3 minute read

Glyn King, of Datagraphic, looks at technology and document automation resolutions payroll can achieve in 2019.

Embracing the step change

Findings in the recently published CIPP Future of Payroll Report, will no doubt have sparked ideas for your payroll operations in the year ahead.

Equally, for payroll – where the mantra has long been ‘paying employees accurately and on time’ – topics in the report on digital transformation, automating business processes and delivering greater customer services may be unnerving.

If you identify with this feeling you’re not alone. ‘Automation of business processes’ and ‘implementing a new system’ both feature in the top 7 key issues facing payroll from the CIPP report.

So how can payroll keep pace with rapid technological change without compromising such a vital need to pay people on time?

For me, new technology and business processes should evolve not disrupt. In my experience, far reaching change projects are often delayed or put at risk where significant investment is required or the resources for a three year implementation needed.

My advice is to think big, but start small. Identify projects you can implement quickly and use them as a step change, rather than a leap, towards your goals. Here’s a starting point for some document automation steps you can take with your payroll communications, to deliver results before the close of 2019.

Doing digital without software change

Digital transformation is a big subject right now, and with 63% of UK organisations committed to a digital strategy, it’s not something to ignore.

At this point, I should say digital transformation does not automatically imply changing your payroll software. In fact with 75% of respondents to the CIPP Future of Payroll Report being ‘very satisfied’ or ‘satisfied’ with their current payroll software, making the case for change would be an unnecessary distraction.

Start with your documents

Reviewing how documents are communicated to employees is a great first step. For example, consider your payslips, P60s, P45s, P11D, time sheets and reward or pension statements, what systems do you use to create them and how are they distributed to full or part-time employees, temporary workers and pensioners?

In my experience – and shown in the results from the CIPP Future of Payroll Report distribution of payroll documents is often fragmented.

In many organisations steps have been made to go digital (with epayslips) but using legacy payroll software, five years or older. The digital options here are limited, creating situations where payroll have some employees online, but others – perhaps weekly paid employees, temporary workers and pensioners – off-system who still need to be manually administered. This creates inefficiencies and additional cost.

As part of a document review, consider secure third-party solutions like Datagraphic’s Epay that can complement your payroll software to provide epayslips to more employees. They work by taking data from your system (rather than replacing it) so can be implemented in weeks and employees view payslips over the internet so don’t need corporate system access or a company email.

At Datagraphic, our Epay application also suggests 60% of employees prefer to view their payroll documents online from a mobile device. As part of any document review understand how your employees get online so you can deliver a better customer service, by providing documents in a format employees want to view. Consider a short survey to employees ahead of any digital implementation to ensure the documents you plan to offer online will be accessed.

Moving payslips online is only part of a digital document success story. As I mentioned above there are a wealth of documents generated by payroll that typically don’t get digitalised because they are generated by different systems (such as pension or reward and benefits). Again explore secure UK third-party employee communications solutions – like Datagraphic’s Epay – there are options today to move these documents online without changing your systems and single sign-on features so employees don’t need to log in to different systems to view their information.

What about print?

What is noticeable from the CIPP Future of Payroll Report is that few organisations are achieving 100% digital with many still printing payroll documents to post, hand deliver or for employee collection. For payroll, which is often undertaken by a small team of people or an individual, to see productivity gains new ways of working will be needed to automate 100% of document distribution.

Automating document distribution doesn’t mean everything has to be online or carried out by a robot, but it does mean removing the manual and repetitive tasks that are distracting. When you’ve identified the payroll documents that can be delivered online, look also at how you can automate the residual print.

This could mean securely transferring your data to third-party printers, like Datagraphic, who can print and mail documents to employees who don’t have any means to view them online, creating a multi-channel approach to distribution.

In conclusion, for the payroll profession to evolve – to deliver more strategic value – the use of technology and automation tools is essential: to free time and ‘mind-space’ from operational tasks in 2019 and beyond. Why not start your document review today?