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Case Study

Faster Payroll with Fewer Errors

How Mid-Prairie Community School District cut the time required for monthly payroll in half.

Mid-Prairie Community School District Hero Image

District Background

When Jeff Swartzentruber joined Mid-Prairie Community School District as the School Business Official, he quickly saw that the way the district ran payroll was inefficient.

With an enrollment of around 1,600 students, the district’s Business Office is only three people: Jeff, Assistant Business Manager Cindy Malichky, and Human Resource Coordinator Carmela Ulin.

A typical payroll, run once a month, consists of around 340 people, which includes substitute teachers. In 2014, running that payroll took up to 3½ days each month.

Mid-Prairie uses Frontline’s Absence Management to track absences and employee leave, but at the time, they used a time-keeping system from another vendor. Running payroll was a lengthy process. Each pay period, Jeff and his team had to compare timesheets with employee leave in Absence Management to make sure pay was correct. Then, they had to manually re-enter those absences into the payroll system. “If there was a missing punch, you had to tie the leave into that missing punch. Was it a missing punch or was it just leave that we had to make sure was recognized?” says Jeff. “It just took a ton of time. You were always concerned about making a keying mistake in that process. So, over the course of that first year, I was saying, ‘There has got to be a better way.'”

Jeff Swartzentruber Photo

“Payroll cuts off on the 15th, we start keying on the 16th. It probably took us three, three and a half days to get through all of the data. I just said, ‘There’s got to be a better way.’”

Jeff Swartzentruber
– School Business Official

Time and Attendance + Absence Management

In 2015, Jeff and his team at Mid-Prairie decided to look for an alternative time-keeping solution. Carmela already used Frontline’s Absence Management to handle teacher absences, so they decided to add Time and Attendance to track employee time worked. “When we went to Time and Attendance and Absence Management, once we put those together, that stuff dovetails,” says Jeff. “When I look at my summary time sheet doing payroll, if somebody had an absence, they’re not going to show short for the week unless it was an unpaid absence.”

Using the same system for absences and time just makes sense, Jeff says — and the partnership with Carmela on the HR side of the house is vital in this. “I have confidence in the data because of our work together,” Jeff explains. “The fact that those systems talk to each other gives us confidence that there’s a seamless movement of data across the platform and confidence in that data, because we know how it dovetails together.”

Faster Payroll

Principals verify the time of employees in their buildings, which helps ensure that timesheets are accurate. “To know that they are looking at time sheets and are concerned about people that are missing time has helped, too, because they are the ones in the buildings.”

With Time and Attendance, running payroll takes less than half the time it used to. “We immediately saw the benefits of being able to run a report and then just go through and verify. I went from, three, three and a half days of keying and agonizing about errors. Now it takes me about a day and a half,” Jeff says. “Plus, it’s a download out of Frontline and an upload into [payroll system] Software Unlimited.”

Mid Prairie CS Graphic

More Accurate Payroll

Jeff is no longer concerned about typos and data entry errors. Because leave and time worked match in the systems, he knows that employee pay is correct. “They’re either going to be short or they’re going to be over, and they’re going to get paid for the overs. They’re going to be deducted for the shorts in that pay period. And I do that with confidence.”

“Immediately our error rates went down. Our time to get everything together went down.”

Jeff Swartzentruber
– School Business Official

A Proven Track Record

Mid-Prairie has now been using Time and Attendance alongside Absence Management for long enough to know that it works. “It’s going on the ninth year of us using this, and it basically runs on autopilot. You have to know the process, but I just smile. The amount of times that we’ve had to call for support I can probably count on two hands in eight or nine years. And those times when we have called, it’s worked out really well.”

Spreading the Word

Jeff enjoys helping other school districts find ways to simplify their work as well, especially others who use the same payroll system. “When I’m talking to another district that has Software Unlimited, they say, ‘Oh, what are you using?’ And I say, ‘We use Frontline.’ And I go through what I just did with you. You just see light bulbs going off and it’s connecting. And that’s the fun part of it.”

Jeff said the positive experience with Frontline is leading Mid-Prairie to look at other areas in which they can improve their processes. “I’m very much aware that there are a lot more Frontline products than what we’re using, and we’ve talked about trying to implement some of those.” They’re hoping to expand their partnership with Frontline by adding Frontline Recruiting & Hiring in the future.

“We couldn’t be happier with how it’s worked and how seamless it is. And the motto ‘Don’t fix something that ain’t broke’? That’s us.”