3 Overused Excuses for Not Upgrading Payroll

by Katie Sawyer, 3 minutes read
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Behind many well-known and successful service brands are outdated, inefficient, and error-prone payroll data flows that are entirely out of sync with the image these brands present to the public.

In an age of accelerated automation, many businesses are instead still using paper, spreadsheets, and a mix of disconnected systems. Here are some of the common excuses you may have heard — or even used — when it comes to updating payroll systems.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

The first reason holding back change in payroll is that many organizations are scared of breaking a system that works, even if it’s cumbersome. It’s the same reason many financial firms are still running their core systems on aging mainframe software.

High-profile technology nightmares like TSB’s botched IT upgrade in 2018 serve as a grim warning of what can happen when financial technology is upgraded. Old “green screen” systems programmed decades ago, and full of hard-coded rules create a great deal of “legacy spaghetti” that can be tough to untangle.

People are getting paid

In many retail and services operations, there’s a communication gap between employees and corporate leadership.

While management assumes their staff is getting paid, they’re unaware of delayed or inaccurate paychecks. And decision-makers are shielded from the administrative burden necessary to keep the payroll system running. So while staff are still getting paid, leaders don’t see any of the problems.

Someone else’s problem

Then of course there’s the pass the bucket excuse where no one will claim that they “own” payroll. In businesses with hourly paid and shift workers, operational managers and supervisors are responsible for collecting timesheets and managing approvals.

HR and finance manage different stages of the process, and as long as their part works correctly, there’s little incentive for either team to look at the “big picture” from time capture to processing pay. This lack of ownership is another common excuse for inefficient payroll processes.

How to fix a broken payroll

There’s a simple one-word answer to fixing the payroll process: digitization. Happily, today this doesn’t mean ripping out and expensively disrupting an entrenched system.

The convergence of mobile apps, cloud-based data, and API technology means that any organization can immediately shift to a more efficient way of managing payroll data flow. Here are some tips to help you fix your broken payroll.

  • Invest in software that ensures accurate timekeeping: Instead of relying on paper timesheets, select a staff management software that allows employees to clock in and out using a mobile app, onsite kiosk, or even SMS text. Geolocation features can confirm the employees’ location, ensuring accurate time recording.
  • Find a system that seamlessly integrates your payroll: With an Open API and an extensive network of integration partners, staff management software can integrate easily into corporate payroll systems, eliminating the other key manual step in the data flow process for gross pay.
  • Focus on reporting: Your systems should create an accurate audit trail of employee details such as timesheets and wage allocation, making it easy to manage pay rates, as well as calculate leave, track the exact time worked, breaks taken, and paid time off.

Transformational change for your business

Every business starts small. But administrative overheads often grow as organizations scale up. And if you’re constantly on the defensive dealing trying to solve different issues, how are you supposed to reach the next level? Check out Taking the Pain Out of Hourly Payroll to discover how your payroll problem can be a thing of the past.