June 30, 2020
When PensionSync was first conceived, the core principle was fairly simple. PensionSync would provide a system that could take payroll data and deliver it easily to pension providers. At the same time, it would collect responses and updates from the pension providers and provide them back to payroll. Simple.
Except that payroll-to-pension processing has never been simple. There are too many variables, too many human factors and too many potential touchpoints for that to be the case.
The simple principle of moving data between two systems relies on the data not only being “clean” but also on each of the systems understanding it in the same way. And that is simply not the case.
Perhaps the most stark example is pay period dates. Payroll software tends to define a pay period as the month or week a person worked. Pension rules introduced in 2012 specified that for pensions something called a Pay Reference Period (PRP) must be used, and this is defined based on month or week in which a person is paid. In some cases, that will mean that the pay period defined by payroll and the PRP as legally defined for pension purposes are two different sets of dates. Confused yet? Read our help article here for more information and a worked example.
In many cases, even if the pay period and the PRP are the same, there will be some minor disagreement between the payroll system and the pension system. For example, I have worked with many users of payroll software products that only produce pension data in reference to tax periods. That is fine in theory, except that several pension providers only accept data in reference to calendar months. The intolerable result of that combination is that many payroll users were having to open up a payroll export file and manually change the dates before uploading it to the pension system. The very act of opening the file would sometimes create invalid date formats in the file, so it became a real sticking point in the process. In one of my past roles, it happened so frequently that I would include a section on this in the standard onboarding training - literally showing people how they would need to fudge the data through.
With PensionSync, all of that goes away. We developed an Automatic Date Matching feature in 2018, which checks with the pension providers what dates they are expecting. If the dates payroll supply don’t match, the system checks whether it can safely match the two sets of dates so that instead of an error report and some rework to do, the end user simply gets a success message and a note to let them know a date match has been applied.
It’s not just period dates - PensionSync deals with lots of things that have frustrated payroll users for years from trivial things like address formats, upper / lower casing and trailing spaces, to worker groups and payment sources. The result is fewer payroll-to-pension processing errors and, ultimately, happier payroll teams.
Find out about PensionSync's new bureau partner program, and how it can showcase your payroll bureau
Happy New Year from PensionSync, reflecting on successes and looking forward to 2021