We are always looking to be challenged and love nothing more than combining both our development expertise and extensive IFS knowledge to create neat solutions that solve somewhat tricky problems for our customers.
When one of our IFS customers changed their company pension provider earlier this year, the new provider stipulated that all data coming from the client’s payroll to the pension scheme must be generated into a standardised file format using the Pensions and Payroll Data Interface Standard (PAPDIS) and then uploaded in to their portal for submission.
The PAPDIS file is a CSV file, exported from payroll software that provides the pension provider with employee specific HR data and details of individual employee pension contributions – from the customer, the employee themselves as well as any additional voluntary contributions the employee wishes to contribute.
Despite the customer using the IFS Payroll module, beyond facilitating payment of employees, there are no standard IFS methods to produce anything at all pension related and certainly not in the PAPDIS file format required. As a result, the customer tasked Cooper Software with creating a method of extracting the required data from IFS in the correct format which could then be sent on to the pension provider.
The customer in question was using IFS version 7.5 which is accepted as a fairly old database system. A consequence of this was that their payroll team often struggled when generating other standard EPS and FPS Payroll files to send to HMRC via the Government Gateway. Doing so usually locked up their session, leaving them powerless to carry out any other tasks in IFS until after the files had been created. We knew that the calculations necessary for the generation and validation of the required data to generate the PAPDIS file would put more stress on their already struggling system, significantly impacting even further on performance.
Due to this, we determined that the best way to obtain the data was through the development of a bespoke, bolt on an application which would work outside of IFS. The application could talk to IFS, carry out the necessary calculations and validation of logic then format the data in the correct way to produce the CSV file. Any errors encountered during the generation of the file would be clearly displayed along with a reason detailing why. If an employee does not meet the legal requirements for enrolment, this is reflected on the output document and any employees who have left the scheme are also skipped.
The application very much follows a “hit go and forget” philosophy. No manual work is required, it quietly runs in the background leaving users free to carry on with their day-to-day tasks, receiving a notification when their file is generated and can then be submitted to the pension provider. The whole process probably takes around 15 minutes to complete For our customer, who already had a lot of manual tasks to undertake, the application has automated and simplified an important task as well as successfully meeting the requirements of their new pension provider.
The application is compatible for all versions of IFS from Applications 7.5 through to 10, with minimal tweaking, depending on the needs of individual customers. What’s more, as IFS have previously announced they are moving away from the Payroll module completely after 2020, we are currently working on different ways of developing more robust payroll solutions to support IFS customers following this significant change, potentially using our proprietary electronic data integration solution, TRAX. You’ll hear more on this soon!
To find out more about how we can help integrate payroll or for a broader discussion on what the payroll changes might mean for your business, contact us.