Five years ago, Servus Credit Union went through a major transformation when it doubled in size by merging with two other credit unions: Community Savings and Common Wealth. That also meant more locations across Alberta, at 100, and major alterations to the payroll system. And more changes are in the works for 2014.
Back in 2008, Servus had been using Avanti software for two years but the two other credit unions were on different payroll systems, so it decided to do a request for proposals from other vendors. In the end, Avanti was still the best fit as it suited the new organization’s needs and could grow with the credit union, according to Carolyn Lesyshen, payroll supervisor at Servus in Edmonton.
“That’s one of the things you’re looking for in a provider, you need to have that stability, room for growth, communication, are they willing to make changes in their system to suit some of our needs.”
Those needs included normal concerns such as statutory requirements and time and attendance to be used in the future, along with being able to interlink with another system used for employee performance plans.
“Each person has to have their own individual position for those performance plans or future learning and development, so we had to look at a system that would integrate with other systems too,” says Lesyshen.
“Avanti is easy to talk to, you can email them a situation, they can come back and do (instant messaging) and then work through any issues you have. They’re open to helping you with your policies and procedures to make it work, like if specific formulas have to be created.”
The system also had to be able to function in three different regions and when it came to learning how to use the system, Servus was able to train staff at the other credit unions that amalgamated as it was familiar with the software.
“We also had (Avanti) put in a training platform so that the other regions could go in there and play with data and it wasn’t live,” she says.
The system includes a self-serve component where employees can enter items such as personal information and entitlements while also being able to print pay statements and T4s. Having the system in-house allows for last-minute changes and reports on anything ranging from location, salary range, benefits and yearly reviews.
“Avanti has an excellent report structure, it’s been great. You can modify, you can get them to assist you creating a report with lots of formulas that may be sometimes a little bit too complicated for us,” says Lesyshen. “There’s so much that we don’t even have in this system yet that we could put in. It’s endless and they’re always upgrading twice a year, putting new features in.”
In the future, it’s possible payroll at Servus will be centralized instead of at three locations, but the credit union wanted to make sure it had time and attendance automated first as it’s now a manual system, she says. And that’s been delayed because the organization was using three different banking systems, but it expects to have just one by 2014.
Right now, Servus is in the early stage of putting in place the web time attendance.
“We’re just in the learning stage, learning how to operate ourselves and then making sure we have all the information needed in there and each employee is set up properly,” says Lesyshen.
The new system will be easier for employees to input their time and expectations, and also involve less paperwork along with greater accuracy and efficiencies so the payroll department can move on to other duties, she says.
“The web time would be all online, employees would access it through payroll self-serve and input their hours of work, what vacation time they took, if they were sick and then the manager would approve this time and then we would pull it into payroll to create our batches.”
But the changes won’t end with the new web time system — there’s always something more, says Lesyshen.
“We’re always looking to improving what we do, changing process and procedures; it enables us to serve employees better with the information we can give each area and help meet goals in the organization.”
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