Blog Post

Integrate Everything!

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Guest Author Steven Feinberg, President and CPA of AppleTree Business Services.

Your payroll service bureau may offer the newest, flashiest software platform with bells and whistles aplenty. But if it doesn’t seamlessly integrate with the plethora of third-party payroll and human capital management systems already flooding the market, you’ve got a rough road ahead.

In a recent survey by TechTrends, half of all respondents stated ranked solution complexity and integrations as chief concerns for their companies. Nearly all – 91 percent – reported that software integration is critical to simplify IT. That’s why this year, upward of 90 percent of new large systems will have budgets that include 50 percent spending on integration.

Because new and prospective clients may be using any of a seemingly endless number of third-party payroll- and human capital management-related systems, your platform should seamlessly integrate with as many of them as possible. Here’s why:

  1. Integration saves time, reduces errors and boosts your business prospects: When prospective payroll and HCM clients see that your platform can send their customers’ electronic tax filings directly to the state or fire off all direct deposit transactions with a single click, you’re undoubtedly ahead of your less-connected competition. Integrated connections save end users time and significantly reduce errors. This helps to expand ability to scale, reduce labor and open new revenue opportunities for both your firm and your clients.
  2. Integration helps you better understand your clients: As computer software systems interact with one another with increasing complexity, not only are they sending and processing messages, data and requests, they’re also saving all of that valuable information. The result is a treasure trove of data that can help your firm better understand your customers’ purchasing patterns, employee interactions, etc. One only needs to look at the retail industry to see just how this type of data mining can prove profitable. Top retailers increasingly use smartphone WiFi connections to track a particular customer’s movements throughout a store, or even facial recognition software to determine a shopper’s mood at a checkout counter. Data collected is then used to send tailored marketing messages or offers via text, email or social media and other online ads, often before they’ve exited the store. Similarly, you can use data mined from integrated software to proactively meet your payroll or HCM clients’ ever-changing needs, perhaps even before they realize those needs.
  3. Integration is more affordable than you think: Not long ago, sophisticated IT systems capable of integrating with software used by vendors, partners and government agencies were the domain of only deep-pocketed Fortune 500-type companies that boasted or engaged large accounting and audit teams. Those days are over. Today’s IT landscape is completely different thanks to the internet, easily accessible APIs (application programming interfaces, sets of subroutine definitions, protocols and tools for building application software) and common architecture. This enables even small firms to possess powerful integrations.

To help ensure that your firm chooses the right payroll software platform, ask your provider about their API library. Specifically, find out with whom their platforms are pre-build integrated; ask which APIs are available for easy self-integration; and request a demonstration of their systems’ data export and import capabilities and ease of use.

Your top priority is the ability to integrate as much as possible, making your payroll platform feel as if it’s a natural part of a much larger system – no matter which system on the market that may be.

This blog post is authored by Steven Feinberg, President and CPA of AppleTree Business Services in Londonberry, New Hampshire. Steven can be reached at 603-434-APPLE (2775) or steve@appletreebusiness.com.