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A change of mindset for the payroll professional

Category: Blog HR Payroll Technology

Article Written by Stuart Hall

Published: Professional in Payroll, Pension & Rewards

Staff costs are the largest outgoing cost for many organisations with regular payments to employees, HMRC, pension companies and benefits providers. Real Time Information (RTI,) auto-enrolment and ever-changing tax legislation make this a complex and time-consuming process for the Payroll professional. If you work in Payroll, your workload is increasing, and there’s further transformation on the horizon. There is no room for error and you must get payments made accurately, on time, every time.

As businesses look for the best way to tackle challenges like auto-enrolment and strive for greater control over costs, HR and Payroll systems must become seamless. Responsibility and accountability for payroll data needs to be passed from the Payroll Administrator to HR, managers and employees.

Remove admin from Payroll

If it’s down to Payroll to input the data you are running the risk of duplicating effort and wasting valuable time. So should employees now be responsible for updating their own personal details?

Consider a business of a thousand employees. How many times over the space of a year will people change addresses, or phone numbers; get married or change bank account details? It’s a waste of resources for HR
to input all that personal data. It makes far more sense to pass responsibility onto employees. HR sets up starters and leavers, and updates salary and benefits changes; managers authorise overtime and bonus awards. Smart systems then automate gross payroll and provide a simple sequence of steps to complete payroll processing, auto-enrolment and payments. Removing these basic administrative tasks for Payroll will bring a step-change in the role of the Payroll professional. So what could the future hold?

New combined HR and Payroll systems are game changers. As Payroll moves from being a reactive role to a pro- active one, your value to a business increases enormously.

Audit and compliance

Audit and compliance become the new focus for Payroll professionals, not administration. Remove the routine admin from the role and you have time to see the wood for the trees. As the focus for Payroll switches to audit, Payroll can take control of the data and ensure that everyone is paid correctly, and on time. You can interrogate the data to ensure that salary data is correct for starters and leavers; that managers have authorised overtime and bonus awards on time; monitor payroll trends and exceptions from last month; and ensure regulatory compliance with statutory payments.

Will the reduction in hours it will take for payroll to be processed mean that the role will disappear altogether? Does automation herald the end of the Payroll professional? No, it enables your Payroll professional to manage and control costs, process payroll accurately and efficiently, and play a key role as gatekeeper of the payroll process for compliance and audit. Whether it’s a full time or part time role, it’s time for the life of the Payroller to change.

Game changing systems

The challenge is to find a solution that has been designed for the new way of working under RTI and auto-enrolment. A solution that has a single database for HR and Payroll, with built-in reports and dashboards and automated workflow and approvals.

The next generation of cloud-based solutions is here, and they will shape the way that we work. One solution I reviewed late last year was is XCD, who launched their integrated UK payroll engine earlier 2016.

New combined HR and Payroll systems are game changers. As the Payroll professional’s role moves from being reactive to proactive, their value to a business increases enormously.

For Payroll, the future looks bright.

About the author

Stuart Hall (MA PGdipM MCIPPdip) is a business adviser and consultant with expertise in the Payroll and HR Sectors. He has built and sold two Payroll solutions; PaySuite, the UKs first true cloud-based solution, which was sold to Inuit Quickbooks in 2014 and Employer Services Ltd, a payroll bureau which was sold to RSM (formally Baker Tilly).

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