Sitting Down with Leigh Cullen from Professional Services
Our recent FastTrack Interactive events found that one third of agencies see support as the most important criteria when selecting recruitment software. A key part of this is getting the system setup right the first time, including getting best-practice advice from local consultants with extensive industry expertise. We sat down with our very own Consultant Team Leader Leigh Cullen for her answers to common payroll questions, and why she thinks her team is the best in the business.
FastTrack: What are the methods for capturing candidates time and attendance?
Leigh Cullen: Ideally, you want to give the functionality of submitting and approving time to clients and candidates, which alleviates the pressure on your payroll department. The next method is if you have large clients that have multiple people clocking in on site, you need the ability to upload a data file for processing. Lastly, if you have clients who are slow adopters of technology, you need to also be able to manually enter paper timesheets for processing. It is quite common to have all three methods being used at the same time, with a phase roll-out approach to get more clients using the more accurate and efficient self-service online timesheet capture.
FT: What are the other payroll items you may need to get through timesheet capture?
LC: Reimbursements can be a struggle for agencies. In the mobile timesheet process, it is possible to claim reimbursements and add photos of receipts from your mobile phone, to attach directly to the timesheet. Plus, you can easily submit leave requests for approval, which then automatically updates the timesheet to reverse the attendance into an absence. If a client has multiple projects within a worksite or warehouse, for example, you can capture time worked by project code to itemise the time and invoice clients accordingly.
FT: How do timesheets get translated into payroll?
LC: A powerful part of FastTrack360 is the rules engine. A common process is to allocate a pay agreement and a bill agreement to a job order, which includes all the rates and rules for that job. As a timesheet is approved and submitted, it goes through the rules engine, which runs continuously 24/7. The rules engine interprets the start and stop times of the timesheet against the industrial instrument (the pay agreement) and converts the timesheet into gross candidate payroll, as well as billing, so you get a full forecasted amount before paying and invoicing. This takes all the business-critical information such as pay agreements, timesheet interpretation and client invoicing requirements, which may be manually managed based on knowledge living in the heads of key staff. This can lead to inconsistencies in payroll, even for the candidates working on the same site. Automating this process with smart software ensures this process is more consistent, accurate and can save agencies hours ofstaff time, who then only need to spot-check, rather than checking every single timesheet. This becomes even more critical when managing large volumes of candidates.
FT: How are industrial instruments or pay agreements setup?
LC: As part of the implementation process a dedicated FastTrack Business Consultant creates pay conditions that match each customer’s specific pay agreement requirements. This process ensures this critical information that often lives in staff members heads is accurately configured in the powerful FastTrack360 rules engine. Whilst it can be a challenge upfront, our team work with you to accurately translate your interpretation and test the outcomes which ultimately delivers excellent long-term benefits for payroll and billing accuracy and consistency. Plus, the beauty of having an online agreement means it is easy to update the rates when needed by validity date, which may be mid-week, so the update happens when you want, and it also automatically updates any associated job templates or job orders.
FT: How does the payroll wizard work?
LC: The payee process is batch driven. You can run multiple pay batches at the same time, provided they are different pay companies or pay frequencies, so multiple people can run payroll. Usually you would run a pay batch which firstly pulls in all the approved and checked timesheets from the interpreter into a single batch, which then processes through the payroll wizard. The wizard guides you through the key review steps, where you only need to spot-check figures with the end outcome being the net figures and bank file. Generally we find clients spent hours or days in the past managing this process, but because the rules engine now does the grunt work and they are checking interpreter exceptions, payroll is now completed much quicker.
FT: What is the process behind getting exported files from the platform into various finance systems?
LC: We have a base product, FinanceExport, which sends debtor, wage and sales files for your invoicing. If your finance system needs something a little different, we can customise that finance export, and we will spend time with you to develop what your core functionalities and requirements are in your files, that your finance system needs. It’s a little bit of work to get your requirements upfront, but we then build them and put that into your system, and you then batch your files, produce your files, export them and then import them into your finance system. It’s similar to the payee process, and again is a reasonably quick process.
FT: Finally, why is your Product Sales team so good?
LC: I think we’re the best in the business! I would say it’s because we’ve purposefully gone out and hired industry people. When I say industry people, most of the team come from recruitment. They’ve done both jobs, in regards to front office, as well as payroll and billing. They understand the business, they understand your pain points, and they work very closely with your business so that your pain points are not brought into FastTrack. Most of us are ex-clients of FastTrack, as well, so we’ve gone through the implementation process, and understand the requirements of that. We’re very consistent, the team is full of long-termers, and they’re extremely passionate about what they do. We do this day in, day out, we know how to deliver projects and we invest time in making sure you know the product, know the functionalities so you’re self-sufficient when we walk away at the end of the day.