This is the third in a series looking at the five critical reports every business needs, but most businesses can’t get from their payroll service. For this post we’ll look at workers compensation reports.
Workers compensation seems like a perfect area for a standard report. The insurance is required, and the types of incidents which are coverable don’t really vary all that much. If it were up to the payroll services, workers comp information would probably always be presented in the same format.
Where things get complicated is when the insurance companies get involved, because that’s when the auditors step in.
Claims and complications
Workers compensation insurance is required, but a company may select the specific provider of its choice. That decision, determining who will process and manage your workers comp claims, is the most important factor in shaping how you will need your workers comp reports structured.
Each insurance company has its own auditors, and auditors use a wide variety of strategies to do their jobs. How you need a workers comp report laid out is based largely on your auditor’s preferences.
So if you want to get picky about it, the fact that workers comp reports can’t be standardized is our own fault, because our decisions make it extremely complicated for any particular payroll service to keep up. If we all decided to use exactly the same insurance carrier and auditor, it would certainly be easier for payroll services to come up with a standardized report. But that’s not realistic in a free market economy, and in reality, the really picky people are the auditors themselves. So in the end, you’re completely justified in wanting a report that fits your auditor’s criteria, and that can be a problem.
Is it possible to get a custom workers comp report from your servicer? Of course it is — but nothing is ever free or easy. You almost certainly have access to a report writer, and if you don’t happen to understand how to write the coded commands that will output what you need, your payroll service will be happy to charge you a hefty price to write it for you.
Of course, if your auditor wants it in a format more interactive than paper, you’re probably not going to be able to give them good news. Payroll reports are notoriously unusable for anything but simply reading.
More than just payroll
Workers compensation isn’t a purely payroll issue, either; to really create a useful report entails being able to integrate payroll and HR. While some auditors only wish to review productive and non-productive hours, others want to see vacation, sick hours, and bonuses, as well.
When you consider that even something as simple as an overtime report isn’t easy to obtain from your payroll service, is it any surprise that a simple workers’ compensation report is beyond reach?
The solution is to take control of your reports by taking control of your payroll data. With an in-house payroll solution, writing exactly the report your workers comp auditor needs is simple. Our report writer of choice, Crystal, is much easier to use than the coding-heavy writers most services expect you to use. That’s a statement we back up by providing training in how to use Crystal to generate the reports you need.
Easy as it is, you don’t need a specialist on staff to write reports for you. We provide custom report services to many of our clients, and as Crystal is widely used, there are many independent consultants who can write your reports for you. By bringing payroll in house, you bring choice back into your business plan.
If you’d like to know more about how to finally get your workers compensation report right, contact us to talk about your payroll frustrations and needs.