Payroll professionals are under more pressure than ever before. Despite being a function no business can do without, they are not exempt from the financial pressures of the recession, and are expected to ‘do more with less’, while ensuring the changing workforce is paid correctly, on time, every time.
To support the payroll team in doing their job effectively, software has to be more efficient than ever before. At the same time, the software itself is changing the way payroll operates – supporting global roll-outs and, increasingly, mobile working. This deeper functionality means managers can secure a return on their investment in software more effectively than ever before.
As businesses cut costs across the board, payroll professionals must fight harder for new implementations, and must be able to prove to senior management that any new software can deliver return on investment (ROI) in record time. According to analyst house IDC, managers are more likely to buy multiple HR and payroll systems from the same vendor . This is certainly the case when it comes to proving to the business you’re getting value for money. It makes life easier for ‘payrollers’ knowing that their systems are compatible and they don’t need to enter data more than once.
A CEO is less likely to have time to look at the detail of headcount and salaries in different markets. They’re far more likely to need top-level results and statistics. So the data within any payroll software system needs to be able to operate on a local level, but within a global framework, giving the payroll manager the information he or she needs at their fingertips. It sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it’s essential to be able to compare like with like, while taking in to account regional differences.
Global payroll outsourcing is also becoming a more popular choice. Many companies choose to outsource the more administrative aspects of the job – processing of timesheets and payroll data for example. Then the more complex aspects of the job can be kept in-house, helping businesses to retain their best payroll people by keeping the job admin-free and as strategic as possible.
Of course, it’s also possible to outsource all aspects of payroll – leaving the entire function to the experts and letting HR get on with other jobs is an effective way of keeping costs down and making the process as efficient as possible.
Fighting against the pressure to cut costs, payroll people need to retain the right skills on the team to ensure they are ready for the inevitable upturn and any sudden increases in headcount.
Driven by improvements in technology, payroll software has developed at a fast pace, despite consolidation in the industry. Software can now support global roll-outs at both the local and global ends of the scale.
However, for all the time and cost saving, purchasing the right payroll software can be one of payroll’s biggest challenges. The real business case will come from proving that the new solution will enable payroll, HR and the wider business to focus on their core competencies, rather than getting bogged down in data entry and analysis that could be automated.
Payroll teams within organisations that are preparing for the upturn need to be focused on what they do best, not on data collection, while also knowing that they have a solution in place that they can trust. Payroll managers and HR directors need to demand the best for their people. The functionality within payroll software exists, and the time to re-evaluate and really examine what your organisation needs is now.