• December 20, 2006
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Payroll Power to the People

In an effort to simplify the often arduous task of filing expenses and managing payroll, NetSuite today released Employee Resource Management (ERM). Now available in NetSuite and NetSuite Small Business, ERM is new functionality designed to automate and centralize employee management and self-service by leveraging the NetSuite Employee Center. ERM allows employees to enter expense reports and purchase requests, track time by project, and access HR-related documents. Built-in approval workflows can be customized to allow managers to approve subordinates' expenses and purchase requests while viewing the complete history for their entire team or department. In addition, HR can share documents with employees regarding benefits, job performance and reviews, company policies, new hire information, company holiday schedules, and other related information. While the capabilities are powered by ERM, they are accessed through the NetSuite Employee Center, the vendor's on-demand employee self-service portal available within NetSuite. While NetSuite ERM is currently available free of charge in NetSuite and NetSuite Small Business, companies need to purchase the NetSuite Employee Center, which is sold in five-user bundles starting at $49 per month. By giving employees controlled access to the central payroll system, HR departments don't have to enter the data twice, says Craig Sullivan, senior director of product management at NetSuite. "Instead of mailing a spreadsheet with printed receipts stapled to it, ERM allows a company's employee to enter that data directly into the system. You're leveraging that first data entry so the information doesn't have to be entered again." When used in conjunction with NetSuite's integrated payroll service, Sullivan says employees can also manage vacation time, taxes (W-4 forms), and view pay stub details. Managers can approve employee time and expenses, and the relevant data flows automatically to payroll, billing, and the general ledger for accounting. From a CRM standpoint, billing capabilities within ERM could allow users to track time and billing for an unlimited number of customers and projects, and assign billable time to individual jobs, departments, and classes automatically, capabilities that Sullivan says a service provider would find most useful. "CRM doesn't stop with closing a sale or making sure your customer is happy. Confirming and sending invoices, billing a client accurately, these are all the little logistical things that keep a customer happy," he says. Dennis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of Beagle Research Group, agrees and says NetSuite ERM is a perfect example of "NetSuite offering more functionality as part of their pre-integrated suite. This simplifies the process of integrating HR throughout the business and streamlines business processes." Related articles: NetSuite Flexes Its Muscle
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