Automating your payroll process can bring about significant benefits to the HR function and organisation. A study from G&A Partners found that HR spends almost three-quarters (73%) of their time on administrative tasks. This typically involves forms to fill out, data entry, filing, and the process repeats. Similarly, Deloitte’s 2020 Global Payroll Benchmarking Survey revealed that more than 25% of respondents indicated that their payroll staff spent most of their time running payroll. The survey also revealed that they spend 24% of the time on reconciliation, audit, and controls processes, 20% on data entry, and 14% on answering employee and other inquiries. It is not surprising that this leaves little time for HR to focus on other strategic initiatives and process improvements. Likewise, this leaves the payroll function highly prone to inaccuracies and unnecessary loss of time and resources.

Here are some ways in which organisations can automate the process process to free up more time and resources to focus on other strategic initiatives:

Eliminate paper-based payroll processes where possible

Transform your payroll processes by eliminating paper-based work streams where possible. Research from Clutch revealed that 25% of small businesses still record their finances on paper. Not only is this time-consuming, it poses a huge risk of human error. While it may not be feasible to automate all paper-based payroll processes at once, start by identifying areas with the less impact to payroll operations. This may be tracking employee records online instead of using p-files or integrating employees’ work schedule with existing payroll software rather than entering overtime hours based on physical punch cards. Taking progressive steps towards automating paper-based payroll processes can minimise the risk of human error and saves time in the long run.

Integrate your automated payroll with internal centralised management systems

Most organisations have their own enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to manage finance, accounting, and logistics functions. This may be a centralised platform that integrates work streams across multiple business functions. This is a great opportunity for payroll to be integrated with this centralised platform. Integrating payroll with the organisation’s centralised systems enables seamless flow of information without the need for manual data entry, facilitating accurate and quicker payroll processing.

Leverage cloud storage for payroll record-keeping

Paper-based payroll records take up unnecessary physical space and are prone to physical damages such as fires or misplacement. Given that vast amount of payroll data is being generated monthly or even daily, leveraging cloud platforms is a great way to store massive amounts of payroll data without the risk of physical damages. Moreover, multiple cloud storage providers today provide additional security measures to ensure the confidential and sensitive payroll data is well-encrypted from hackers or ransomware.

Grant employees access to self-service portals

It is not surprising that 80% of a HR professional’s time is spent on addressing employees’ queries. This can range from queries relating to payroll to straightforward ones such as an employee’s leave entitlement. Leveraging on employee self-service portals can help to free valuable time for HR to focus on strategic overhaul. One way is to introduce chatbots or a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) section on the organisation’s intranet to address simple questions i.e.where are the dental benefit plans or basic expense queries. HR can then focus on tackling more complex employee queries.

Automating HR tasks go a long way in enhancing process efficiencies by freeing up valuable time for HR. Not only does this provide a better experience for HR, it helps to minimise cost and time spent on manual HR processes. At the same time, it helps to ensure compliance to HR regulations and standards. There are plenty of HR and payroll software available that organisations can choose from. It is best to conduct in-depth research and determine which offers the best features and services that fits the organisation’s needs.

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