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One of the areas that I have gotten a lot of questions on, heard a lot of excitement on, and seen a good amount of confusion on is around Employee Central Payroll. This is certainly a hot topic with a lot of intrigue and mystery in the SAP HCM & SuccessFactors space. I have run across many SAP Payroll consultants who have previously resisted moving into and working with Employee Central but who are now at least getting interested in late 2015/ Early 2016 as Employee Central continues to grow. Here are some of the questions/comments that I have gotten that inspired me to write this blog post to clear some misconceptions and show the process of running payroll using Employee Central Payroll and how it really is an integrated experience..

  1. What do the screens and integration look like with Employee Central?

    1. Is it an SSO page in Employee Central that takes you into SAP so you can run your processes such as RPCALC* or is it truly integrated?

  2. Does Employee Central Payroll still use the same configuration as on premise Payroll using the IMG and a payroll schema?

  3. For US Payroll is there still a connection to BSI?

  4. Are the new Payroll Screens only for Employee Central customers or can existing customers live with SAP on premise Payroll also implement these screens?

  5. Can you show me the screens and process?

First and foremost, we do need to understand that Employee Central is the system of record and that the data will be maintained by Employee's, Manager's, and Administrator's in Employee Central. The data that is updated in Employee Central is then replicated over to the Employee Central Payroll system via point to point integration.

For the purposes of this blog post I am going to focus on the Payroll Manager, or the person processing the Payroll and not go into the Payroll Administrator role or the people correcting data issues.

Let's start by take a look at the screens of Employee Central and Employee Central Payroll to provide a little more transparency to begin answering the questions above.

To begin the process of running payroll, the person responsible for running payroll (Payroll Manager role) would log into their SuccessFactors Employee Central instance and based upon having the correct role based authorization they would have a tile for "Payroll Process" once they login to the home page. This tile tells you the number of current, upcoming, and completed payroll processes. It would look similar to Screenshot 1 below.

Screenshot 1 - Employee Central Home Page

Once you are ready to run payroll you would click the SuccessFactors drop down and then select Payroll as highlighted in Screenshot 2.

Screenshot 2 - Employee Central drop down showing Payroll button

Once you click the Payroll button that takes you to the "Payroll Control Center" or the "Payroll Cockpit" as shown in Screenshot 3. Depending upon your role you would now see the screens where you can run payroll (Payroll Manager role) entitled "Payroll Process" and where you can resolve issues associated with a payroll process (Payroll Admin role) entitled "Payroll Errors"/"Payroll Team Errors". In my example and screenshot both roles are assigned to my user although this may not necessarily be the case. Pay attention to the seamless integration with Employee Central and notice how we can easily jump right back into any of the other implemented modules in our SuccessFactors instance.

To clear up a common misconception, these screens are SAPUI5 programs that were delivered with HR Renewal 2.0. The screenshot below is a screen for the Payroll Manager or person running the payroll that was delivered in HR Renewal 2.0 Feature Pack 3 (hrpy_pcc_proc_2). The newer Feature pack 3 screens are the screens that I will show for the purposes of this blog post although I will point out that there was an earlier version of the screen to run payroll.

Starting with EA-HRRXX 608 SP012, the payroll control center introduces a new payroll experience for the payroll process manager. One cool piece of functionality that SAP delivered in Feature Pack 3 that I want to point out here is the following: "In order to correct the last payroll errors centrally, specific selected users are now able to change employee’s data, even if the control record has status “released for payroll” or “check results”". So if you pay attention to the steps in this post further below you will notice that there is no step to change the control record to a "released for correction" status to fix employee data due to the fact that we can correct the data without changing the control record as part of this change.

So to address one of the questions from earlier - you can use these same screens that I will discuss here for existing on-premise SAP Payroll if you implement the HR Renewal 2.0 functionality with the key difference being that you would access the Payroll Control Center from ESS via the HR Renewal Landing page or the Fiori Launchpad instead of via the seamless integration to SuccessFactors as I am showing and talking about in this post.

