IRIS’ software solutions drive efficiencies for YMCA England

As a market leader in the provision of intuitive business software, IRIS was keen to help YMCA England achieve the efficiencies they sought from payroll and HR technology.  

Here, the youth charity’s journey is explained…

Client background

Part of the largest and oldest youth charity in the world, YMCA England supports 114 YMCAs throughout the country, as they strive to transform communities and build better futures for young people. It is therefore imperative that the charity’s employees and volunteers are well looked after, whilst keeping a close eye on costs.

The payroll landscape

With a naturally high turnover of casual workers, the organisation has approximately 400 employees on the payroll at any one time, but can typically process 1,000 staff over the course of the year. 

The payroll team could therefore have its work cut out to ensure all are accurately remunerated, on time, every time. However, having utilised IRIS’ Earnie range of payroll products since 1999, this long-standing client has found a software solution that fulfils the charity’s requirements entirely. The level of service delivered by IRIS’ support team has also given YMCA England peace of mind that the business, and its workforce, is in safe hands.

Looking to the future – driving efficiencies, tackling auto enrolment and developing a transformational approach to HR

Committed to continuous improvement and facing the advent of auto enrolment, YMCA England began considering an upgrade to IRIS’ flagship payroll software product – Earnie IQ.

The potential administrative burden that could be caused by the complex pensions reform had been well documented in industry journals, and was something YMCA England was keen to avoid.

In light of this, it also seemed pertinent to revolutionise the organisation’s approach to HR. A somewhat restrictive paper-based HR system had been used until that point, which presented YMCA England with limited functionality.  Plus, in the absence of online technology and self-service, seemingly simple tasks were often very time-consuming to complete. It appeared that further efficiency improvements could be achieved if this was addressed, and the charity’s 1,000 volunteers would undoubtedly become easier to manage too.

Introducing Cascade HR

Having thoroughly researched the crowded software marketplace, YMCA England chose to invest in a HR system from Cascade – IRIS’ HR technology division:

· It seemed Cascade’s self-service functionality would significantly reduce the manual data entry that the HR team would need to carry out, streamlining the level of HR administration and empowering managers to better tackle things like holidays and employee absences

· Cascade’s workflow functionality could be utilised to establish best practice procedures, with the right people being prompted to undertake the right tasks at the right time

· Cascade and Earnie can also ‘talk’ intelligently to one another, enabling the necessary level of data to be shared between HR and payroll, in only a few clicks, saving more time

· In terms of auto enrolment, YMCA England saw that they would be well equipped to continuously monitor employee eligibility, make the necessary pensions payments when timely, and maintain constant compliance.

The project

An upgrade to IRIS’ Earnie IQ payroll product, and the implementation of Cascade’s HR technology with workflow, self-service and auto enrolment functionality, was therefore agreed. The project was carefully scheduled to ensure a seamless transition, and YMCA England was in fact up and running with its new integrated solution, ahead of the agreed go live date.

Determined to configure the software to suit the client’s individual requirements, one of Earnie’s specialist payroll consultants even helped build a timesheet template that all of YMCA England’s charity shops now use to record overtime. This means additional payroll-related information can be uploaded into Earnie, in bulk – another hassle-free process that saves time and improves accuracy. Individual employee costs can even be split across more than one cost centre, if staff spend time working in different shops.

And now..?

Employee information, largely captured via self-service, is exported from Cascade to Earnie every month. The payroll team receives all relevant details, such as new starters, leavers and weekly hours worked for example, meaning the data entry is not duplicated. This reduces the likelihood of error – enabling staff to be accurately remunerated – and has improved time savings within the payroll team by 50% or 1FTE.

The charity’s new technology also ensures employees are constantly assessed for auto enrolment eligibility, and a best practice process is kick-started, should they become eligible, to ensure legislative compliance.

Because the system is cloud-based, YMCA England’s employees can securely access the software, wherever they may be. This recently proved very helpful when the team couldn’t gain entry to the main office building – they could quickly obtain emergency contact details from the technology, using their smart phones.

Whilst the charity is a long-standing Earnie client, the team’s experience of Cascade is comparatively minimal. However, having quickly realised the power of the software, the HR team is already introducing new processes throughout the business, and reaping the resulting benefits.  The Earnie IQ and Cascade solution has also been recommended to other YMCA groups, indicating the organisation’s trust in the new technology.

Here are some closing thoughts from key team members:

 “I can easily upload the Cascade export file each month, and it contains all the basic data for staff, along with salary, weekly hours and bank details. As we have lots of new starters through the year, this saves me a significant amount of time and I don’t have to worry about errors when keying in the information.

“Ultimately, with Earnie and Cascade, everything works. With auto enrolment, for example, the software automatically assesses and re-assess the eligibility of employees so I know who needs to be automatically enrolled. I don’t have to worry about changing legislation because I know we’ll be covered.”

 Carol Tyson, Payroll Manager

 “Being FD of a charity such as YMCA means I need to keep a close eye on all our staff costs. Employees can work for more than one shop so the way that Earnie can split their costs over more than one cost centre is great.  The information can be imported directly into our accounting package, so this is another big time saver for us, and we know the data will be accurate.

“I feel that the information we can get from our payroll and HR systems has really moved up to a new level since using Earnie IQ with Cascade HR. I can now get a much clearer picture of what is happening throughout the business.

Richard Lock, Finance Director

“We were all too aware of the administrative complexities that the advent of auto enrolment could bring. We therefore sought a software solution that would enable us to comprehensively address this pensions reform, whist ensuring complete compliance.

“With Cascade however, we have now found ourselves in the position where we can drive so many improvements. I’m creating a number of proactive workflow processes, for example, that will ensure the right people have the right involvement in different HR-related tasks, and they are prompted to take necessary action when most timely. We’ve seen a lot of potential with this very user friendly solution and already it’s clear that it will become a valuable ‘member’ of the team.”

Christopher Burges, HR Manager

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