Elliots Hill is a care and support company, with services that range from supported living and residential care to education and training for individuals with learning difficulties. As a part of these services, Elliots Hill runs several care facilities with independent teams at each location. To calculate staff pay, labour data of every shift was collected by printing off timesheets and asking all staff to record their shifts. This information was then entered manually into the company’s systems.
Printing out timesheets, waiting for them to be filled in by hand and returned often caused a delay in payment to Elliots Hill’s staff and typing up hand-written notes was an error-prone and time-consuming process.
The Desired Outcome
Elliots Hill needs a system which allows staff to record their own shift times and other pertinent details. This information needs to be exported in a format that could be input directly to SAGE, the accountancy software. Ideally, the data could be easily consolidated in order for management reports to be quickly generated to identify trends or emerging issues.
Given that there would be a significant variance in the technical ability of the users, the system was desired to be user-friendly, with integrated guidance, prompts and other checks to prevent users from entering invalid data.
We started off by producing a MS Excel tool, using VBA to automate some of the more tedious processes. Staff could access the tool from a central location and update their shift information whenever they needed to. The tool would then automatically consolidate all staff data and export it to SAGE via a CSV file. The tool also allowed staff to record mileage of journeys made and details of overnight stays, something that was not possible in the old system.
After several months of using the Excel tool successfully, we realised that in order for Elliots Hill to cope with their increasing number of employees, a different solution might be required. After discussing the requirements with Elliots Hill, we decided to recommend a web-based solution connected to an SQL database.
Due to our familiarity with the existing solution, we were able to scope out and develop a web-based timesheet and rostering system, that allowed users to log in and input data online, and have that data instantly consolidated for reporting.
As more users started using the system across HR, Payroll and other departments, a number of change requests were raised, which we were able to implement in due course. Often a change could be tested and implemented within days of requesting, allowing staff to quickly benefit from the new features.
One of the major features was the ability to create web-based PivotTables, where staff could save their layouts; this allowed them to create their own reports and share with others, reducing the need to request a change request every time a new report was desired.
- Hours of manual work eliminated - using an automated system saves the Elliots Hill team a great deal of time compared to the previous paper-based process.
- Instantaneous reporting - the web-based interface allows users to log in and enter data which feeds into the reports straight away, without any further processing.
- Accurate and reliable - since the data is consolidated in a single SQL database, there is no risk of old or missing spreadsheets causing the payroll to be incorrect.
- Open-ended and future-proof - as we now understand the processes within Elliots Hill very well, we continue to build new features and tools for them to use, including an HR database and a Leave & Absence module.
The tool is user-friendly and accessible via any device with a modern browser and internet connection. Employees enjoy the benefits of having their information correctly recorded so they can be paid accurately and in a timely fashion. The new reporting module allows the team to quickly identify if there are any issues and rectify them in the system directly, which is much faster than going through a number of old spreadsheets.
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