As the publisher of some of the leading ERP and HRMS software on the market today, Sage Software has always developed and enhanced products per customer demand. From the HRMS perspective, they realized some time ago that a new offering of Abra Suite was needed to stay current with technology and competitive in the marketplace.
A little over five years ago, Sage introduced a SQL version to the HRMS family of products. Although it met the needs of some clients, there were some pretty extensive gaps in functionality between Sage Abra Suite and Sage HRMS. Each new release addressed some of these issues, and over the years, specifically with the latest Sage HRMS 2012 product, the vast majority of these gaps have been closed. CS3 Technology is confident that switching to Sage HRMS is the right decision for forward thinking organizations of all sizes.
While dealing with clients, CS3’s consultants are getting asked more and more “Should I look at Sage HRMS”? In most cases, the answer is YES. From the Human Resources perspective, very little will change. The HR module is 95-98% the same in both products, so no additional training will be needed; however the Payroll module is completely different. We recommend a complete evaluation of the Sage HRMS product in order to make an informed decision about making a change.
Here are 11 of the top reasons to make the move:
Note: Sage HRMS (SQL) will be referred to as ‘Sage HRMS’ and Abra Suite (FoxPro) will be referred to as ‘Abra Suite’.
• No Trial/Final Payroll
With Abra Suite, there is a Trial Payroll process to calculate the checks. This can be run as many times as needed. Once you are happy with the checks, you then run a Final Payroll. After Final Payroll, checks and direct deposit advices are printed.
In Sage HRMS there is a Calculate Payroll process to calculate the checks that can be run as many times as you need. Once you are happy with how the checks look, you are ready to Print/Post Checks and Direct Deposit Advices.
• ACH/EFT file for one check
In Abra Suite when you run a ‘manual’ or ‘On-Demand Check’, you do not have the ability to create an ACH or Direct Deposit file for just that one check. It is possible to run a full payroll, but that can be challenging to eliminate everyone else and only process one person in a full payroll.
In Sage HRMS, you can run the Calculate Payroll process on one employee or selection of employees. This will take you through the whole payroll process, including the ability to create and EFT/ACH file for the payroll.
• Future dated timecards
In Abra Suite, once the payroll is complete any Time Sheets are cleared out.
In Sage HRMS, you can enter Time Cards for any Pay Period Date. For example, if you have a sign on bonus after an employee completes one year of service, you could go ahead and create the Time Card during the hire process and date it in the future and it will be there when it comes time to pay the employee. If the employee terminates before that date the Time Card will remain, but the system will not pay terminated employees.
• Direct deposit option of percentage in addition to a flat amount
In Abra Suite, direct deposits can be for a flat amount only.
In Sage HRMS, direct deposits can be for a flat amount, a percentage of net pay, or a percentage of gross pay.
• Direct deposit for a period of time
In Abra Suite, direct deposits entered in with a ‘Deposit’ type are active to process.
In Sage HRMS, direct deposits can be made active for a date range.
• No Optimize and Reform
In Abra Suite, you should run the Optimize Database and Reform Indexes process at least every payroll. These are FoxPro functions you must run to keep the database ‘healthy’.
In Sage HRMS, there is not a similar process. SQL keeps its databases ‘healthy’ in other ways behind the scenes.
In Abra Suite, you should run the backup before certain payroll processes and before Mass Updates and other types of processes are completed.
In Sage HRMS, there is no similar process. SQL can be setup to make transaction backups that can be scheduled by the database administrator.
In Abra Suite, if there are any balancing problems it can involve up to 9 files that might need to be fixed. Most clients need help fixing the tables.
In Sage HRMS if you have balancing issues, there are very few tables that will need to be fixed. You can fix just about anything using a process called ‘Transaction History’ where you can enter adjustments and fixes.
• No Trial/Final Quarter Close
In Abra Suite, there is a Trial Quarter Close process to calculate the quarter end files. You can run the Trial Quarter End as many times as you need. Once you are happy with the quarter numbers you then run a Final Quarter Close. Final Quarter End must be done before you can print W2s or 941s.
