by Wendy Scheuring, Contributing Writer
Employee self-service provides benefits both ways: employees feel empowered by managing their own information (e.g., obtaining their paystubs and W2s on demand, managing their direct deposits); and the organization saves itself time and labor in HR management, all while ensuring more accurate information. Who better than employees to supply and manage their own personal details?
Microsoft added more than 250 new self-service features to Microsoft Dynamics GP between the 2013 release and GP 2015 R2, and Microsoft senior program manager Jodi Christiansen provided MSDynamicsWorld.com readers with an overview of GP’s self-service features in a recent webcast (click here for the recorded webcast), demonstrating a number of transactions typical for employees and managers.
Ms. Christiansen summarized the evolution of GP identifying key features by release (see graphic).
One of the newest features included in Dynamics GP 2015 is the Project Employee Expenses. This is what users may have managed in the Project Accounting Module (Personal Data Keeper [PDK] and/or Business Portal), but now manage from inside Dynamics GP.
“If any of you are on Business Portal, or were on Business Portal,” Ms. Christiansen stated, “most of that functionality from Business Portal was moved into the Employee Self-Service area by 2015. Business Portal is no longer offered on GP 2015, so if that’s something you are on, you will have to go over to the self-service areas that are inside of Dynamics GP .”
Key functionality that has been enhanced and moved into GP includes:
- Requisition: Requisitions can be made for different items or goods that may or may not be tracked in inventory. During the Workflow approval process, a requisition can be turned into a purchase order.
- Employee Time Management: Employees can submit timecards to approvers, and managers can enter time “on behalf of” an employee.
- Project Time: Timesheets can be entered against the project as part of the employee Self-Service.
Easier access allows employees to:
- Update personal information such as emergency contact or address. (Christiansen noted that Workflow approval process is required for updates; however, this can be set up where the employee can be the approver for certain changes.)
- Update direct deposit information from the Direct Deposits tab.
- Update W4 information (such as deductions and withholdings) and provide electronic signature. (Christiansen noted that records of W4 changes are retained as Workflow history.)
- View and print paycheck stubs, rather than having to contact an organization’s Payroll department.
- View and print W-2 information.
- View, but not change, benefits information.
- View Skills & Training profile and make some changes to education and tests, etc.
- Complete and submit timecards
Managers have a team profile in which they can see their entire team in a single screen. The new navigation list for managers enables them to perform different types of approvals assigned to them, and has “less clutter, less things they have to go through and view,” according to Christiansen. She added they have just one list where they’re able to approve whatever has been assigned to them.
Roles determine self-service capabilities
Setting up self service user licenses in Dynamics GP is now easier with the 2015 R2 release. Because of the new Self-Service user type default roles, the GP administrator assigns the role(s) to each user, and that role brings filtering and security for what that user sees or can do in GP.
The new Time Management app designed for most hand-held devices or smart phones enables salaried employees the ability to enter time off (e.g. sick time, vacation) from wherever they are; it is not currently designed to account for hourly work.
Christiansen noted that, new with Dynamics GP, email has been integrated with Workflow through Active Directory, which works in conjunction with all of the GP self service features. When an approver (i.e. manager) receives an email notification of an approval required, the manager can take action (i.e. APPROVE, REJECT, DELEGATE) from the email. Default information in email notifications can be modified to better capture the organization’s communication needs.
Christiansen demonstrated GP self service capabilities from the Dynamics web client, which she said is identical to the desktop client, demonstrating look and feel, navigation panes, and functionality for GP users and managers.
One of the key navigation panes for the GP Self-Service role users is the “I have to” list – a list of employee-role functions linked to specific pages such as “Update W-4” or “Change Personal Information”. This creates simplified instant access to specific employee actions.
Christiansen showed how when a user hits SUBMIT, the workflow emails the item to the approver. However, if the employee realizes that the submission needs to be modified, he or she has the option any time before approval to RECALL the submission, modify it, and SUBMIT it again.
During the Q&A at the end of the webinar, Christiansen responded to a question as to the necessity of using employee IDs to assign user roles. She noted that employees are set up in GP, and users are set up on an employee card (which is new), and that is where the GP user IDs are assigned. She pointed out that the employee card is what makes everything work together in Dynamics GP.