Payroll Integration Strategy

SupportAbility is designed to produce Staff Time Sheets from the Staff shift data entered into Activities. There are some important limitations in regards to this functionality that providers must be aware of to assist determine the most suitable strategy regarding payroll. 


Summary

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Limitations

It is important to note that SupportAbility is purely designed to generate Staff time and attendance data: i.e. the working from and to time, as entered into the Staff section of an Activity: 

SupportAbility has no capacity to perform any form of award interpretation (such as managing breaks, allowances and penalties), workforce management or payroll generation. These functions must be handled by a third-party solution such as a Payroll system if required. 

If the Services your organisation delivers require award interpretation e.g. SCHADS, it is imperative that you consider how to manage these requirements and seek an award interpretation solution outside of SupportAbility. 

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Award Categorisation

SupportAbility was originally designed to categorise time and attendance data based on the following Award Categorisation rules, however, we have identified issues with the way which this categorisation is being calculated and we have plans in our upcoming SupportAbility Roadmap to remove all award categorisation functionality across the system due to this. 

Before Award Categorisation is removed from SupportAbility however, we will be adding functionality to allow providers to configure attributes related to Staff Time Sheets (e.g. Sleepover, On call, Breaks, etc.). This information can then be included in Time Sheet Batch exports for various Payroll systems where applicable to ensure Award Interpretation can be performed as accurately as possible. 

In the same way that SupportAbility sends invoice data to the organisation's Finance system to manage the responsibilities around Invoice distribution and accounts receivable, SupportAbility will only export pure Staff time and attendance data for payroll systems to perform award interpretation and generate payroll.

With this in mind we strongly recommend that Providers do not rely on Award Categorisation information when designing your strategies and workflows around Staff Time Sheets and payroll. 

The current areas in SupportAbility that include Award Categorisation details are as follows: 

  • Generating and viewing Time Sheet Batches
  • Download Detailed Time Sheets export
  • Download Summary Time Sheets export
  • Download Time Sheet Batch for MYOB AccountRight
  • Download Time Sheet Batch for HR3

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Prerequisites

If it is deemed suitable that Payroll Integration is required, to determine the best approach regarding this for your organisation, we recommend considering the following:


Strategic considerations

External systems

Organisations that require Time Sheets, generally use a workflow that contains the following major functions:

  1. Staff Rosters (SupportAbility can perform this function, albeit with the aforementioned limitations)
  2. Staff Time Sheets (SupportAbility can perform this function, albeit with the aforementioned limitations)
  3. Award Interpretation (SupportAbility cannot perform this function)
  4. Payroll generation (SupportAbility cannot perform this function)

When devising a payroll integration strategy, it is important to understand which software products will be responsible for each of these major functions and which information needs to flow between the systems.  

Whilst SupportAbility does provide functionality around Staff Rosters and Staff Time Sheets, some Providers choose to manage these functions outside of SupportAbility using highly specialised third-party rostering tools.

System responsible for Staff Rosters and Staff Time Sheets Concept Pros Cons
SupportAbility In this scenario, SupportAbility is used to manage both Staff Rosters and Time Sheets. Time Sheets are then processed into Time Sheet Batches and then exported for the next systems in the process to perform Award Interpretation and Payroll generation.

System Responsibilities:
  1. Staff Rosters (SupportAbility)
  2. Staff Time Sheets (SupportAbility)
  3. Award Interpretation (Third-party Payroll or Award Interpretation Software)
  4. Payroll generation (Third-party Payroll Software)
  • Clear and holistic visibility around Activities and the relationship and interaction between Staff and Clients for each service delivered, viewed within a single system.
  • Staff Time Sheets are Connected to Client Participation and billing via Activities
  • No advanced rostering functionality including costed labor when scheduling, skill matching, etc...
  • Integration required between SupportAbility and Award Interpretation system or Payroll system to transfer Time Sheet Batch data
Third-party Specialised Rostering System In this scenario, SupportAbility is  not used to manage either Staff Rosters or Time Sheets. All of these processes are managed by other software systems.  Using this model, SupportAbility is essentially being used as a client management and billing solution and has no responsibilities around Staff Rostering and Time Sheets.

Optional: Adding Staff in SupportAbility for purposes other than Time Sheets:
Some providers using this strategy still choose to add Staff to Activities for the sole purpose of keeping an auditable register of which Staff delivered each service to Clients.  Whilst adding staff in this manner is optional, it does provide benefits around audit-ability and builds quick pathways for Staff to add Goal Evidence and Journal notes for Clients participating in Activities, but has the detriment of potentially incurring some level of double data entry.

