Paperless Field Tracking Delivers Payroll Processing Advantages
Contractors can eliminating errors and redundant manual data entry
By: John Sheedy, B2W Software
The biggest benefit of switching from paper field logs and time cards to an electronic solution may be the ability to track performance data more accurately, analyze it daily and use the information to make faster adjustments in the field. Contractors, however, should not overlook the complementary payroll accuracy and labor reduction benefits.
The way we’ve always done it
Paying employees accurately and on time is a core challenge for heavy construction companies of all sizes and specialties, and it’s not as easy as it seems. Remote job sites, the dynamic nature of the work, and numerous phase codes and cost codes drive up the level of difficulty.
As a result, payroll processing is typically a dreaded and labor-intensive process. Depending on the size of the company, several employees in the office may spend a day or longer each week pouring over job reports and time cards for work performed at each job site the previous week. There’s a lot of give and take with colleagues in the field to decipher time keeping data and resolve discrepancies, a lot of redundant data entry to get that information into the payroll system and a lot of opportunities for error.
Going paperless in the field
Bringing more automation into this payroll process pays off – and it begins with a paperless solution. Results in payroll accuracy and reduced labor are consistent among construction companies that have implemented an electronic system for capturing performance data, including labor hours, and flowing that information directly from the field tracking system to the system used for payroll and accounting. The structured, electronic format and automated transfer ensure accuracy and consistency. The inevitable errors that occur when data has to be re-entered manually disappear.
A.J. Coleman & Son Construction in New Hampshire reports being able to reposition half of its payroll staff into more valuable back office roles. The accuracy of the payroll process at the company has also resulted in a three to five percent recovery of costs from labor time that was previously entered improperly.
Brandie Meisner, CFO at M&M Excavating in Michigan, says the previous labor-intensive process of entering employee hours into the accounting system has been reduced to a “minor validation” effort. Electronic data travels instantly from tablets in the field to desktops in the office, and her team no longer chases forms and time cards that are lost, illegible, forgotten or sitting in someone’s truck.
Similarly, Mark Galasso, president at Lancaster Development in New York, reports going from 2.5 payroll errors per week, on average, to virtually zero.
“Electronic field tracking presented a great opportunity for us to automate large pieces of the payroll process,” concludes Jeremy Iacarella at M.A. Mortenson Company. “When we were using paper, there was a lot of back and forth between the field and the back office. The payroll administrators love it now because the data comes in organized, clear and easy to see. It allows them to process payroll more quickly on the backend.”