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Upgrade to iChris 8.16 – Our top ten changes

8.16 top ten changes

It is that time of year again where a new version has been released and you may be wondering: what is in it for me? We know there are over 200 pages of release notes for organisations to read and it can be hard to have the time.

To make things easier, below we have highlighted what we see as the top ten enhancements and changes that you may want to look out for and what they may mean to you. Overall; we believe there are more beneficial enhancements to this version that last year. As such, we recommend that all organisations upgrade their TEST system and expand their testing to see the impact of some of these new changes as early as possible.

Some of the changes to the system are system-wide and will alter the direction of system use for a long time.

1. XML Template changes – Note that all Templates have been updated.

Make sure that your IT department copy down the new templates into the folder in your system that links your desktop to them. Often this is a step that IT will miss in the upgrade process. If they have not done this, you can go onto the upgrade Media (CD) and download them yourself or download them from the Vendor Client area on their website.

If you have customised any templates, you will need to complete extra steps. If you want help with this, refer to the release notes or give us a call to assist.

2. Single Touch Payroll

To enable you to process single touch payroll, you will need to give yourself access to the forms STO (Single Touch Output), STN (Single Touch Submission that records the history) and DEC Declaration.

This will require access via the Menu setup that relevant users/profiles are linked to. It also requires access via Privileges in ATT.

Creating the file from the system requires you to run STO which reports from the values you have in YTD from your payruns.

3. The introduction of CFT Feature 210 – Validate Future Leave taken

This is a feature that the majority of organisations will like. Many organisations have mentioned this idea over the years and it should be something that everyone can use.

When activated; if an employee has previously had leave approved for a future start date (the same type as they are applying for now) the system will notify the employee at the time of the request for leave (or the person entering the LVE Leave Taken record) if they will no longer have enough leave balance at the start of the future leave that is already approved.

We see this as a clever idea and way of dealing with Future leave taken.

Our caution is that this will impact the application for leave and employees may not understand what the message indicates. It may be worthwhile educating some managers and staff of this impact on HR21. It is also possible that this may impact the time it takes for process FEU if you import timesheets from an external Time and Attendance system.

4. Leave balances of Direct reports

In the new version, Managers will be able to see multiple employee balances instead of just seeing individual balances. This is an efficient way to manage leave for employees via HR21. This should compliment reporting of balances.

5. Data Dictionary Changes – This means DMA

This changes the setup for all client systems.

The impact of this change will be to enable the Vendor programming team to introduce more options into field dynamics for multi-country databases in future without having to create individual forms for each country.

By reducing the number of records in DMA, we believe this could make multi-country systems faster.

We believe it is very important that clients with multi-country databases, test the way each of their screens work for each country to ensure the system has interpreted your setup correctly prior to upgrading a LIVE/PROD system.

For those that have multi-country databases with customized fields and forms; these should be checked thoroughly too.

If you have reports over DMA that use the country or product type, they will need to be changed. DDI will inform you of these.

6. Restrict Code Entry – New Form; Extended Code Information

There is a new screen that allows you to flag some Codes as being restricted for entry into the system.

We recommend that organisations tread carefully with this new feature. While there is potential for benefits by restricting some Payroll codes from being entered by certain staff, we also see a danger in setting up an extra area of complication to your system. It will mean that there is another area that your system administrator will need to keep current over time and could cause some confusion for users.

If you must use this because of an existing need, do it. We don’t promote the idea of you seeking out a reason to use this just because you can.

7. Deductions based on Hours worked

There is a new form called DRT Deductions Rate Table. This enhances your ability to pro-rata deductions for variable hours employees. Councils and other organisations that have people working/paid variable hours (often Wages employees) will be able to deduct amounts for Union payments and other items that increase or decrease based on the hours the person is paid in a period.

8. The GAS Accounts Summary and GAR Allowance Summary reports – now allow a range of payruns

This is good news for users of these reports. Previously there was a limit on the number of payruns you could group together. Now you can put a start and end number range to be included on the report.

If you have not used these reports before, they do require some setup. However, they can produce reports in a format, and with added detail that is not available via report designer. Let us know if you would like some help with these.

9. Pay Table Files – now Physical Files

This change will affect SQL/Oracle users and any customized fields/forms that use the PYTAB.

The PYTAB data has now been moved to the relevant file/tables including:
PTALW, PTDED, PTSUP, PTLFC and PTLTR

If you use SQL reports that refer to the old table names, you will need to update your query.

This should be a benefit over time as you will be able to locate data in these tables in a way that is more specific to the forms that the records display on.

10. Casual Staff can now be included in the Payroll Tax report even when you don’t use the code “C”

Previously, if you used the POS status code “CA” or something other that “C” for casual staff, they would not be defined in the PTX Payroll Tax report.

Now you can use the TAB Table PTXCS to list any codes you use for casual status on POS.
This will make your life easier to calculate Payroll Tax using the PTX report.

These are not all the enhancements; however they are some of the ones will believe will be used the most by our clients and are areas that we recommend you consider.

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