System Responsibilities:
  1. Staff Rosters (Third-party Rostering or Payroll Software)
  2. Staff Time Sheets (Third-party Rostering or Payroll Software)
  3. Award Interpretation (Third-party Rostering, Payroll or Award Interpretation Software)
  4. Payroll generation (Third-party Payroll Software)
  • Potential access to advanced rostering functionality including costed labor when scheduling, skill matching, leave management, etc...
  • No integration required between SupportAbility and Award Interpretation system or Payroll system.
  • Minimal or no Staff information required to be entered into Activities depending on required outputs
  • Potential double data entry if Staff are still required to register in Activities for auditing and other purposes
  • Difficult to gain a holistic picture of Activities that shows the relationships and interactions between Staff and Clients for each service delivered, viewed within a single system.


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Payroll Systems

Payroll is a very important and complex issue for service providers to solve. This complexity is a direct result of the convoluted nature of the SCHADS award and how it should be interpreted and then applied to Staff Time Sheet data. The operative word here is 'interpreted'. The award is designed to act as a minimum set of requirements, but few providers employ it at this minimum level. 

Many providers choose to add additional rules and considerations to strike a fairer arrangement between the organisation and its Staff. To manage and apply these complex rules correctly, service providers will often require a software system that has the ability to perform Award Interpretation on Staff time and attendance data (as exported from SupportAbility) before generating payroll.

SupportAbility is, first and foremost, a specialised NDIS Client Management System (CMS) which service providers use to manage client information, service delivery, and NDIS payment requests. Additionally, a Finance system is employed to manage accounts payable, accounts receivable and financial reporting for the organisation. Finally, a Payroll system is required to manage the generation of payroll to remunerate the organisation's Staff. 

Often providers attempt to use the payroll facilities that are included in their finance system such as MYOB or Xero, however, the payroll facilities provided in such finance systems generally fall well short of the service provider requirements, because these systems have no ability to perform any kind of Award Interpretation. Instead, these simple payroll systems are expecting that award interpretation has already been completed on any data they receive, which is generally not the case.

SupportAbility has no facility to perform Award Interpretation as this is the responsibility of Payroll systems, just as managing Accounts Receivable information is the responsibility of Finance systems. This means that service providers with Award Interpretation requirements have two options:

  1. Replace the current Payroll facility with a more sophisticated Payroll system that has the ability to accept time and attendance data (as exported from SupportAbility) and perform complex Award Interpretation on that data, and generate payroll. This is the recommended approach because it requires fewer integration points and provides a more powerful Payroll solution to providers.
    (Solutions we currently work with: easyemployer, Payroll Metrics)
  2. Continue to use the existing Payroll facility, but use third-party Award Interpretation software to sit between SupportAbility and the Payroll system. Essentially SupportAbility would export staff time and attendance data to the Award Interpreter software which would perform the Award Interpretation and then export the award interpreted payroll data to the current Payroll system to generate payroll.
    (Solutions we currently work with: easyemployer)


As indicated above, the Payroll systems we work with that provide solutions in this area are Payroll Metrics and easyemployer. That said, we recommend that each provider evaluate the available options in the market, and then select the most appropriate system for their needs. As long as the selected system can import time and attendance data via CSV file and is able to perform Award Interpretation on this Time Sheet data exported from SupportAbility, we should be able to create a custom export specifically for the chosen solution using paid support time

Payroll systems are complex and every system, including the two listed above, will have their unique benefits and limitations. For this reason, it is of critical importance to undertake a thorough due diligence process before adopting a new payroll system. This process should always include a pilot to really test the chosen system and determine how it will work with your existing business systems and model to ensure that it will actually meet your requirements.

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Determining outputs

For the purpose of efficiency, many organisations only record and process Time Sheet data for Staff employed on a casual or part-time basis, and choose not to use SupportAbility to manage this for permanent Staff. 

Your organisation will, therefore, need to consider which Staff you wish to generate Time Sheet data for. Time Sheets may be batched for specific groups of Staff based on a number of criteria.

When using SupportAbility to generate Time Sheet Batches, your organisation will also need to decide if you wish Staff to complete their own Time Sheet using SupportAbility by performing the Sign Off from either the Dashboard or from within the Activity itself; or for Staff Time Sheets to be completed by the person approving the Activity and performing the Activity Sign Off as this completes the Staff Time Sheets in readiness for generating a Time Sheet Batch. 

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