Some accounting/ERP/payroll systems have their own field collection modules allowing for a very tight integration with just their software. Independent third-party mobile time tracking applications, like mJobTime, must be able to work with many, different systems.
The differences between these systems can be vast. They can use different back-end databases. Depending on a number of factors, the database used to store customer data may range anywhere from Microsoft Access to Oracle. And even if two systems use the same database, let’s take for example Microsoft SQL, the database infrastructure will, in all likelihood, be different. It is almost guaranteed that they will have dissimilar table names, fields, field types, field lengths, field descriptions, and more.
In those situations where two customers use the same accounting/ERP system, they still will probably track different information. Where one company may use job phases, another may not. One company may use union labor and require information like craft codes, locals, union ID’s, etc. Others may utilize non-union workforces. Some companies may utilize work orders. Others may not.
Flexibility is also needed where the time data has to be sent to multiple destinations. A good example of this is the company that uses an accounting software package to track job cost and other data, but uses a service to process their payroll. In these situations, the mobile time tracking application will have to interface with both the accounting system and the payroll service. As a minimum, it will need to import from the accounting system the customer data that is used to create time cards, i.e. employees, jobs, cost codes, pay codes, etc. When time records have been created, reviewed, edited, and approved, they will need to be exported to the payroll service – in the format required by that company. This brings us to still another flexibility issue – formatting. Almost all accounting packages and payroll services have an “Import” feature that allows them to import time records from an outside source. But they also require that the data to be imported be in a very specific format. They generally require a certain type of delimited file with specific fields, field types, field lengths, etc. in an exact order. The slightest variance from these requirements will cause the import to fail. Every one of the different accounting systems and payroll services has different import requirements.
It is the rare exception for two companies to have the same requirements for a construction time tracking system. mJobTime’s answer to this flexibility dilemma is a custom data mapping utility. With this tool, we are able to identify the data source we are working with and create a relationship between the customer’s applicable tables and fields and those of mJobTime. For importing customer data, mJobTime identifies the appropriate customer data, creates the relationship with mJobTime’s corresponding tables and fields, and stores that information in an “Import” template. For sending time records back to the accounting software or payroll service, mJobTime researches the requirements of the accounting system or payroll service, and creates an “Export” template with the necessary fields in the correct order.
Because no two businesses work exactly the same, integration with your accounting/ERP/payroll systems needs to be extremely flexible. If you’re looking at a mobile time tracking solution, be sure that it will work well with your current systems.
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