Belgarath Investments was starting to feel as though its payroll function was more of a bane than a boost. Human resources manager, Shirley Ang, shares why her team decided to move the function in-house.

With the growth in headcounts and businesses at our company, it came to a point in which we felt outsourcing was no longer effective in terms of labour and costing.

Our company does not have an HRMS that sits within our office for HR to have direct access to data; the entire e-leave and e-pay module were also outsourced. Although HR has access to view leave and payroll reports, it is not effective as having a system whereby we can freely generate HR data.

Though we do not have to process the payroll directly, it is very time-consuming to have to constantly correspond with our outsourced payroll vendor to get data and reports revised where necessary. In the F&B business, there’s a lot of for the general managers and restaurant managers to do in each restaurant and we want to cut down on the paperwork for them, so they can spend their time building sales and providing quality service.Additionally, cost-wise, outsourcing was more expensive, as our headcount ballooned by 30% in the last nine months.

We knew that to resolve this issue, we had to bring payroll in-house. The current HR team are experienced payroll personnel – all the more reasons for us to process it directly. The whole idea is to have a full suite HRMS so we can manage it entirely on our own.

As there are many payroll vendors in the market, we met up with four before deciding to use Prosoft. We wanted a system that could integrate our current time attendance system that resides in the POS (Point of Sale) system directly into the new payroll system. This should cut down at least 30% of paper work for operations.

Upon purchasing the software, the HR team met with the assigned consultants to talk about the schedule and work flow before going into specific modules scoping and specification. Concurrently, data integrity is being worked on so all information migrated will be accurate. In addition, we need to connect our POS vendor to work with Prosoft on the integration between the two systems. After the scoping, configurations, testing and UAT, the system was rolled out after eight months in October 2012.

After the system went live, we saw plenty of benefits. The reaction was good and very much welcomed and productivity was boosted to a great extent. With our own HRIS, we will be able to enter data directly and to generate reports as and when required. A lot of time is also saved for HR completing the MOM Labour Survey, as it is now just a click to generate reports. The time savings is about 80% - in the past, payroll processing could take up to seven working days, whereas now it’s only three to four.

With direct access to the system, we can attend to and address inquiries instantly, rather than writing to our outsourced vendor and waiting their response. This gives us a faster turnaround time and employees’ greater customer satisfaction.
Additionally, we’re able to provide to our finance department with the journal reports in a breeze, as all were being set up based on account codes. This was no extra cost to us and we are saving thousands every month.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that companies should constantly review their business infrastructure and processes to plan ahead to meet the demands. Data integrity and maintenance is also important – whilst we were cleaning up data, we realised some data was outdated for a handful of long-serving employees.

If I had to go through this change again, I would think to generate individual profiles and ask for personal updates such as email, change of addresses and educational updates before the data migration. I would also spring internal audits once every six months to check on data accuracy.

Another aspect would be to involve my operations, POS and Prosoft vendor as early as possible for scoping and customisation, which took about two months. This could have been done concurrently.