What challenges does payroll face in 2017?

Payroll Services Alliance 3rd Jul 2017

This is the fifth installment in our Payroll Services Alliance (PSA) series, which explores topical issues in Payroll and HR. This time around, PSA members Trianon, Seresco, F2A and Aditro give some insight into potential obstacles to payroll in 2017.

Payroll is constantly innovating, and the industry has seen wide-ranging benefits from the implementation of new standardised practices and streamlined automation technology. Like any other business function, however, payroll has its challenges. Our PSA members discussed the most significant obstacles they felt are facing payroll and HR professionals in 2017 and beyond, as well as the ongoing problems surrounding the adoption of automated payroll systems.

Trianon believes that increased outsourcing from companies with regard to their HR function is going to change the existing requirements of payroll professionals. The growing demand for HR analytics, as companies look to make smarter decisions informed by data, will lead to the need for better qualified personnel. For Trianon, the 2017 payroll worker will have to be able to adopt a more holistic approach towards any and issues that arise in payroll.

Seresco agreed that the need for access to strategic information around payroll is a pressing challenge. Furthermore, Seresco believe the likelihood of greater access to foreign markets means providers must be capable of adapting and delivering payrolls according to specific national regulations. Aditro backed up Seresco here, stating that the greatest challenge for providers will be integration. They argued that as more and more systems and tools develop globally, local payroll solutions have to maintain compatibility.

Trianon said that a general challenge for payroll automation is specificity. Its own experience with international firms has demonstrated how there is a large degree of variance from company to company. It seems that a qualified and competent payroll officer is always going to be required to ensure quality payroll processes.

F2A is confident that today all companies are aware of the benefits and of the usefulness of IT systems, particularly in the administrative field, for the payroll and the accounting management. Because of this, F2A do not think that there are real obstacles to adopt automated systems, if not the costs, both of the initial investment and of the maintenance and technological upgrades, including data security. This is the reason why companies are increasingly relying their payroll & HR management to qualified outsourcing service providers.

The new fact for payroll professionals is the affirmation of new technologies, in particular mobile applications and big data, and the “social” dimension of communication within companies, says F2A. Therefore, the challenge to win is to combine administrative facts such as payroll, which are traditional by their nature, with these new ways of interacting between employees and employers, and also to be able to give strategic meaning to the managed data.

On the other hand, Aditro concurred that the complexity of local markets and their specific requirements presents a barrier to the full automation of payroll systems. Standardisation, they felt, is expensive and complex, which will discourage many companies from automation. Seresco emphasised that payroll adaptation is open to being affected by a range of socio-financial trends. The emergence of new platforms, market requirements or legal stipulations directly or indirectly present challenges to payroll, and this state of flux makes full automation a difficult goal to achieve.

The diaspora between local payroll solutions and developing global industry trends continues to throw up challenges for everyone involved in HR and payroll. Whether it’s increased access to foreign markets, wider-ranging outsourcing solutions that drive the need for new skills, or the complexities of standardisation, any player in payroll needs to keep their wits about them and have a high degree of adaptability to ensure that they continue to keep pace with the rest of the industry.

To learn more about what the Payroll Services Alliance can do for your business, please get in touch.

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