FUTURE OF PAYROLL SURVEY REPORT 2020
employment status. More recent examples that demonstrate where greater communication and cross working has been needed include Gender Pay Gap reporting. All of these new requirements have had to be delivered with no additional staff resource in the majority of businesses, so if staff hours can be made available due to the automation of other processes, then this is definitely a positive thing.
68% responded to say it would provide opportunities to show strategic value
The sentiment that payroll professionals are beginning to see how AI and automated processes will actually enhance the workings of the payroll department and of payroll teams is reflected in the answers to the question, “how do you think that new, simple-to-use, cloud-based technologies that promote payroll at the ‘push of a button’ will impact employers’ value of payroll professionals?” Emphasising the fact that there has been a shift in the perception of payroll professionals, from being concerned about automated processes and AI, to welcoming it and seeing how it can add more value to their roles, 68% responded to say that they will provide payroll professionals with an opportunity to show their strategic value, and that payroll is more than the transactional ‘push of a button’. 28% remained to be convinced and still believe that these technologies will serve to devalue payroll professionals, whilst a much lower 4% believed there would be no impact whatsoever. The results highlight the fact that, whilst people are more open to new technologies in the main, there are still those that have their reservations surrounding the introduction of new systems to simplify the administrative duties
of payroll professionals. There is no ‘one size fits all’ within payroll, and due to the fact that government policy has evolved to exclude smaller employers, the size of the company that a payroll professional works in could have massive implications on their experience of, and attitude towards, the future of payroll and technology.
59% recognise that advances in technology would solve problems and allow individuals to focus onmore strategic aspects to their role.
This idea is explored further in the question that asks, “Do you envisage that advances in technology will….” Those accessing the survey had the ability to select multiple responses, as it may have been the case that several answers applied to them and their situation. This looked specifically at the effect that technology will have on the effectiveness of the payroll team, and the structure of the payroll department. 78% of responses held the view that technological advances will make individuals and their payroll team more effective. 62% felt that technological advances would reduce the costs associated with processing payroll, followed by 59% who confirmed that this would solve problems and allow individuals to focus on more strategic aspects to their role. 44% felt that advances of this nature would reduce the number of jobs available in the profession and 43% thought it plausible that there would be no impact on the level of jobs available but that
it would change the role of payroll professionals and the role that payroll teams play within organisations. Similar themes are emerging in the results to all of these questions and this demonstrates that the profession is beginning to accept technological advances and can see how they will enhance the position of payroll professionals and of the profession. But there is work to be done yet to reassure individuals who are nervous and who feel that technology could result in the loss of jobs and changes to the structures of payroll departments. The final question in this subject area asked, ‘What strategy are you adopting within your organisation in relation to software for the future?’ The top response confirmed that businesses were looking for specialist payroll software, which integrates well with other specialist software, such as time and attendance and expenses, gaining 63% of responses. 37% said that they were looking for generic software to manage all aspects of pay and reward. This reiterates the idea that payroll is becoming more and more interlinked with other departments, which needs to be more far-reaching than just the Finance and Human Resource departments. Far fewer companies are seeking to implement software that focuses solely on just pay and reward elements, and more are searching for software that can interact with a variety of other platforms to receive and transmit data. If systems interact with one another, this also removes the responsibility of the individuals who ordinarily provide information to payroll, for example, managers who may send timesheets across manually for their staff. Certain payroll software will respond to time and attendance software and the processes behind this becomes automated, removing the potential for human error, or, indeed, for individuals to forget to complete tasks, which can leave employees being paid incorrectly, resulting in frustration and annoyance aimed, ordinarily, at the payroll department. The advancements in technology and software have far reaching ramifications for companies as a whole and are not just confined to having an effect on payroll departments. In summary, it would be fair to assert that technological advances within the payroll sphere are generally accepted as being positive. The majority of people see how, by removing the more transactional, and time consuming tasks within the payroll department, this can add more value to the role of payroll professionals as they can devote their time and effort to tasks that
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