In Sage HRMS, at quarter end you only run the reports you need for the quarter.
• Pre-notes for Direct Deposits
In Abra Suite, you indicate on the employee’s Direct Deposit screen if the account should be pre-noted. The pre-note will be included in your next ACH file as long as the Pre-Note indicator is on for that account. Once the pre-note is approved by the bank or before the next payroll, you need to change the pre-note flag to ‘Deposit’ to turn on ACH for that account.
In Sage HRMS, you enter the account information on the employee’s EFT screen along with the date range the account is valid. At any time (not just during payroll), you can create a Pre-Note file from the EFT screen for everyone or for a select group of employees.
• Open Payroll
In Abra Suite, when it is time to start a payroll you should make sure everyone is out of Abra Suite to get a good backup, run Optimize and Reform before you start.
In Sage HRMS when it is time to start payroll, you run the Open Payroll process. This will produce a report of all pay and benefit changes that affect payroll for your review.
Top Concerns with Sage HRMS
So you may think “All of that sounds great, but what are the top concerns about moving to Sage HRMS (SQL) at this time?”
• If you have had custom programming done, you will want to determine if it is tied to HR or Payroll tables. If HR, it might be possible to point the custom program to the SQL HR tables. If it is Payroll, it will need to be rewritten and possibly with a different tool depending on what was used before. In some instances, the functionality in Sage HRMS might eliminate the need for a customization altogether.
• If you have 3rd party tools, you will want to be sure there is an equivalent tool for Sage HRMS if still needed. Change can be difficult for some companies. Some common feedback we hear from clients that have already made the transition to Sage HRMS is:
• In Sage HRMS, the ‘look’ of the Payroll reports are quite different and some have said they are not as ‘pretty’ as the Abra Suite version.
• In Sage Employee Self Service (ESS) you no longer have access to W2s and W4s. If you desire to have W2s available online there is an annual subscription cost to make them available to your employees online.
• In Sage HRMS, you no longer have to create files for W2’s to Social Security as well as unemployment returns. Instead you will use an annual subscription service, Sage Payroll Tax Forms and eFiling by Aatrix. The good news is it is easy to use and saves you time by eliminating the need to create reports manually. Reports are automatically completed, reviewed, and edited on screen, then e-Filed in minutes for processing. This service insures 100% compliance by providing a guaranteed delivery method and eliminates many filing expenses associated with printing and mailing activities. You can rest assured knowing your files are protected using multiple levels of security.
• W2 processing for very large clients can be a slower process than in Sage Abra Suite. There is, however, a very nice screen that allows you to make necessary Moving from Abra Suite to Sage HRMS changes to the W2s in an Excel like grid that make changes much easier to complete.
• If you add a new Organization Level that is a component of the GL, there are up to seven places you need to go to set up that new level, In Abra Suite, it is changed in one place.
• For a manual or On Demand Check in Sage HRMS, you must run through a full payroll cycle rather than the one step in Abra Suite. As noted above, you can create an EFT/ACH file for a single check in Sage HRMS to expedite this process.
• The Gross Up calculator function is not available in the Sage HRMS Payroll module however; there are many FREE online tools to assist with these calculations.
Feedback from Sage HRMS Clients that have Moved From Sage Abra
January 1, 2019 Addendum
- They don’t like the payroll reports – they are not as easy to read and are longer.
- Processes are more complicated in HRMS, things were much simpler in Abra. (ex payroll)
- Time entry – can’t sort and go through the cards like you could in Abra and can’t see time off balances on time card.
- HR & PR are separate databases and you have to map the benefits to deductions and run a process each payroll to update the payroll deductions. It also updates pay-rates as well.
- GL is much more complicated in HRMS than in Abra.
- Have to use Aatrix for quarter/year end government files and there is a fee.
- Adding a new department/division/location (segment of GL) is at least a 5 step process in HRMS where in Abra you just added the new code with the GL
- Although the FoxPro database is gone, there is still FoxPro coding embedded in the product.