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  • rhymanson

Payroll Time Imports - your alternatives

Updated: Jun 30, 2023

payroll time import

Let's face it, though many independent payroll/hcm vendors offer time and labor solutions, they aren't always a fit for every client.

Your solution may have shortcomings.

Or perhaps your client is in a industry like healthcare and there's a niche product which suits their needs best (for example, ClearCare).

Or maybe your client is a restaurant or retail establishment and their main point of sale system includes a time and labor solution already (Toast, Aloha, etc...).

Back when I first entered into the payroll industry (20 years ago), a wise old payroll wizard told me that once you put a solution in the hands of an employee, it's extremely difficult for a company to change providers. Why? Because you're now impacting everyone in the company versus just those responsible for payroll processing. As a result, forcing a client to change TLM solutions won't likely occur unless there's a clear cut reason why they should.

So where does that leave you as their independent payroll/hcm vendor? You have to process their payroll and need their time and labor data.

It leads you to having to get time and labor data from a third-party platform back into payroll for processing. To date, many have accomplished this by either:

  1. A payroll processor hand-keying data into payroll from a report generated out of the third-party time system. This sometimes can take up to a day to complete and can lead to a number of errors (one extra 0 could give an employee 400 hours versus 40 in the week).

  2. A time export file is generated out of the third-party system and either a) reformatted by some excel wiz using a macro into a suitable import format for payroll b) manually reformatted into a suitable import format for payroll. Yuck - messy and time intensive. Oh and not to mention, what happens if the wiz on your team wants to take a vacation and this client needs to run payroll? Does that mean they can't vacation? Or they need to plan their vacation around your client's payroll calendar?

The good news is there is now a third option which relieves the manual time required and error prone nature of both options. Time conversion software can take the time exported out of the third-party time system and reformat it into a format suitable for payroll. The reformat typically takes seconds to minutes to complete.

In our experience there are two types of time conversion software on the market to enable payroll time imports:

  1. Requires a developer to code the conversion

  2. No-code solution allowing non-developers to build the conversion through an easy to use interface

Here's a quick summary of each solution in a few key areas:

Speed to build

Speed of conversion



Developer solution



One-time high cost

Slow as it requires the developer

No-code solution



Low on-going cost

Fast as you can do it

If you've read any of our posts before, you'll know that in the Cheap-Fast-Good framework we add a fourth element called Maintainable. Inevitably, something is going to change and need updating so we believe you need to worry about maintenance. It's why we've included that in the table above.

If you need any insight or details into the options above, reach out to our team and we'll be happy to help. Over the course of the last few months we've helped a number of our customers build and maintain time imports from many third party time systems utilized by small to mid-sized businesses.


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