5 Critical Reports Every Business Should Have – Critical Report #2: Overtime

This is the second in a series looking at the five critical reports every business needs, but most businesses can’t get from their payroll service. Up next: overtime.

Quite of few of our clients tell us how surprised they were that their old payroll service wasn’t able to produce a decent overtime report. The standard fare is something that looks more like a TMI report, for “too much information.” than it does a simple overtime report. Instead of plainly laying out the number of overtime hours and their cost, these reports go on for page after page of mind-numbing detail.

When our clients describe their vision of a “decent” overtime report, it’s a lot simpler than that; all they want to see is dollars and hours. The length of the period may vary, but the basic idea doesn’t. The ideal overtime report should be a thumbnail sketch for an executive, not something in depth like a trial balance to satisfy accountants.

Least common denominator

Pity the payroll service, which has to satisfy every possible permutation while still giving the semblance of personal service. The problem is that a generic overtime report has to cater to the least common denominator, meaning they need to have all the data that any of those clients could possibly need. Apparently the rationale is that no one will complain about too much information, since technically you’re still getting the answer, or at least enough information to figure it out. However, it can take a finance whiz to tease out the simple figures you wanted in the first place.

Now many CEOs and business owners are quite good at finance, but that doesn’t mean they want to spend a few hours to get a simple answer. The purpose of reports is to allow managers to focus on managing, not on number-crunching. How many hours of overtime were worked in a given period? How much did that cost? Isn’t that the information you’re looking for at a glance?

No easy answers

Instead of that simple number, what you usually have is overtime showing up in the payment register and earnings report, where the numbers are buried by a tremendous amount of data. It’s an easy way for a service to provide the information, because you can be pretty sure that it’s formatted to have all the information that any one of their clients could possibly need for any reason whatsoever.

That’s not to say that the information actually is useful in that form, but no one’s going to say that their payroll service won’t give them an overtime report. That’s the way of the payroll service: cast a wide enough net to cover every eventuality, and charge a premium if a client wants something tailored to their needs. If another company controls your data, that company makes the rules.

Your rules, your answers

Maybe you’ve tried to manage with a TMI report for overtime. Or you’ve paid your service to write you a custom report, a report which wasn’t very useful. You know in your heart that you could do it better if you could just do it yourself.

Taking control of your own payroll doesn’t have to feel like rocket science. Pacific Data Marketing specializes in customizing your payroll solution to your exacting specifications, and providing the training and support you need to take it from there. Or, if you wish, we’ll write a custom overtime report that will produce exactly the numbers you’re looking for, and nothing else.

Overtime doesn’t have to come in a TMI report — to learn how you could be tracking overtime simply and easily, contact us to have a conversation about your company’s needs.

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