The trend of companies moving strategically essential systems to the cloud isn’t new, but the pandemic has put adoption on overdrive for people-related systems. Payroll is high on this list.
Since the start of the current lockdown, I’ve increasingly been hearing about the extra burden placed on payroll departments. When questioned about it in more detail, the most frequent complaint is needing to go into an office to perform various payroll-related tasks. I’m starting to wish I had a fiver for every time I hear “if only we’d switched to an integrated cloud-based payroll solution last summer”!
And that makes sense because payroll is a critical business function. You have to pay your people accurately and on time, but the changes forced by the pandemic have brought in new layers of complexity. This makes it more time-consuming and stressful.
Before Covid-19, most companies were satisfied with a payroll process that paid employees on time. But with so many employees now working from home, companies need their payroll systems to offer real-time insights. Additionally, many companies are finding that their current payroll solutions just don’t have the flexibility to adapt to the changes the pandemic has brought about.
So it’s not surprising that there’s a trend toward newer, more agile payroll systems. Most of these are cloud-based since that’s where vendors are building their next-generation offerings. And that’s good because, merely by being in the cloud as opposed to being installed on a customer’s own servers (on-premise), a more modern payroll system offers additional advantages. Let’s look at a few of them:
Lower Ownership Costs
With no in-house servers to buy and maintain, no office space to house the servers and no upgrades to buy and implement, cloud-based SaaS payroll solutions offer a higher return-on-investment than on-premise software. The SaaS model of an annual subscription, instead of buying a full licence, also eliminates the licence’s up-front cost.
And it’s not only licence costs savings: updates are handled by the software provider and implemented remotely. This eliminates the need for extra effort from in-house IT teams, no lengthy downtimes, and payroll practitioners always have access to the most current version of the payroll solution.
More Easily Accessed
Even before the pandemic, there was a growing trend of work being done outside of the office. And of course, now a majority of employees have to work from home. We are also seeing an increasing number of companies moving away from the traditional 9-5 work day and encouraging remote working, even if not stipulated by legislation. One immediate benefit of moving your payroll to the cloud is the ability to access it from any device. That means payroll and HR people and line managers can process and approve payroll from wherever they are.
Better Employee Communication
Modern cloud-based payroll solutions offer employee self-service portals. These reduce the legwork that often falls to payroll and HR teams ahead of every payday. Employees with access to a self-service portal can see their payslips, check their payment history and benefits, update their contact information, and, in some systems, even make holiday requests. This self-service functionality offers significant benefits to the entire company: employees and line managers as well as HR and payroll staff alike. It also increases employee engagement by giving them more control and contributes significantly to satisfaction levels and employee well-being.
Flexibility for Last-Minute Changes
Most payroll practitioners have had cases where right before (or sometimes right after!) the payroll run, a manager calls to say that one of their team had some sick time that wasn’t registered in time or someone has been furloughed. At best, that can mean a last-minute adjustment that can delay the payroll run for everyone. Sometimes it means the adjustment will have to wait until the following payroll to be addressed. So running payroll is all too often a frantic “down-to-the-wire” rush. With a cloud-based payroll system, that rush is easier to manage: more modern user interfaces mean that last-minute changes can be easily made. And because so many functions are automated, manual errors are almost a thing of the past.
Perhaps the most significant single driver for companies to adopt cloud-based payroll systems is the need to comply with ever-changing rules and regulations in addition to changing employment conditions. With older on-platform systems this needs regular updates to the software and causes untold upheaval. With a cloud-based system, the software provider keeps the system updated centrally. So new rules around furlough payments, etc. are accommodated without the payroll team changing anything in the system.
There are several other reasons for moving to a cloud-based payroll system: reduced carbon footprint, reduced admin for payroll and HR staff, scalability, the security of data, etc.
If you’re thinking that now might be a good time to look at moving your payroll to the cloud, give us a call, and let’s have a chat.
This post was written by Tugela People. They are an exhibitor on the Consulting & Advisory Partner floor of the HRTech247 Partners Hall here.