How to avoid payroll chaos and reduce queries
The well-used phrase: “we’re living in unprecedented times” resonates deeply with HR and payroll teams who have been confronted with significant challenges to overcome in 2020. Payroll processes are complex, and human errors can negatively impact employees and cost the company money. Handling payroll, even with the help of a payroll service, can be complicated, but when you add into the mix Furlough, Flex furlough, and a myriad of contract types, working hours and absence types, this creates a new ‘unprecedented’ level of complexity. Avoiding payroll chaos, and reducing payroll queries is number two on the wish list for HR and payroll teams right now.
No room for error
The critical success factors for effective payroll that will significantly reduce queries are:
- Effective payroll service delivery model
- Effective data capture to improve data accuracy and integrity
- Flexible and secure data reporting for checks and reconciliation
There is no room for error when it comes to paying your people. Your staff have to trust the process 100% and it needs to deliver a positive employee experience, where queries are the exception. A poor payroll experience impacts numerous areas of your people strategy, and affects staff retention.
The EY Global Payroll Survey highlights handling late submissions, corrections and legislative requirements as some of the biggest hurdles for payroll. Another significant challenge is access to real-time dashboards, which links back to data integrity.
Any employer running PAYE needs to complete certain tasks each tax period, as well as ensuring that staff are paid correctly. Payable time must be recorded correctly, accurately converted to net pay after tax and national insurance contributions, payslips produced, and correct submissions made to HMRC. If you are a business with varied shift patterns, where employees have other entitlements such as tips, bonuses, commissions and travel allowances, this becomes increasingly difficult to manage.
Trust your data, trust your decisions
We know that handling payroll can be a hassle for a lot of HR and payroll teams. There are numerous problems that can arise while doing payroll. Data exists in many different silos and is frequently in different formats, inaccurate or difficult to understand. This all requires manipulation and is subject to human error. With so many variations to contend with as a result of COVID-19, many have taken to using excel, which comes with its own set of dangers, risks and Excel hell.
Core payroll data management tasks include
- Collecting variable hours and converting to pay
- Managing attendance: holidays, sickness and COVID-19 related absences
- Workforce management – multi-site, multi-shift, multi-contract
- Maintaining the HR system of record and time
- Processing joiners and leavers
HR data is dense and complex and without a single source of truth, where you can trust your data, then you’re storing up a toxic backlog of potential problems and risks for your business. Not only do you need to trust your data, you need to protect your payroll data: no business wants a payroll data breach resulting in court action.
Choose a system that’s right for your business
Whether you choose to process payroll internally, use software or outsource to a third party, it needs to integrate seamlessly with your other processes and systems. Whilst outsourcing can alleviate a lot of the stress, there still remains a degree of involvement internally. Payroll software can work really well, but the devil is in the detail. The goal is to simplify the complexity, reduce errors, save time, reduce manual keying and minimise payroll queries.
Payroll providers store critical data, which means security is essential, but integration is just as important. Having clarity on where data is “mastered” and having a single source of truth is critical, as you don’t want to be raising queries on various data sources to check pay.
Integrated HR and payroll software will reduce chaos and queries
Using integrated HR and payroll software can help you manage your payroll, however with the legislative changes in 2020 as a result of COVID-19, many systems have demonstrated how antiquated they are and unable to easily be updated and handle change in an agile way.
Having tightly integrated HR and Payroll systems and services will create an ecosystem that works in harmony. If you select HR software that embraces employee self-service, you’ll reduce your instances of errors, fast. One system that can easily manage promotions, payroll changes, new joiners and leavers automatically.
Whenever HR adds a new employee, or a manager makes a salary change, shift or rota change, this should all be in a single source, automatically updating so it is reflected in payroll. With an employee-centric system, employees can self-serve their holidays and absences, passing the changes to managers for approval – which then automatically updates payroll.
What if there was a way to reduce payroll queries?
Technology has moved on, with smarter options to integrate. This means you don’t have to update all your systems, to reap the rewards of reduced payroll queries and happy staff. Processing paper timesheets or using Excel, should be a thing of the past owing to the business risks these practices can cause. A single source of truth, where you can trust your payroll data is easy to report on and reconcile. No more inaccurate reporting, poor employee experience or concerns around security and compliance.
An integrated model, allows you to upgrade what’s not working. This means you can remove time consuming data management, eliminate errors and improve employee experience. Agile HR software allows you to implement in weeks and months, not years. If you’d like to learn more about how you can reduce your payroll chaos and payroll queries, talk to our team of payroll elves – firstname.lastname@example.org.