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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fixing the client's 401(k) reporting application to make it run better

The company didn't have a process in place to make sure that this one client receives their 401(k) information on a regular basis. I had developed an application last fall for this specific client to produce the information, but there was no one set up specifically to run the application on a regular basis.

I was contacted earlier today to set up this application on several people's computers. Interestingly enough, everyone could get to the application, since it exists on a networked drive, but, to make things as easily accessible as possible, I prefer to put a shortcut to the application on users' desktops.

After I finished that, I sent an email to everyone affected, letting them know about the application, and letting them know how to get the report.

About 15 minutes later, I was summoned to a user's computer because there was a problem with the report details. She was running the report for last week, but the Last Pay Date for several employees was for this week.

As I looked into the program, I realized that all the other details were correct except for this Last Pay Date, which gets updated whenever a payroll is run. I began brainstorming other ways to get the correct date.

One option was to look at the last pay check date for the date range specified, which is from the first of the month to the date the user selects on a form. That would make sure that date for employees who are getting paid this week is the date the user selected.

As I thought about that, I realized I was not finished. What if we run this report a month from now, and an employee had been terminated this month? The client would still want that employee to show up on the list.

I continued brainstorming, and wrote some mock VBA code on my marker board. Satisfied with that, I created a function, tested it out with various scenarios, and eventually came to a solution that will either use the last pay date for the reporting range OR the Last Pay Date field from the other data table.

I generated the report and sent it off to the client service representative, who will then forward it on to the client.

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