Our customers, and their employees, have high expectations of the user experience. The user experience needs to be consumer grade and intuitive, yet at the same time have the robustness of an SAP application. Run Simple is the cornerstone of SAP applications these days and payroll is not excluded. SAP has taken a hard look at the payroll process and identified ways to simplify and automate it. The result of this is the Payroll Control Center add-on for Employee Central Payroll.
SAP’s Payroll Control Center is focused on two roles, the payroll process manager and the payroll administrator. The Payroll Control Center gives each role a completely new user interface that makes the entire process more understandable, automates many parts of it and easier to audit. This results in increased accuracy, and reduced time, while processing the payroll.
Let’s take deeper look into each of the roles.
The Payroll Process Manager:
The new user experience for the payroll process manager consists of three layers. The Calendar view, Process view per payroll and the Process step view.
The calendar view shows all payroll processes that are configured and accessible for the payroll manager. These individual payroll processes can be defined when customizing the payroll. The payroll processes can be configured per payroll area, and it is also possible to configure multiple payroll processes per payroll area or one process for multiple payroll areas.
The calendar view shows a monthly calendar and the color coding shows which processes are in process and what the status is (red or green).
Process View per Payroll:
When a payroll process manager clicks on a payroll process in the calendar view the process view opens. It displays the complete process and it contains main steps and sub steps. See the following screen shot:
Every process overview contains main steps (at the top) and sub steps (under the main steps). On main step level the dates are displayed within each the process chain that needs to be executed. The bar shows the number of days that have passed in the defined period. On the sub step level different icons show if a process is open, closed, locked, or awaiting action.
The way these processes are defined is completely flexible. SAP provides a best practices framework models and the customer configures to reflect their process.
Process Step View:
When you click into the sub step a new screen opens. There are delivered predefined screens and SAP delivers a framework that enables customers and partners to convert their own reports and screens into the new user experience.
For all Process step views the left side of the screen shows the ‘actions’ and the right side show the ‘details’. The following example shows the ‘run payroll’ screen with an overview of all 3 payroll areas that the payroll is run for. The SAP Payroll Processing action is triggered when the payroll is being executed (via the button bottom right).
The payroll administrator and payroll process manager roles work closely together. The payroll process manager is the key person who is able to divide all tasks, like master data validation, interface tracking and reconciliation within a team. That means that a payroll manager can appoint payroll administrators in order to fix potential issues in the payroll, directly from the payroll process overview the control center add-on for the administrator can be started.
The real-time dashboard shows information per payroll administrator and per tasks. So, whenever the payroll administrator resolves an issue this will automatically be updated on the screen for the process manager. The process manager can confirm the payroll when the most alarming issues are resolved. The process manager can confirm the step even while there are issues open.
For the Payroll Administrator:
Companies usually use tools such as Excel to plan, track and document the steps of a payroll process. For many payroll administrators the end-to-end payroll processing time crosses multiple days, in which most of the time is spent on analyzing payroll master data that goes into the payroll and reconciliation activities that take place after the payroll has run. The data is scattered over different reports and many of these reports run over-night in batch processes, which increases the end-to-end payroll cycle time.
The SAP Payroll control center add-on is a new approach in which potential issues are pointed out in real-time, by the application, rather than payroll administrators digging through information and trying to find issues themselves. With this functionality payroll administrators only need to focus on resolving the issues, rather than identifying them and this saves the payroll administrator’s valuable time.
During the preparation of the payroll there are a lot of validations on master data that is executed by payroll administrators. They make sure that information like tax information, missing address information and other payroll relevant information is valid, or corrected before the payroll runs. After the payroll has run the payroll administrators make sure the results are correct before finalizing the payroll. To do this they run validations such as:
•Gross variance deviation of customer defined percentage: this identifies employees with a deviation in their current salary compared to their last salary;
•Zero Net: this identifies active, inactive and withdrawn employees who will receive “zero net” pay out;
•Excess Net: this identifies employees with a net pay over a specified tolerance;
•And many more.
Currently there are many different reports created for these validations. These can now be converted into ‘validation rules’ that run in the SAP Payroll Control Center. Via these validation rules potential issues will be pointed out by the application. The validation rules ‘framework’ can encapsulate almost any type of master data and reconciliation analysis that is required.
What is fundamentally different in this application is that all potential errors will be identified by the SAP Payroll Control Center, rather than payroll administrators digging through loads of individual reports. This results in saving valuable time for the payroll administrators and automates the payroll validation process.
The delivered functionality of the Payroll Control Center, and the enhanced user experience, enables you to streamline your process by eliminating time consuming spreadsheet based analysis and the creation of manual audit trails. It allows you to define your unique processes on a single platform; which leads to increased efficiency, increases time to productivity for new employees and employee satisfaction due to the simplified and robust user experience.