Top Tips for Maximising Efficiencies in Payroll
It is no secret that payroll is a complex and time-consuming process. From changing legislation and repetitive manual tasks, to the back and forth on employee hours, expenses and leave management, there is a lot to manage for just a single pay schedule. And if it is done incorrectly, the consequences can be disastrous for businesses. So how can payroll professionals ensure that offering payroll services is efficient and valuable to their business without compromising on compliance?
Here are our top tips for maximising efficiencies in payroll:
Automate manual tasks
One of the best ways to cut-down time spent on payroll processing is to automate as many manual processes and repetitive tasks as possible. By automating tasks like manual data entry, calculating employee hours, checking leave requests and distributing pay slips, you can save hours, if not days, from the payroll process.
The easiest way to start automating payroll is to use a payroll management system that offers automation features like integrated timesheets, tax and leave calculations, and customisable notifications. A good payroll provider will have a robust and sophisticated system that can automate many of the tasks involved in payroll to not only save time, but reduce the chances of errors being made.
A payroll system that is cloud based is also key to maximising efficiencies so that you can securely access data 24/7 without being restricted to your desk. For a deeper look at what tasks could be automated with payroll software, read our blog on automating finalisation tasks.
Beyond payroll software, automating manual tasks like email management, appointment scheduling, client invoicing and customer relationship management will also help to ensure your processes are streamlined so that you can avoid payroll errors and delays when it comes to payday.
Get technical with the right software
Whilst automation is key, choosing the right software is more than just ticking the box of automation. Using a payroll system that is clunky, and that doesn’t work well with existing systems is not going to help get the job done quicker. In fact, it will add more manual tasks to the list. The right software, however, can dramatically improve a businesses’ processes. Streamlined processes = greater efficiencies and that’s what we’re here for!
Many business owners have gotten caught up in a sales pitch and made the mistake of investing in software that doesn’t serve the business or its team. It might be too difficult to implement and learn, or it might not even do what it said on the box! A lot of us struggle with how to spot technology that will help us improve processes rather than complicate them.
Consider the following key points when introducing payroll software to your clients:
When your clients are looking for software for a specific function like payroll, they are most likely already using a number of applications that should be considered for compatibility.
By using a payroll solution that helps you or your clients to consolidate some of the existing systems in place, you can cut down on the time spent toggling between systems and reduce manual data entry between them - not to mention cut costs and deliver more value!
Systems that consolidate time & attendance with payroll operations are a great place to start to ensure payroll data flows through seamlessly without having to jump in and spend time processing employee hours.
Where consolidated systems aren't possible, consider integration! An online payroll system that integrates with existing apps, like an accounting system will, again, reduce the time spent importing and exporting files, or manually transferring data.
The best cloud solutions will work to deliver integrations that help to improve the end-to-end services for their users.
Keep up to date with compliance
With multiple laws and rules, changing requirements and important payroll dates; a lot of the time associated with running payroll is down to ensuring clients are adhering to compliance requirements. The smallest mistakes can cause more serious mistakes and can put an organisation at risk for a fine or legal battle.
Using a payroll management system that helps to automate compliance and that easily applies updates, will reduce the significant amount of time spent double and triple checking the pay run!
A payroll solution should complement the existing technologies within a business, make sharing data between systems easier, and never make processes more clunky or prone to error. You can read more on the features to consider when choosing a cloud payroll solution here.
Keep organised and track important tasks
Organisation is crucial to increasing payroll productivity. If you’re managing payroll for multiple clients, you might have a number of tasks happening at once and prioritising them might get difficult. You might miss an important note and have to spend time going back over details to fix errors or maybe new employees haven’t been captured in the latest pay run.
Some payroll systems will include dashboard notifications and alerts to make tracking and managing deadlines easier. Creating a payroll calendar with important dates and reminders for your team and clients will also improve payroll efficiency - you’ll find a lot more time in your day by ticking things off once ahead of time, and not having to come back to it in a panic.
Choose a payroll solution with an employee management portal
Onboarding can be a painstakingly difficult process. Sometimes there’s back and forth between parties for weeks just to get employees onboarded, and once they’re set up - the fortnightly or monthly management tasks continue, depending on a business’ pay cycle.
Consider last minute expense claims, chasing employees for timesheets not submitted, new employees to be included in a pay run - communication can very quickly become chaotic and inefficient. A key way to ensure employee onboarding and management doesn’t slow down the pay run is to offer an employee self-service portal that seamlessly integrates with payroll.
A self-service portal allows employees to manage their own personal data, such as their address or bank account details. They can view their payslips and request leave, all without having to contact the payroll department, freeing up your time to focus on more complex tasks - it’s also a win for a clients’ HR team!
Some employee portals also have the flexibility to customise notifications so that the relevant people can be notified about those important things, like an employee changing their bank details, that can equal a major payroll headache!
Outsourcing complex payroll tasks to experts
Without the tools and expertise in place, managing payroll can be more than just time consuming, it can also be a risk to your and your clients’ reputation.
Automating manual processes, leveraging technology, and implementing an employee self-service portal that streamlines communication, doesn’t change the fact that Australian payroll (and payroll in general!) is complex. Whilst you might be supporting businesses with their payroll needs, you may come across large scale implementations for clients or unique payroll scenarios with multiple awards and agreements that might be open for interpretation.
For payroll professionals juggling multiple services or that are concerned about compliance and legislation - outsourcing tasks to expert services can not only reduce stress or errors, but directly increase efficiency and productivity.
KeyPay’s customer experience team works with our partners on a range of things from training and implementation to building rules for award interpretation, or enterprise agreements. If there’s a payroll task that is taking too long, or draining resources, you can reach out to the team to see how you could manage payroll more efficiently.