Working with the Employee Census

The Employee Census is, in most cases, a required part of Annual Data Collection. During this step, the Plan Sponsor has the opportunity to provide a list of that year's employees, along with relevant wage and contribution information. This article will detail how to use the employee census, and can be applied to interacting with the census directly within PensionPro, as well as via PlanSponsorLink.


Before continuing, it may help to be familiar with the concepts presented in the following articles:



Tier Availability: Team, Business


Article Contents






An employee census can be added to yearly Data Collection in one of two places:


  • The Employees view in the Data Collection category found in the relevant Project or Plan Cycle record (depending on tier)
  • The Employees step during Year End Data Collection on PlanSponsorLink


Although there are some differences in how the census grid and available functions are presented, most instructions below are relevant to both locations.


If PensionPro was used to perform Annual Data Collection for the prior plan year, the employee census for that year will roll forward into the current year's Data Collection as soon as it's launched. This means that edits can be made to last year's census, as opposed to starting anew.


The columns used on the census can be customized for each Plan Type. Refer to the article Collection Fields for Census Data for more information.



Adding Census Data


Employee census data can be added one line at a time. Alternately, it can be imported from an Excel workbook template.



Adding a Single Employee


To add one employee to the census as a new line:

  • In PensionPro, select Addadd.png at the top-right of the grid.
  • In PlanSponsorLink, select Add at the top-right of the census grid.


A window will open with all relevant fields as determined by Plan Type. When finished, select Save.



Importing a Census


An employee census can optionally be imported from an Excel workbook. To obtain a template, refer to the instructions found in the section Exporting a Census.


Note: Importing a census will overwrite all existing data. If necessary, export a copy of the existing census prior to importing the new version.


To import a template:

  • In PensionPro, select Moremore_options.png > Import Employees.
  • In PlanSponsorLink, select Import at the top-left of the census grid.


A window containing a file selection box will be displayed. Navigate to and select the Excel workbook template, then select Upload or Import.


Assuming the census data was added to an exported template, the imported census data will match what was entered on the template. However, if using an import sheet that is not standardized to the template, PensionPro may have difficulty importing the data directly. This is especially common if the column names or order do not match PensionPro exactly. The outcome is dependent on where the import is being performed, as well as the Census Import Column Mapping setting in PlanSponsorLink Preferences:


  • If Census Import Column Mapping is set to Yes and the import is performed on PlanSponsorLink, a popup window will appear asking the Plan Sponsor to match unidentified template columns to expected column names.
  • If Census Import Column Mapping is set to No and the import is performed on PlanSponsorLink, or if the import is performed in PensionPro, unidentified columns will be ignored and the data will not be imported.



Copying a Past Census


If Annual Data Collection was performed for prior plan years, finalized census data from any previous year can be copied into the current year's census. This option will not be available if there is no previous census data to copy from.


To copy a census:

  1. Open the Copy Census Data window
    • In PensionPro, select Moremore_options.png > Copy Employees.
    • In PlanSponsorLink, select Copy at the top of the census grid.
  2. In the Copy Census Data window, use the dropdown to select the correct census based on the correct Period End.
  3. Select Copy.



Editing & Deleting Census Data


Line items on the census may be edited or removed in one of the following ways:

  • In PensionPro, hover over an item in the grid, then select Editedit.png or Deletedelete.png on the right.
  • In PlanSponsorLink, select the appropriate Edit or Delete button on the right.


If necessary, all employee census data can be deleted at once. This action cannot be undone:

  • In PensionPro, select Moremore_options.png > Delete Employees.
  • In PlanSponsorLink, select Delete at the top-right of the census grid.



Exporting a Census


An employee census can be exported from PensionPro or PlanSponsorLink and saved in Excel workbook format. This may make it easier to perform calculations on submitted data; it is also the recommended method for obtaining a template which can be used to import the census.


To export the census:

  • In PensionPro, select Moremore_options.png > Export.
  • In PlanSponsorLink, hover over the Export button at the top-left of the census grid, then select either .xls or .xlsx format.


If no census data has been entered yet, exporting the census will instead export a blank template with columns relevant to the Plan Type. If census data does already exist, and a blank template is needed, export the current census, then delete all rows from the Excel worksheet except for the header row.



Identifying Issues


PensionPro can automatically review census data to highlight common issues, such as inconsistent dates and missing information. This can help eliminate errors and reduce the likelihood of returning the census to a Plan Sponsor for correction.


To use this functionality, ensure that the Enable Census Scrubbing on PSL setting has been enabled in PlanSponsorLink Preferences.


When Census Scrubbing is enabled, if an issue is detected in PlanSponsorLink, a warning message will display above the census grid; select Click to view the issues for a list of all errors and warnings. In PensionPro, the same can be accomplished by selecting Errorserror.png at the top-right of the grid. In either case, the window that appears will separate any issues into general errors, which affect the entire sheet; and participant errors, which affect a single line.


Additionally, within PensionPro, participants with warnings or errors will be displayed in red text to indicate a potential issue.



Other Functions on PSL


The following functionalities are available as part of Year End Data Collection on PlanSponsorLink; they do not possess an equivalent within PensionPro.



Field Descriptions


Field Descriptions are the instructions and formatting for each column on the census. A Plan Sponsor can review this to ensure they are entering the correct information in a proper format. If the Plan Sponsor is using an exported template, this information is also found on the Instructions worksheet of the Excel file.


To view, select Field Descriptions at the top of the census grid. The information displayed here can be customized as necessary; refer to the article Collection Fields for Census Data for details.



Data Summary


PlanSponsorLink can provide a summary of census information, such as the total number of employees and total compensation. This can be accessed by selecting View Summary at the top of the census grid.



Frequently Asked Questions


  • My Plan Sponsor imported their census data, and the values for one or more columns are blank. Why aren't these populating in PensionPro?

    In order for the data to import, the column headers on the import template must directly match the the column headers in PlanSponsorLink. Alternately, enable the Census Import Column Mapping setting in PlanSponsorLink Preferences to provide the Plan Sponsor the ability to manually match template columns to PSL columns when a connection cannot be made automatically.