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University of Alaska Automates Employee Interface to Payroll Saving more than nine tons of paper per year


More than 4,000 University of Alaska employees have transitioned to a
new web-based time entry system that is faster, safer and easier to
manage than paper time sheets. The new online interface allows
employees and their supervisors to access the system from almost
anywhere with a secure Internet connection. The change is expected to
save more than nine tons of paper annually, as well as eliminating
printing costs and the need to physically store paper.

“The new system is faster, more flexible and reduces the risk of
making a mistake,” said Heather Arana, a Human Resources Systems
Specialist. “Employee’s hours worked or vacation hours used can be
easily reviewed online at any time. The reduced paper handling has
been beneficial for every department. ”

The online time entry interface was specifically designed and tested
to be easy to use and intuitive. Programming behind the scenes
provides safeguards for accuracy and consistency, reducing the
potential for errors significantly. All of the information moves
automatically into the payroll processing system.

“The university employee base is unique. We have faculty, staff and
students. One person may go to the same office everyday while another
is doing research on a boat in the Arctic Ocean. We needed a way for
everyone to provide pay information easily from a diversity of
locations,” said Donald Smith, Interim Chief Human Resources Officer.
“The complexity of the university meant either buying a million dollar
solution or rolling up our sleeves and doing it ourselves. We are
building this system in-house and the results so far have been

Job changes are quickly reflected in the system, allowing an employee
to charge time to the right account immediately. In the past, the
Budget Office would spend hours manually adjusting payroll to reflect
funding changes, job transitions or new grant funding. The time spent
making adjustments manually has been reduced by more than half.

The team is well into its work on phase two of this project, which is
to build a similar interface and process for salaried employees. They
are expanding on the lessons learned from phase one and working to
create a product that is easy to use and meets the regulatory needs of
each group of exempt employees. Completion for this second phase of
the project will be in March 2013.
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