In 2012, Peto MacCallum in Toronto found itself with an outdated payroll system. Implemented in 1999, there were no more updates to be had and the newest operating system it could work on was Windows XP — though the engineering consulting firm was upgrading to Windows 7.
There were other challenges too, according to Judy Singh, HR and payroll co-ordinator.
“It was actually all paper-based and there were no import or export functions, so although most of our employees (are) salary, about 80 per cent of them still get paid overtime in addition to 40 hours per week,” she says. “We actually had to go in and put in, key in all that overtime, so we’d be doing two entries, so if they had basic overtime and overtime at one-and-a-half.”
When doing journal entries, the payroll department had to key in everybody’s salary on a spreadsheet. There were checks in place so it balanced but if not, it would take a long time to figure out where the problem was, says Singh.
So Peto MacCallum took a look at a few vendors to bring in a new system and, in the end, it chose Ceridian and its Dayforce Payroll product, a component of Dayforce Human Capital Management (HCM). The product allows managers to view, edit, fix and preview payroll in real-time. It also includes embedded analytics so decisions such as wage increases or overtime are based on real-time business intelligence data and benchmarks.
A big part of the appeal was Peto MacCallum could create its own custom reports when they were needed, says Singh. Another benefit was Ceridian’s reports were easy to read.
In late August, the process of doing the conversion started and, in the end, it was easier than expected, she says. Payroll didn’t have to do much — just check the year-to-date.
“And also, which we found really good, was our testing. They imported our actual information and all our testing and training was done on that test system, so when we changed, you did not see any difference.”
As part of the ramp-up to the launch, Peto MacCallum did three parallel payroll runs. And just before the company went live, it did a one-dollar expensary imbursement to make sure all the bank accounts were correct and pay would actually go in.
“The implementation went smoothly and there was great collaboration between our two teams,” says Andrew Injodey, vice-president of finance at Peto MacCallum.
“With an employee base consisting of engineers, geoscientists, geologists, technicians, technologists and other support staff within multiple office and laboratory locations, we needed a scalable solution that would significantly reduce our time on pay and human resource administration. With Dayforce Payroll installed, we have accurate real-time reporting on all aspects of employees’ compensation and information.”
The company is seeing greater efficiencies, particularly with the employee self-service, says Singh.
“It is very user-friendly — if you need something, you can actually figure it out without having to call.”
The solution is also incredibly intuitive, she says.
“Being able to import and export data with the touch of a button and preview our payroll before it is deemed final means we gain valuable extra time to inspect and ensure pay accuracy. Furthermore, our move to real-time, online earnings statements has eliminated our office paper trail.”
There are also fewer surprises with the new system.
“We know what payroll’s going to be before we submit it. Before, we’d enter everything (and) we wouldn’t see what our payroll was, we’d just see entries that we made. But now, we can actually see everything before we commit it. So we know when we get that payroll register,” says Singh.
Another bonus involves the challenge of temporary layoffs and the continuation of employee benefits. In the old system, there was no code for a temporary layoff or maternity leave so workers had to be coded as “terminated,” which meant the system did not record their taxable benefits. With the new system, there’s a code for a temporary layoff or maternity leave and the taxable benefits are calculated based on that, so it makes for less year-end work and no adjustments are needed, she says.
The reporting options are well used, as seen when branch managers seek a previous and current salary or a birthday list to send greeting cards. And with third-party payments or pension plan payments, payroll can run a report in doing a conversion and send it to Manulife in the right format, she says.
Field staff also appreciate being able to log in to the new system to see their earnings statements and T4s online, as most of them work outside of the office and are not always able to pick up their paystubs, says Singh.
Cost-wise, the new payroll system is a little bit cheaper, she says.
“It’s based on price per employee per month, rather than before when it was per employee per pay run, so sometimes when we’d pay out banked overtime or bonuses or something like that, we’d have four payrolls in a month. So now... we don’t see the extra two.”
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