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Improving 3 Core Areas Within Payroll

6/18/19 1:46 PM

When it comes to time, there never seems to be enough. Just ask any administrative employee — once you finish processing one payroll cycle another one starts. There’s year-end processing and balancing; quarterly and annual reporting for a variety of federal, state, and local agencies; compliance updates and risk management; employee inquiries — and the list goes on.

onemint blog taxes document paperwork

As if administrative staff didn’t have enough on their plates, they are increasingly fielding requests from business leaders who want actionable reports and data for better decision making. As organizations look to data to help drive strategic decisions in pursuit of business goals, how does that impact payroll? What’s needed for payroll to successfully meet these new expectations while still delivering on day-to-day activities? And can they meet expectations with already lean staff and resources?

These time constraints are nothing new, but what is new is how administrative staff are tackling the challenge. They are discovering how to strategically leverage today’s best of breed human capital management (HCM) technology to better manage the expectations and demands placed on today’s admin teams to achieve greater business results. By investing in an HCM solution as an integral part of their workforce management strategy, businesses can align and create efficiencies within three core areas of payroll — compliance, processes, and data visibility. This will free up time for an already over burdened admin team to take on
company-driven projects that can add value and improve
bottom-line results for the organization.

3 Key Areas of Payroll

Manual processing of employee data unnecessarily introduces the potential for error, exposing the business not only to direct errors in payroll, but also to compliance issues. Admin teams still using manual processes or disparate systems are faced with an inevitable question:

Isn’t there a better way to use my time?

The answer is “yes!”

A single-source platform for payroll and time and attendance can impact day-to-day operations and free up time for the admin team to focus on higher level activities. We’ll examine three key areas of payroll:

1. Minimizing Compliance Risk

In 2015, Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) wage suits hit an all-time high, totaling 8,781.1 The Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division uncovered more than $246 million in back wages for more than 240,000 workers in fiscal year 2015.2 Given the recent flood of
changes in federal, state, and local regulations, the trend of escalating wage suits is unlikely to abate any time soon.

Unfortunately, many companies simply do not have expertise in every legal and tax change that admin teams and systems need to process payroll appropriately. As administrative leaders address developments in the law, they will need to consider how new rules affect payroll and their organization, as well as how the organization ought to plan to update its systems to stay compliant.

In order to navigate compliance with confidence and assurance, payroll teams need to have trust in their technology solution and services. Ideally, payroll technology solutions should have automatic regulatory and compliance updates pushed to their systems regularly or on demand as needed. This in turn reduces efforts needed to maintain or even customize the payroll system. Moving from a manual, semi-automated or disparate solution to leveraging a fully integrated single platform for payroll and timekeeping can help your company meet regulatory compliance and minimize risk.

whitepaper maximizing time and creating value in payroll

2. Improving Productivity-Doing More With Less

Many organizations are faced with a “do more with less” mandate, which extends to their staffing. Tight budgets are getting even tighter and staffing and resources are being impacted, which can affect the retention of administrative personnel. The expectation is that admin teams can still produce the same quality (or better) and
the same volume of work with fewer resources. Under these circumstances, payroll is being pushed toward streamlined processes, fewer manual processes, and less data entry — changes that are necessary to accomplish routine activities and crucial if payroll is to contribute to the company’s goals and objectives.

Research and metrics of payroll operations found that:

  • Roughly 1.5 admin staffers are responsible for 1000 employees3
  • On average, for every 100 employees there are 79 inquiries annually4
  • The average resolution time for a payroll inquiry is 24 to 48 hours5
  • The most common inquiry is related to pay slip questions, at 25%, followed closely by missing pay, at 22%6

By providing employees with self service and mobile capabilities for basic tasks that would normally involve an admin professional (e.g., tax changes, direct deposit forms, and address changes), there is less paper and manual data entry for the admin professional. This can significantly reduce the amount of time administrators spend on daily routine tasks, thus freeing up time to focus on projects and other initiatives that help drive business goals.

3. Increasing Data Visibility To Drive Business Decisions

In today’s competitive environment, business leaders are looking for more actionable data analysis, configurable dashboards, and consolidated reporting. More often, payroll is being flooded with data requests — not only at year-end so business leaders can view historical performance, but throughout the year so they can gauge performance in real time.

Standard reports are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of the organization. In fact, according to the recent APA Survey of Salaries 2015, Functions Performed by Payroll Staff, there was a 10.5 percent increase in ad-hoc report requests from 2013 to 2015, jumping to
nearly 70 percent of all payroll report requests.7 Much of the data being requested is stored in systems that administrators manage and operate daily.

Technology solutions that are natively integrated ensure the data is accurate and defensible, without multiple sources of the “truth.” Reports that are pulled from a single system into a usable and data-rich format provide business leaders with insights to manage costs and grow the organization, such as detecting performance highs and lows so they can be more agile and responsive in their operations.

Making the Move Toward a Single-Source Payroll Solution

The goal is not to just replicate existing manual processes with a slick integrated applications and data approach. Truly effective HCM solutions are built on a unified platform and utilize a single source for payroll and timekeeping to deliver the improvements
needed for end-to-end processing and creating real efficiencies with lasting value.

whitepaper maximizing time and creating value in payroll

Sources:
1. Aaron Vehling, Wage Suits Hit Record High Amid Focus On Worker Rights, Law 360 (November 25, 2015), found at http://www.law360.com/articles/731018/wage-suits-hitrecord-high-amid-focus-on-worker-rights.
2. Working for a Fair Day’s Pay, United States Department of Labor (March 9, 2016), found at www.dol.gov/whd/statistics.
3. Bloomberg BNA, Payroll Department Benchmarks and Analysis 2015-2016 (2015), at 51.
4. Ibid at 209.
5. Ibid at 188.
6. Virginia McMorrow, at 39.
7. American Payroll Association, 2015 APA Survey of Salaries and the Payroll Profession (2015), at 46.

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