Fulham’s home stadium at Craven Cottage lies on the banks of the River Thames in one of the most characteristic locations of any football ground in the UK, and its team has been a cherished and historic facet of the community for over 130 years. Needless to say, working at Fulham FC is a unique privilege and opportunity — and to keep match days (and beyond) running smoothly they employ over 500 workers, ranging from the restaurant workers and stadium staff, to top level-executives and the players themselves, and everyone in between.
Diverse staff and paper timesheets cause frequent payroll delays
To the casual observer, Fulham’s match day operations run like a well-oiled machine, but in reality the daily processes involved in managing such a vast and varied enterprise are quite complex, and often time-consuming. Employing a wide variety of salaried, casual, and cross-department staff, the Fulham payroll process in particular was incurring a significant amount of administrative time and overhead in the compilation phase, and left substantial potential for human error.
Payroll is the greatest expenditure for any organisation, and, before Replicon, Fulham’s payroll was demanding enough to have two full-time employees dedicated solely to its management and handling. With so many different employees working for so many different departments — many of them collating their varied time data on paper timesheets — these two dedicated payroll employees had their work cut out for them when it came to getting payroll completed accurately and on time.
“To put payroll in more context, on match days we have everyone from interns and stewards to senior executives and football players and everyone in between working,” says Ben Haworth, Financial Controller at Fulham. “We range from casual stewards and turnstile operators, groundsmen, first-aiders and medics, sales and marketing executives and IT and facilities teams, with a number of employees having cross-departmental functions.
Payroll had to collect data from so many different sources, so the complexity and sheer amount of information going back and forth made for some fairly inefficient processes, and left us vulnerable to errors and delays.”
With paper timesheets and around 10 different departments dealing with casual staff in their own way, there were ample opportunities for payroll to get delayed. Timesheets could be turned in late, illegibly written, not signed properly by the relevant line manager, and much more, and the payroll staff had to check for accuracy and correct errors manually. Remote work in particular often translated to delays in timesheet submissions, and could thus put undue pressure on the payroll team to make late adjustments or result in people not being paid for their work in the correct period.
“Aside from the obvious errors that come of manual processes,the other consequence of having everything on paper is the lack of centralised visibility into our payroll and finances,” says Haworth. “With so much time and attendance information being recorded manually, we lacked any sort of breakdown by job type or pay item, which made it difficult to analyse and associate costs to specific jobs.”
In 2017, the departure of the longstanding payroll team in quick succession left Haworth and the finance team scrambling to pick up the slack and get people paid on time. Employing the services of a bureau as a short-term solution, Haworth still found himself spending 60 to 70 percent of his time managing the payroll thanks to Fulham’s antiquated paper-based process and diverse range of employees. With 500 full- and part-time employees, Haworth knew he needed a more agile, modern solution capable of capturing and streamlining their complex and disparate time and attendance processes, and for this he turned to Replicon.
Automating time and attendance processes bring visibility, accuracy, and ease to payroll
With an automated time and attendance system, mobile capabilities, and built-in compliance, Replicon was a natural solution to the complexity of Fulham’s time tracking and payroll processes. By automating formerly manual processes, Fulham has quickly reduced administrative overheads and increased payroll accuracy, all while streamlining their entire system.
“With Replicon in place, we’ve gone from two full-time payroll employees to one employee who dedicates about half their time to managing payroll, as it’s no longer enough work for a full-time job,” says Haworth. “And the Finance team isn’t the only department seeing increased efficiencies. With Replicon, any employees previously bound to the paper-based system can now take the time they used to spend on submitting, approving, collating, or processing timesheets and redirect it toward their actual jobs. It’s a game-changer to have a tool that can be used universally across our administrative employees, coaches, scouts, drivers, medical staff, security, and many more.”
Now, payroll queries and errors are few and far between, and on the rare occasion they encounter any, their centralised database enables quick and easy fact-checking and corrections. Indeed, visibility on the whole has vastly improved, allowing the Finance team’s access to both a centralised, holistic view of the company’s payroll information, as well as granular data on who is working which job, for which department, and when.
“Replicon’s advanced configurability to model time and attendance requirements spanning multiple departments, job rates, and employee types is a critical component in accommodating our diverse workforce here at Fulham,” says Haworth. “With these capabilities — in addition to easy mobile access for off-site employees and a cloud-based database — our wide variety of staff can all access and be managed under one unified system.”
Now, employees are paid promptly and accurately each pay period, with minimal effort on Fulham’s part. With full control over Replicon’s portal, Fulham can configure the system to ensure that employees have the right options available to them in terms of department, job, and pay rate when inputting their hours. This, too, serves to eliminate ambiguity, ensure all costs are allocated to the right departments, and substantially reduce errors in payroll from the get-go.
For the future, Haworth hopes to explore new ways to realise additional efficiencies through Replicon’s solutions, affirming that: “Replicon has completely revolutionised the way we manage and track time at Fulham FC. Their time platform is intuitive, modern, and highly-configurable, their customer support has been exceptional, and our ability to streamline payroll has proved to be nothing short of invaluable.”
"Replicon has completely revolutionized the way we manage and track time at Fulham FC. Their time platform is intuitive, modern, and highly-configurable, their customer support has been exceptional, and our ability to streamline payroll has proved to be nothing short of invaluable"