Collection Fields for Census Data

Every year, a Plan Sponsor is required to submit census data for each person employed by their company. However, the specific census data that is required will differ between Plan types, and can even differ between TPA firms. When an employee census is requested during the Annual Data Collection process on PlanSponsorLink, the TPA has full control over what employee information the Plan Sponsor needs to provide.


Tier Availability: Team, Business

Security Rights Required: Maintenance


Article Contents






Collection Fields are the data fields that are requested on an employee census during Annual Data Collection. These fields range from basic identification (Name, Date of Birth, SSN) to income, contribution, and deferral information. The list of available Collection Fields is provided by PensionPro and is intended to be comprehensive for all circumstances; new Collection Fields cannot be added. However, a selection of user-defined Collection fields can be customized to meet a firm's needs.


Collection Fields are maintained in two ways:


  • A Collection Field's Display Name can be changed, and instructions can be edited to provide Plan Sponsors clear directions on the data requirements for each field.
  • Collection Fields can be added to the employee census to define its layout. The layout and requirements for the census are maintained separately for each Plan type.


Note: Updates to Collection Fields take effect immediately and are applied to both open and completed Data Collection activities.



Field Descriptions


This section details the management of preferences for individual Collection Fields. To open the list of Collection Fields:


  1. From the Navigation Panel, select Maintenance > Preferences > PensionPro. The PensionPro Preferences tab opens.
  2. Select Field Descriptions from the Views list on the left.


The list of Collection Fields will be displayed in the grid. A Collection Field can be edited by hovering over it, then selecting Editedit.png on the right-hand side.


Each Collection Field contains four pieces of information:


  • Column Name: The default name that PensionPro assigns the Collection Field. This value cannot be edited.
  • Display Name: The name of the column heading as it appears in PensionPro Data Collection and PlanSponsorLink. The Display Name will also be used in an exported census workbook.
  • Description: In general, this is a description for the Collection Field; it can include specific instructions for entering data into the field, if desired. This Description will be visible to Plan Sponsors on the Instructions worksheet of an exported census workbook.
  • Format: The acceptable format(s) for the data to be entered. This can be a simple data type (such as Checkbox), but can also provide an example of proper formatting (such as MM/DD/YYYY for dates). The Format will be visible to Plan Sponsors on the Instructions worksheet of an exported census workbook.
    • Collection Field data types are hard-coded, and changing the Format for a field does not alter its functionality.



User-Defined Fields


As a way to offer additional flexibility when using Collection Fields, PensionPro offers a variety of fields meant to be customized as necessary. These Collection Fields appear in the grid as User Defined [data type] [number], such as User Defined Checkbox 1.


The following user-defined fields are available:


  • 2 Checkbox fields – for Yes/No responses
  • 3 Date fields – MM/DD/YYYY format
  • 2 Integer fields – for whole numbers (such as number of dependents)
  • 5 Number fields – for decimal point numbers (such as a currency value)
  • 3 Text fields – for any string of text characters, or for numbers not intended to be used for calculations (such as a zip code)



Census Layout


This section contains instructions for managing census Collection Fields per Plan type. To open the list of Plan Types:


  1. From the Navigation Panel, select Maintenance > Preferences > PensionPro. The PensionPro Preferences tab opens.
  2. Select Collection Fields from the Views list on the left.


The grid displays all active Plan types, as determined by the Plan Type List Values. To manage Plan types, refer to the article List Values.


Double-clicking on a Plan type displays the Collection Fields that will be used for any employee census created under a Plan of that type. First Name and Last Name will always be present and cannot be removed; any other Collection Fields may be added or removed as necessary.


To add a Collection Field to the census:


  1. Select Addadd.png at the top-right of the grid. The Add Collection Field window displays.
  2. Use the Column Name dropdown to select the desired Collection Field.
  3. (optional) Select Visible to display the column in PensionPro Data Collection and on PlanSponsorLink.
    • Columns not marked as Visible will still be available on an exported census workbook and when adding a line manually.
  4. (optional) Select Required if data should be required for the field.
    • PlanSponsorLink will not allow a Plan Sponsor to submit a census that is missing required data.
  5. Select Save.


Hovering over a Collection Field in the grid will display the Editedit.png and Deletedelete.png options on the right-hand side. Deleting a Collection Field will remove it from the census entirely.


Collection Fields may be rearranged by clicking and dragging a field up or down in the list. This determines the order the columns are displayed on the census.



Frequently Asked Questions


  • The Gender field on the employee census is a binary male/female dropdown. What is the best way to allow non-binary reporting?
    A List Value Type is available for the purpose of creating additional gender selections (such as Non-Binary) if desired. This List Type is found under Core > Project > Participant Gender. Any values added to this List Type can also be used in census imports.



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