Headcount, other reports and why a typical accounting practice is a good idea
I always had problems running historic HR reports from HRIS systems. As data keeps changing (people changing functions or departments, information not properly reported by line managers, errors, etc). Every time that I needed to run, for example, a headcount report for a period of some months prior to date I had differences that were difficult to debug and (most difficult) explain.
There is some default functioning of the accounting practice that I believe it’s quite interesting and possibly helpful to mitigate the kind of issues that I was describing. It’s the month closing.
I don’t know if there are commercial HRIS systems that can do this, but it’s not so difficult to do it even with office applications. In essence, the idea consists on the following
- Every month extract a a list of all employees of the company with their main details (position, department, compensation data, etc) every month. It’s like a monthly HR data snapshot.
- Save that list in a separate database (or separate table in the employees database or a separate excel file) and set it up so that it’s not editable.
Later on, when necessary to create historic headcount reports, using this list will help get more consistent numbers. Of course, if some change of department, position or other hasn’t been properly communicated on time, this procedure won’t solve it. But it can help to have more consistent data even if some of it has issues.