Screenshot 3 - Payroll Control Center Manager screen delivered in FP3

The 5 processes shown in Screenshot 3 are defined in configuration and they are available to run for the Payroll Manager as part of the Payroll run. Each of these Processes has multiple steps which are shown in the form of a circle containing the number of steps - for "Payroll Data Validation (Prepayroll)" you can see that it is a 2 step process and then on the far right you can see we are currently on Step 1 as shown in Screenshot 3. If you click into one of these processes the system will take you to the current step being processed as shown in Screenshot 4 when I click into the "Payroll Data Validation (Prepayroll)" Process.

Screenshot 4 - Payroll Control Center "Payroll Data Validation (Prepayroll) detailed screen

With the RDS solutions that SAP has provided, as well as the ability to decluster your payroll results, you can create your own policy checks/validation and look at results from a simulation which gives a tremendous amount of flexibility to analyze, correct, and adjust data before you ever run the live payroll which we can see an example of in screenshot 4 above. You can easily compare employee statistics, retro statistics, and gross amounts between periods as is shown. This is a game changer for Payroll and a huge time saver for Payroll departments as they should be able to resolve almost all payroll issues before the date arrives to run payroll and have far less surprises.

From Screenshot 4 you can click on the circle with the number of steps (2/2) in the process to see what the two steps consist of as shown in Screenshot 5. It is here where we can repeat a previous step as necessary. In this case the first step is to create the results and the second step is to take a look at the monitoring policies that we were looking at as shown in Screenshot 4. These steps are for the manager to gain an understanding of Payroll metrics and assign issues identified to the Administrators in the company to resolve (They could also resolve it themself) and then we can repeat the policy checks to verify the issues were indeed resolved.

Screenshot 5 - Payroll Control Center "Payroll Data Validation (Prepayroll) step overview screen

Okay great, so now we ran our pre-payroll policy validations, had the administrators fix the identified issues, and have metrics of what our payroll will look like once we run it. Here are some of the things that we should have an idea about going into the payroll run without even starting payroll.

  • A comparison of total gross in the period as well as a comparison with the previous period

  • The number of retro calculations that we are expecting in this run as well as the number from the previous period

  • The difference in active employees from this period compared to the previous period.

  • The total number of employees in this payroll run as well as the number from the previous period

  • The number of new employees in this payroll run

  • The number of employees with an organizational change

This is extremely helpful for Payroll departments to know this information before running payroll.


So what about the next step of actually running payroll? In order to do this, I would go back to the Payroll Control Center main page from Screenshot 3 above and this time select the "Payroll Production" process to begin the process of running a live payroll. In screenshot 6 below I have shown all of the steps that make up this process by click into the process and then clicking the circle that shows 6/7 as well as what has so far been completed and what is currently being processed in our system.

Screenshot 6 - Payroll Control Center Payroll Production process

This process will have all of the defined steps that we need to run each period as part of our production payroll run. These should sound pretty familiar to anyone who has worked with SAP on premise Payroll because we are indeed running the same programs in Employee Central Payroll. The first step "Start Production Payroll" is releasing the control record (PA03) into a released for Payroll status for us to be able to run Payroll. The second step "Run Payroll" is the step to run the familiar RPCALC* program we all know and love. To execute it we click on the step and then click the start button. If there was a previous run and there are employees that have been updated from the first run the system will prompt and ask if you want to only run those and you can make a selection as shown in Screenshot 7, otherwise we will run it for everyone.

Screenshot 7 - Start Run Payroll step within Payroll Production Process

Once you make your selection this will kick off the RPCALC* program in the background and update the status from "Open" to "In Progress" and then "Completed" when finished with the background job as shown in Screenshot 8.

Screenshot 8 - Complete Run Payroll step

To see more information you can click the "See details" button in Screenshot 8 which will take us to another screen showing some more information from the run where you can click further to see even more details as shown in Screenshot 9.

