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Accounting Best Practices, Fifth Edition by Steven M. Bragg Englewood, Colorado

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17–24. Link the Payroll and Human Resources Databases

The payroll database shares many data elements with the human resources database. Unfortunately, these two databases are usually maintained by different departments—accounting for the first and human resources for the second. Consequently, any employee who makes a change to one database, such as an address field in the payroll system, must then contact the human resources department to have the same information entered again for other purposes, such as benefits administration or a pension plan. Thus, there is an obvious inefficiency for the employee who must go to two departments for changes, while the accounting and human resources staffs also duplicate each other’s data-entry efforts.

The obvious best practice here is to tie the two databases together. This can be done by purchasing a software package that automatically consolidates the two databases into a single one, but the considerable cost of buying and implementing an entirely new software package will grossly exceed the cost savings obtained by consolidating the data. A less costly approach is to create an interface between the two systems that automatically stores changes made to each database and updates the other one as a daily batch program. Creating this interface can still be expensive, since it involves a reasonable amount of customized programming work. Consequently, consolidating the payroll and human resources databases is an expensive proposition and is usually ...

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