only entered one time there is little chance for inaccuracies, no chance of repetitive duplication of effort, and the electronic file eliminates the need to file paperwork. Once entered, the payroll software should handle all aspects of piece and hourly rate commensurate wage payroll, including productivity calculations, Department of Labor reporting, job labor costing, benefit tracking, NISH reporting, and gross earnings calculations. Best practice: Use a payroll system in which all time and piece count data is entered just once using automated payroll software 3. Get software that makes it easy for everyone to use It s important for your payroll staff to streamline their work, but success with capturing client payroll data relies on them adopting the system you implement. Timeliness and accuracy depend on their entries, so it s vital that they view it as genuinely easy to use. That s a standard for the top payroll software systems. It should be extremely easy for your staff to use easy to enter time, enter piece counts, and easy to check-in and check-out clients as a group. They should be able to do all of this anywhere there s an Internet access. The best systems also simplify the review-and-approval process for supervisors, and roll up the data for automated

4 exports to your accounting system. The perfect client payroll systems should work so well that your people will ask why they weren t using the software before. Best practice: Get your staff involved in the assessment process for every possible software solution for client payroll. They need to see how it works and ask questions because they ll be the ones using it. Or not using it, if they don t like it. 4. Choose a solution that makes administration and reporting easy Many social services agencies struggle with client payroll systems because they are hard to use. The solution should have an easy-to-understand and intuitive user interface. There should be optimal customization so that the software works for their process and not the other way around. There should be an intelligence workflow to the payroll process so they don t have to stop and pick up a user manual to figure out what to do next. But the system doesn t need to be too simple in that it lacks a comprehensive set of functions and reports required for your team to be able to make the best decisions. There should be standard and custom reports that allow them access to the information they need to show performance, productivity, job costs, wage rates, time studies, and everything else important to run your agency effectively. Best practice: Test-drive your prospective client payroll system to see how intuitive it feels. Satisfy yourself that it can do everything you need, with minimal effort. Ensure that you can get the right information back out with quality easy-to-run reports. 5. Exchange information easily with other applications Capturing time and piece counts in client payroll software is just one side of the cash flow equation. The system you purchase should be capable of sharing that data with your accounting application. This is very important to ensuring your payroll process becomes more efficient.

5 Once the payroll information is processed, it should simply be a matter of a few mouse clicks to send it on to your accounting department or to your third party payroll company. An added bonus would be that the payroll software could be adapted to multiple accounting applications in case you change that system in the future. Best practice: Choose a flexible payroll solution that guarantees you ll get the data sharing you need. The right client payroll software will make it easy to share time and piece count details with accounting and other pertinent applications. 6. Ensure the safety, security and availability of your data Because you are dealing with your clients personal and highly sensitive information, your payroll software vendor must be able to provide a secure environment for this data. You should have the ability to limit the number of people who have access to the payroll data. And the software system should have the most powerful encryption to protect all your clients. Ask the software vendor about their security measures when making your considerations. Best practice: Be sure that the vendors you consider can document their means of protecting your clients data. Our Conclusion To make sure that your clients are being paid the correct amount, you need a centralized way to get and transmit payroll data. The software should be easy to learn and easy to use. It should provide your team with an intuitive interface that works with your payroll process. Reporting should be customizable and easy to obtain. It is very important to not only be able to pay your clients in a timely and accurate manner but to also streamline your client payroll process to make sure you re maximizing dollars spent. The right software for client payroll should give your staff the right tool they need to easily pay clients correctly, to produce participant productivity, earnings, and job labor cost reports and produce NISH compliance reports on demand. Reporting is very important when it comes to your choice of payroll applications. You should be able to produce reports within minutes versus hours. Your reports should be easy to read and understand. These reports must be able to prove your compliance and provide the necessary information to make appropriate decisions for your consumers. For the features of any software you may choose, make sure the time entry, employee setup, job and job step setup process is easy to handle and will save you time by reducing the number of times that input is necessary and the number of times you will have to re-enter the same information. You must have confidence in a new client payroll system that the productivity rates, prevailing wage rates, and piece rate calculations are always correct and the clients are being paid on time. You should no longer have concerns about compliance fines. All of this is

6 necessary for an expenditure on client payroll software for your vocational facility. Without it, you may find yourself needing to start all over from scratch when a cheaper or less effective application is purchased. Do your due diligence and you will find the right product for your agency. Vertex Systems is the leading software vendor for client payroll solutions for agencies that serve people with disabilities and barriers to employment. Our Client Payroll Manager handles all aspects of piece and hourly rate commensurate wage payroll, including all productivity calculations, D.O.L. reporting, job labor costing, benefit tracking, NISH reporting, and gross earnings calculations. Visit our website at to register for a webinar and see our software solution, Client Payroll Manager, in action. Vertex Systems, Inc. 440 Polaris Parkway Suite 150 Westerville, OH Toll Free: (866)

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