Even in a modern world where API integration and SFTP integration are possible with most systems, it can be advantageous to create “flat file” integrations that give end-users more control. The main difference between flat file integration and other modern methods is that flat file requires end users to download or upload CSV, XML or other files that are readable by both humans and computers.
Why do Flat File Integrations Matter?
Most payroll and accounting administrators have a need to view their data sets in tables or spreadsheets, especially when working with large data sets. Because spreadsheets are so important, most systems that deal with employee data or financial data offer several opportunities to download time cards, payroll data or general ledger reports in CSV or spreadsheet format.
Flat file integrations allow advanced users to download a report, make modifications to individual records, and in some cases upload the report back into the system. This allows users to control large amounts of data easily, so they do not have to open multiple screens within their payroll or accounting platform.
How do These Integrations Usually Work?
Flat file integrations are simple, and usually begin with a “download” button. Payroll or accounting administrators download reports in CSV format, and usually open them at in Excel or a similar tool like Google Sheets.
After studying reports, or working with the data to change important values, users simply upload the reports again in CSV format.
When is it Necessary to Create Custom Flat File Integrations?
Occasionally, it is difficult to upload reports from one system to another. Due to formatting issues, overwhelming mathematical challenges and other common problems, it may be necessary to create more than just a spreadsheet or macro to ensure that flat file integrations work properly.
As a rule of thumb, if you or your team must make significant changes to more than 25 individual items in order to download/upload a file between systems, it might be beneficial (and considerably more accurate) to create a flat file integration instead of handling the integration manually.
Are Flat File Integrations Included with Valet?
Valet helps organizations improve payroll and accounting accuracy by connecting to multiple data sources. Flat file integrations can require as few as one or two data sources, and can be included in the basic Valet Data Service plan.
Valet Data Platform
Ensure payroll accuracy and simplify HCM workflows with Valet – connect your HCM system to external data sources to verify rates, streamline employee data and more.
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