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Automated payroll systems Q&A

When transferring to automated payroll, the biggest challenge organisations face is the change in culture that the move can bring. Many payroll professionals can feel uneasy about the transition, wrongfully thinking this is due to their lack of appropriate skillsets or underperformance.

What are the main challenges during the payroll automation process? How do successful CFO/CIOs cope with them?
When transferring to automated payroll, the biggest challenge organisations face is the change in culture that the move can bring. Many payroll professionals can feel uneasy about the transition, wrongfully thinking this is due to their lack of appropriate skillsets or underperformance. They might feel threatened by the possibility of losing their job. Many of them are also used to old-fashioned Excel spreadsheets, and since they used for years, they might not feel confident in making the switch to newer technologies. However, all these fears and misconceptions are the result of miscommunication or lack of transparency in the business.

These can be easily corrected and overcome by fostering clearer communication from the top down. Business leaders must actively drive and participate in regular conversations with HR and payroll employees to bring the benefits of automation to the forefront and reassure the adoption of new technology for support, extra efficiency, rather than as a replacement.

Long gone are the days in which the role of a CFO/CIO has only constituted accountancy and solving finance issues; today’s modern and most successful CFO/CIOs take a front row seat in driving cultural change and business competitiveness. Strong reassurance and transparency from the board can go a long way to successfully complete the payroll automation processes.

Can you name 4-5 reasons why progressing companies should adopt automated payroll systems?
Payroll automation brings many tangible benefits to HR and payroll departments and helps organisations of all shapes and sizes get in HMRC’s good books. With fewer manual workflows, data entries and calculations, professionals can free up much-needed time that could be better spent on more business-critical tasks. When opting in for a fully customisable and integrated automated payroll system, organisations can scale their solution and match it to specific business-wide needs, increasing their operational efficiencies across different areas.

With improved accuracy, payroll departments can reduce human errors and associated costs, ensuring compliance and easier navigation of a complex legal minefield. Most importantly, automated payroll systems provide greater visibility and confidence in data to increase financial wellbeing and remove unnecessary stress for all employees. Mistakes or late payments of wages happen all too often, as evidenced in our research which showed over half (53%) in employment have been paid incorrectly or late due to payroll errors. In an evolving economy with record-high inflation, such mistakes simply cannot happen.

We know that automated payroll is becoming a necessary part of running a business. But why do some businesses find it confusing?
There are many solutions currently on the market and choosing the right one for your organisation could be the main source of confusion. Different vendors offer different features, so it must be about ensuring the solution matches your business objectives and can solve all payroll pain-points.

Automated payroll is indeed becoming a necessary part of running a business, however more senior employees or board members could struggle with understanding why the transition has to happen. For so long they have been using simple spreadsheets and considered them effective. The mindset could very much be “If they’ve done the job for so many years, why change?”. As such, it is crucial to clearly communicate the advantages and savings automation can bring to the business.

Can you list criteria on how to choose the RIGHT automated payroll system?
There are a number of things to consider when choosing automated payroll software. The most important one is whether it will meet your needs and eliminate the most pressing payroll pain-points. Identifying those should be high on the priority list before beginning the search for a vendor. It is also important to check scalability of the solution as when the company grows, the system should be flexible enough to grow with it.

As many payroll professionals could be hesitant to change, the solution has to be easy to navigate and use, and as intuitive as possible to ensure successful adoption that will then drive the efficiencies and ensure payroll accuracy 100% of the time. Further to the point of accuracy, it is important that the system automatically updates payroll details whenever new legislative changes are introduced, for example National Insurance contributions or IR35 rules. By choosing a trusted and experienced provider, all organisations would be able to confidently make the transition to automated payroll systems and realise the benefits almost instantly.

A piece of advice for CFO/CIOs: WHEN is the right time to switch over to automated payroll?
The sooner businesses make the transition to automated payroll, the quicker they will be able to realise the wide array of benefits. Most finance teams would appreciate the instant opportunity to free up their time, eliminate repetitive, manual tasks, and start working on more value-added jobs that can support and drive genuine business change. With the help of the right vendor, the transition can be quick and seamless to allow payroll departments to easily adopt new technology, gain confidence in the usage and simplify the payroll process.

This will also translate to the recruitment and employee retention front, as with fewer payroll errors, employee satisfaction rises, which is an important element in the face of skills shortages. As more companies are adopting automation, those that are yet to make the switch should do it soon, or risk being left behind.

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