National Payroll Week Roundtable Review
Technology & The Future of Payroll

Nov 20 , 2020

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Recently, Access People were invited to participate in the CIPP National Payroll Week roundtable event to discuss how market forces are shaping payroll departments of the future. High on the agenda was technology and how the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the need for payroll teams to start automating transactional tasks.

“There were five key areas where technology was driving a change in payroll” says Rob Gimes, Senior Payroll Product Manager, Access People. “These include; devolved data input, SaaS based solutions, disaster recovery planning, emergency payroll and the role of payroll in employee engagement and productivity.”

Listening to the input from other businesses involved in the CIPP event, attitudes are clearly changing towards the use of payroll technology. For too long, teams have been weighed down with paperwork, preventing them from adding the value that we know they are so very capable of. Fortunately this is changing at a pace, by 2026 the U.S. cloud-based payroll software market is expected to grow to $13.3m.

Despite Payroll and HR management being two different disciplines, they are highly connected. The simple act of utilizing technology to integrate employee information including Time & Attendance on one platform increases efficiency and prevents costly errors. For those of you reading this thinking that payroll errors couldn’t possibly impact your organisation’s profitability too much – you’d be wrong. When the JD Group implemented their integrated payroll and Time & Attendance software, they projected a 1-2% efficiency saving. Instead, they saved almost 2% by reducing their payroll errors alone.

With an integrated payroll and HR system, critical data is instantly updated in real-time, improving the overall quality of data held so that payments are accurate and the time spent on enquiries and fixing human errors is reduced.

Many of you have heard us endorse the automation of Payroll activities before, so why has it become so important all of a sudden? The answer lies in a perfect storm of unpredictable events. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Payroll teams are not only having to undertake distanced working, they are also juggling multiple additional tasks including:

  • Increased
  • Requests for flexible working hours
  • The evolution of furlough schemes
  • Lockdown regulations affecting staffing requirements
  • The need to engage and communicate to a remote workforce
  • The application of temporary ‘salary sacrifices’
  • Replacing full time staff who are self-isolating with temporary workers

The payroll team have suddenly become central to providing stability in a huge state of flux. A substantial amount of responsibility for the financial well-being of employees now rests firmly on the Payroll department’s shoulders, because when an employee is underpaid, it can be the difference between whether or not they can pay their mortgage, bills or put food on the table.

““While some organisations are working at maximum output to simply maintain delivery of the Payroll Promise” says Gimes, “others are also working with organisational challenges such as increased employee disengagement as the pandemic sees workers struggling to maintain balance in their lives, with their emotional and financial wellness suffering.”

A study by financial wellbeing provider, Neyber shines a spotlight on how widespread financial worries are within the workforce currently. A study of over 11,000 employees across 720 organisations found that 62% were affected by money concerns. If we apply that figure to the British workforce across all income groups, that translates into more than 20,000,000 workers.

When so many employees are worried about their financial well-being, ensuring a right pay, right day promise goes some way to alleviating their stresses, and when your employees feel more financially secure, they are more productive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all payroll departments, but those hardest-hit are continuing to operate manual systems – teams with legacy or disconnected payroll software are also struggling. Unfortunately, these three groups represent a substantial number of organisations across the UK and Ireland.

Without a change in practise, organisations will be ill-prepared to adapt and respond to an unpredictable future, resulting in competitive disadvantage and the loss of valuable employees. Automating payroll processes and reducing manual tasks with the aid of the latest SaaS software could not be more important than it is right now.

Access People have heavily invested in market-leading SaaS platforms with high performing, integrated payroll software for businesses of all sizes. If you would like to upgrade and automate your payroll system, get in touch with one of our experienced consultants who will guide you through your options.

About The Access Group

The Access Group is a leading provider of business management software to mid-sized UK organisations. It helps more than 35,000 customers across commercial and not-for-profit sectors become more productive and efficient. Its innovative Access Workspace cloud solutions transform the way business software is used, giving every employee the freedom to do more.
Founded in 1991, The Access Group employs more than 3000 staff.


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