(Tenth post in a series)
One of the factors that stymies accurate payroll reporting is the batch processing that’s needed. At the close of business each day, all the changes you’ve entered into your payroll service’s system are uploaded to a server and integrated with the main database. What it means in practice is that your information is always going to be at least a day old.
With any other aspect of the business, day-old data means running at a deficit. It means that you are making decisions without having all of the information. Day-old data isn’t competitive, it isn’t comprehensive, and it certainly isn’t fast.
So does it puzzle you that day-old data is the norm in payroll, even though you don’t have to put up with it anywhere else? Or have you just accepted it as one of those things?
Services survive on stale data
The reason why batch processing is needed is a technical one: it makes it easier for the servers. Whose servers? Your servicer’s servers, of course! If each and every one of their clients was able to submit information in real time and expect updates in return, the load on those servers would grind their work to a halt. And that doesn’t even take into consideration the bandwidth needed to allow for that constant flow of information back and forth. The only alternative — building enough server capacity and buying enough bandwidth to accommodate all of those requests — is a cost-prohibitive one at that scale.
But your servicer’s logistics shouldn’t have to be your problem. With an in-house payroll system, the only people making requests of the server are your own staff. Their needs will be considerably more manageable than the scale a payroll service must deal with. Bandwidth is also a significantly smaller concern — even if you have multiple locations which must access the payroll server, the chances of experiencing bandwidth demand spikes is remote.
Freshen your data
The problems which a payroll service resolves by providing day-old data are not your problems, but you’ve inherited them. Your problems are focused on how to manage your business with that day-old data. You probably have built systems around the assumption that none of your payroll information is going to be current, ever. Just as a dog who loses a leg adapts to life without it, your company has adapted to life without realtime payroll data. However, in the case of your company, you probably never realized that there is another option.
That’s what a custom in-house payroll system can do for you — give you immediate answers with realtime data, just like you have for other aspects of the enterprise. Data which can be integrated, because it’s not locked into PDF files, or occupying shelf space in a binder. Live, dynamic, realtime data that can provide the kinds of business intelligence you require to remain competitive.
So what will realtime payroll data get you? Many managers have the idea of day-old data so ingrained that they have trouble imagining the possibilities. How about:
- Up-to-the minute information on new hires
- Visibility into payroll liabilities
- Swift turnaround on garnish requests and deduction updates
. . . and the list goes on. Once you start thinking about what your business could look like with realtime payroll reporting, it’s easy to get excited.
If you’re starting to get excited about the possibilities, contact us to get an evaluation of your payroll needs. We’ll show you what it might be like once you can manage your payroll with realtime information rather than the day-old data you’re used to.