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Novopay - my thoughts as to why this has been a debacle

, posted: 23-Jan-2013 11:15

Disclaimer: I now work for a high school, but am not involved with payroll.  My thoughts are my own and are based on 20 years of experience as a systems Engineer for various IT companies.

From what I’ve been able to glean from the different payroll people I interact with, the way payroll staff interact with Novopay is to grab a PDF off their site, fill it in (either in Adobe Reader or suchlike) or print it out & fill it in, then scan it and send it back to Novopay for processing.

This is where the human processing errors are introduced - I believe that Novopay is getting their data entry processed in countries where the daily wage is low and English is not their first language. Peanuts = monkeys kind of thing.

Xero has been able to develop a fully functional world leading Web based accounting system - you would think that in this day and age a first world designed Payroll program could be easily web based so that the only time the data is entered into it is by the people whom it originates from.

From then on it would be totally programmatic business process rules that manipulate the data without human’s to screw it up.

Just my $.02 worth.

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Comment by networkn, on 23-Jan-2013 12:15

Not to dispute your findings, or your credibility, but are you certain ALL data entry is manual? That seems incredible to me, who approved such a system?

Author's note by nzsouthernman, on 23-Jan-2013 13:20

I checked with my wife this morning (who up until Christmas did payroll for a local primary school as one of her myriad of tasks) and she used to download the forms from their website, fill them in and email them back. Nowhere did she have a place to enter the payroll information directly into their system. I couldn't believe it either.

Comment by spearsniper, on 23-Jan-2013 13:25

I was on the understanding that the data processing was in NZ for this. Perhaps if everything was entered online, and not downloaded, printed, and faxed, then the errors could not be attributed to anyone other than those entering the data (at which point it would not be newsworthy).
Would be interesting to know if downloading the form is the only option, or whether online entry is available?


Comment by cyril7, on 23-Jan-2013 13:47

You've got to be kidding me, I always thought ozzies were a bit more clever than that, clearly not in this case, ffs

Author's note by nzsouthernman, on 24-Jan-2013 16:06

I've done a bit more digging - apparently if a payroll person is paying a reliever this data is entered into an online form and submitted electronically.

Everything else (changes to someone's pay, timesheeted data for caretakers or admin staff / waged staff etc) is submitted via emailled/scanned forms that are filled in offline.

Comment by Binty, on 24-Jan-2013 19:57

The payroll office is located in Wellington. And the issues aren't down to human processing errors. The same staff worked there before the pay system switched to Novopay and their were no such issues. 
The problem lies with the pay system and the way it was implemented. It's unfortunate people can't see how hard some of the payroll staff have been working to try and make sure people get paid. At one stage some were working from 7am to midnight. Only stopping so they could catch the last train home.

Comment by old3eyes, on 28-Jan-2013 10:11

My sister-in-law is a school principle  and their school used some sort of online system before Novapay.  They have had very little problems with Novapay and she thinks a lot of the problem is "garbage in , garbage out" at the input stage.

Comment by wasabi2k, on 30-Jan-2013 12:57

Another opinion from totally outside with no info on the system, but the reports really do sound like data quality issues.

Side by Side testing was apparently done with good results (controlled data sets).

Issues with certain people being paid too much and other too little scream of transposed figures of data entry errors.

As far as online vs printed - more than likely a relic of historic bureacratic requirements. if you are changing someone's pay rate you need a signed copy of that request.

End of the day I highly doubt that the system itself if faulty and miscalculating figures.

I agree that it sucks that the people that are working hard (and there will be a ton of them killing themselves to do so) get crapped on from people with no idea.

Comment by caritasoceania, on 6-Feb-2013 18:24

It seems that you are right and it is indeed incredible that the government chose such an archaic system from the Australians to use when the brilliance and simplicity of systems like XERO are available and initiated within Aotearoa.

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