Evolution of Payroll

by Deputy Team, 3 minutes read
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We’ve come a long way in the race to digitize business operations across industries. There’s no greater evidence of this than with payroll processing.

From manual bookkeeping in the 1940s and the introduction of computers for payroll processing in the 1960s, to the founding of the American Payroll Association in the 1980s to today.  Today, payroll processing is operated in the cloud from smartphones and integrated with other business solutions.

It’s amazing to see how far technology has taken payroll processing. Here’s a look back at how payroll moved from the dark ages to the 21st century.


This time period was truly the dark ages for payroll.  Tallying employee hours was done manually in ledgers and checks were handwritten with numbers and bank codes, hardly automated!  The term “outsourcing payroll” actually meant that you were paying someone else to manually calculate and tally up payroll, instead of doing it yourself.  It wasn’t until General Motors established an “automation department” that automated payroll, or any business workflow for that matter, became a topic of interest.


This was the decade where payroll processing got a major facelift.  Even though IBM’s first computer came out in 1953, it wasn’t until 1962 that computer science became an actual area of study in the United States, and soon thereafter, an official requirement for businesses looking to stay competitive and automate manual processes.


By the 1980s dozens of payroll companies began to emerge.  Payroll innovators were hungry to find the “the latest” computer tech to make payroll processing simple and more streamlined. At this time, payroll management was finally becoming easier to do and so affordable that companies of all sizes could end their payroll headaches by outsourcing this complicated, yet critical, task.

The Present

Today, there are thousands of enterprise-level payroll processing solutions, like ADP, Xero, Intuit and PayChex, as well as solutions optimized for smaller businesses such as Gusto and Square – all of which integrate with Deputy.  In fact, Deputy integrates with more than 15 payroll software providers and counting.

By integrating Deputy with an existing payroll provider, business owners can:

  • Integrate sales and labor costs into Deputy for a realistic view of business performance

  • Optimize employee scheduling based on the highs and lows of projected business sales or traffic patterns

  • Seamlessly track and monitor employee overtime, late clock-ins and tips

  • Organize scheduling in real time based on employee availability and time-off requests

  • Instantly share schedules with all employees via email, SMS or push notifications via the Deputy app

  • Allow employees to clock in and out of work from Deputy Kiosk using facial detection technology, smartphones with GPS validation or even via text message

  • Review and approve employee time cards straight from your mobile phone via the Deputy app

  • Instantly process payroll with any payroll service provider

This kind of automation saves managers hours on end each month, and helps business owners and finance teams have a more accurate view of cash going out and cash coming in.

For example, Derek Belnap, owner of 3 Cups Café in Utah, integrates Deputy with payroll processing provider Xero to obtain a more accurate view of his café’s financial performance in real time, based on sales and payroll.  Using our employee scheduling software, Derek can also create employee schedules based on internal forecasts of peak business times, all via his smartphone.

Here at Deputy, we’re always pushing the limits of what’s possible by moving the needle forward when it comes to making daily business workflows quicker and more efficient. Do you have a workflow productivity or Deputy integration tip to share? Tweet to us @DeputyApp to let us know!

Interested in learning how you can make payroll processing easier and more efficient by integrating with Deputy? Try Deputy for free today at Deputy.com or call us at 1-855-6-DEPUTY (855-633-7889).