The HR department is often overlooked as a critical business function. In fact, the HR department plays an integral role in managing human capital within the organisation. Essentially, they are the ones that drive the heart of the organisation – the employees. Apart from overseeing core HR operations such as recruitment, learning and development and compensation, they are also responsible for ensuring that employees are compensated in a timely and accurate manner.

Regardless of how strong the workplace culture may be or the plethora of career opportunities provided, an inadequate payroll process is enough to drive employees away. Hence, it is crucial to implement a robust payroll system within the HR department. When employees are paid on time and correctly, this eventually leads to happy and satisfied employees.

Here are some tips to efficiently manage payroll within your organisation:

1. Have a proper set of payroll policies and procedures

A set of clearly-defined payroll policies and procedures helps to keep payroll processes organised within the department. Given that payroll processing is a monthly recurring process that does not vary from month to month, having a proper payroll documentation allows tasks to be completed quickly and efficiently. It also provides clear steps on the order in which certain payroll tasks need to be done. Clear documentation of payroll processes also allow new payroll staff to get up to speed easily as they can rely on the policies and procedures to understand the correct fashion in which certain payroll tasks need to be completed.

2. Keep payroll processes simple

Payroll itself has numerous steps. However, that does not mean that the entire payroll process has to be a complex affair. By keeping things simple, it helps to keep processes running smoothly with less time and effort from employees, this allows payroll staff to focus their efforts on more strategic payroll initiatives to drive further efficiencies. For example, switching from handing out physical payslips to e-payslips reduces the amount of paperwork as well as the time required to print and distribute physical copies to employees.

3. Plan out payroll calendar for the year

Payroll is a time sensitive HR function. Pay days are fixed on a particular date each month and statutory filing dates are typically determined by the respective statutory boards, which means that payroll staff have no control over the deadlines. Timely salary disbursement to employees is of utmost importance as it ultimately affects employees’ confidence in the organisation and employee morale. Late salary payments can result in disgruntled and unhappy employees, which may in turn affect overall productivity levels within the organisation. Similarly, late tax submissions can incur hefty penalties and fines on the organisation.

A payroll calendar can help the payroll team to keep track of important dates throughout the year, such as payroll cut-off dates or tax submission dates. Besides helping payroll staff to stay on top of important payroll dates, a payroll calendar also allows payroll staff to plan their time more efficiently and buffer sufficient time for tasks that may require more attention and efforts.

4. Ensure the team is familiar with payroll software

Payroll technology has no doubt made payroll processing today much easier. Gone are the days of payroll calculations using excel spreadsheets. Payroll software today has made it easier to store, track and compute payroll records and statutory contributions accurately. However, the effectiveness of the payroll software is only as competent as the payroll staff’s knowledge of utilising the payroll software as well as the features offered.

Many organisations tend to fall into the trap of implementing payroll software without fully utilising the features and capabilities that the payroll software can offer. Identifying which are the essential HR processes and needs required by the organisation allows the HR team to effectively maximise the payroll software to assist with payroll processes. Concurrently, ensuring that payroll staff are well-trained in utilising the payroll software will ultimately allow staff to manage payroll more efficiently with technology.

5. Stay abreast with changes in HR legislations

HR and payroll legislation are constantly changing. To avoid hefty fines and penalties arising from non-compliance, it is important to stay abreast with ongoing changes in labour laws and regulations. This is particularly crucial for payroll staff that oversee regional employees.

Thankfully, there are plenty of ways in which payroll staff can stay on top of any changes in local statutory legislations. The easiest way is to subscribe to the electronic mailing list of local government agencies. That way, any changes in HR legislation will come through to your inbox as an email alert. Alternatively, organisations who outsource their payroll to an external vendor can rely on the vendor’s team of payroll experts. Most external payroll vendors have a team of payroll experts who consistently track any changes in HR legislations and carry out the necessary system updates in the payroll software to ensure that payroll computation is compliant with the latest HR regulations.

Effective payroll processing is not just a critical business function. It is also crucial in maintaining employee morale and confidence. While payroll software can certainly help to alleviate some of the administrative aspects of payroll processing, payroll staff also need to be competent and well-versed in payroll processes and legislations. This combination is what drives a highly efficient payroll team.

Author's Bio: 

Founded in Singapore, ePayslip has more than 20 years of experience in SaaS payroll. Initially created to power the payroll outsourcing business of a parent company, i-Admin, ePayslip began to be offered as a stand alone SaaS payroll software service to customers in 2019.

ePayslip currently operates in 8 countries across Asia, making it the ideal fit for medium to large Asian enterprises seeking to operate their own multi-country payroll in-house.