Screenshot 9 - Details of Run Payroll step

In Screenshot 9 we can see the familiar payroll output log showing us information about this run including the schema that was used, the selections made on the selection screen, employee statistics, and the BSI connection information such as TUB level (FYI the BSI level in the output of the US Payroll log was delivered via Note 2193769 in case anyone is curious on how this is shown in the schema log output). So to answer some of the questions from earlier, yes the configuration still needs to be done in SAP, yes there is still a schema, and yes there is still a connection to BSI (Although it is a bit different for Employee Central Payroll - BSI Tax Factory Saas).(Update 2/4/2016 - See the comment from Robert Moeller below for more information on this)

We can re-run Payroll as many times as necessary which is done by clicking the "repeat" button that was shown in Screenshot 6 for whichever step you want to re-run. Once you are happy with the results you can move on to the next step in the process to work your way through your payroll. In our example the next step involves taking a look at a report that should be familiar to SAP Payroll people - the Payroll Journal which we have defined in our "Payroll Production" process as shown in Screenshot 10 and 11 with a define variant for how we want to run this report. Keep in mind that your process in all likelihood will be different based upon your requirements for running payroll each period and may involve a different report or a different variation of the same report.

Screenshot 10 - Payroll Journal step


For the step of the Payroll Journal, you will notice that in Screenshot 10 it says "manual confirmation is required" - that is because this is a report that requires someone to look at the output and verify it looks good - it isnot like releasing the control record which once it is done then there is nothing to look at. Once again, we can click see details and click into it to see further details and look at the report as shown in screenshot 11 below.

Screenshot 11 - Payroll Journal output.


Once you take a look at the output and confirm everything looks good you can then go back to the screen shown in Screenshot 10 and click the "Confirm" button to move onto the next step.


If you are coming from an SAP on premise Payroll background think of the existing process and how you would run each transaction separately such as launching PC00_M10_CALC to run Payroll, go through the process of fixing data by changing the control record to a corrections status, setting the control record back to released for payroll, re-running payroll to update results, and then once we are happy with that we would back out to the SAP Easy Access menu and launch PC00_M10_CLJN to run the payroll journal and making sure to select the correct variant. Once we are done with the Payroll Journal we would back out to run PC00_M99_CIPE to simulate posting and once again make sure to pick the right variant! With the Payroll Control Center it is a defined process that has each one of the transactions as steps within that process that we must go through in each payroll run and the variants are selected for us so we don't have to choose or change selection screens to enter things such as the correct schema.This leaves significantly less room for user error before we exit payroll.


As we continue with this Payroll example, I wont go through each step here, but the user would go through each defined step for the "Payroll Production" process such as simulating posting to accounting (To make sure there are no issues such as missing cost center), run payroll data validation so we can once again do a validation on our defined policies (Which hopefully wont have any issues because we resolved them before the payroll process in Screenshot 4 :smile: ).


If there are any issues you can take a look at them as shown in Screenshot 12 as part of step 6 out of 7 and assign them to the appropriate administrators to be resolved at this point (post payroll running) and re-run payroll and the other processes that we defined accordingly.


Screenshot 12 Check Payroll Data Quality Step

Once you reach the last step of "End Payroll Production" this translates to exiting the control record and telling the system that you are done with running payroll for this period and the results are final. It is at this point that we are ready to continue on to the next process shown in Screenshot 3 "Posting to Accounting" or whatever you may have defined in your requirements as post payroll processes.

 I hope that this blog post is helpful and clears up some questions and misconceptions that are out there regarding Employee Central Payroll as well as the Payroll Control Center in general. For information on how to configure the Payroll Control Center it is recommended to attend the new SAP/SuccessFactors class HRH65


For a functional overview of the Employee Central Payroll & Payroll Control Center see my amazon book



 Feel free to post your thoughts below!