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What does the future of payroll look like?

Payroll Services Alliance 29th Jan 2018

Technology is ever-evolving, and the payroll industry is no exception to feeling its force in terms of transformational value. Payroll departments worldwide need to embrace the latest technology to achieve a competitive edge—and to be able to constantly improve user experience while reducing the manual workload of payroll professionals.

But what technology is likely to impact the payroll industry in the not-so-distant future?

Smarter data through advanced analytics

Big data and advanced analytics will have a huge impact on the services that payroll providers offer. Organisations want more than simply outsourcing a business process to a third-party provider: they also seek smarter data. To ensure that payroll providers can harness real-time data, however, this smart data should be accessible at any time and in any location.

Employee mobility will continue to rise

Additionally, mobility will increasingly impact on the payroll of tomorrow. Payroll professionals are already moving from paper to mobile payslips, with real-time travel management and reporting. To guarantee smooth and seamless payroll, a focus on the integration between travel and time in payroll processes should be enforced.

Currencies moving online

Cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency that is designed to be secure, and sometimes anonymous. Blockchain technology is a public digital ledger that records all transactions using cryptocurrency. Many mainstream businesses are now accepting cryptocurrencies as payment for products and services, including Amazon.

Blockchain technology is transforming the way systems record and store information—industries are applying it to any situation that calls for a trustworthy record. This technology has the potential to change the way businesses carry out payroll processes by improving efficiency, security and visibility.

Blockchain can be a useful solution for organisations that conduct payroll internationally, for example. Payroll overseas is often linked to increased processing times due to the many third parties involved, and managing the constant shifting of world currencies can lead to inefficiencies.

Complexity in overseas payroll can result in large costs for companies and leave employees waiting to be paid – a situation no organisations wants to find themselves in. Blockchain technology could help reduce cross-border payroll fees for employers, as well as minimise the wait time for employees.

Using a decentralised ledger, blockchain’s structure is secure, can deliver payment to staff in real time, and can handle shifting currencies as a result of cryptocurrency.

However, there are clear compliance and regulatory issues with cryptocurrency—until a regulatory framework is introduced, these exist alongside potentially dramatic legal implications.

Robotics and automation

In payroll, as in other industries, uneasiness around automation and robotics is common among practitioners, managers and business leaders. But is it the level of apprehension justified?

Professionals’ hesitation towards automation can be blamed in part on a gap in education around its advantages. When the most mundane, lengthy manual tasks and everyday functions become automated, employees’ attention moves to more valuable activities—ultimately allowing them to deliver a perform better, and use their time more productively, for the business.

For proof of this, payroll professionals need only look to other functions and industries that have already been improved by the application of automation and robotics, for example marketing and manufacturing.

As the payroll industry opens its arms to automation, departments in the industry can evolve, and become more accurate, efficient and valuable to the organisation overall. To work towards this goal, international businesses must equip payroll teams with next-generation toolset capabilities to allow increasingly sophisticated, data-driven payroll management.

How to succeed in the future of payroll

Today, regardless of knowledge and experience required to do a job well, it’s essential be supported by the most advanced technologies – and to stay informed with their progress. It’s this that will clearly differentiate between industry players that survive and thrive on one hand, and those laggards that potentially cease to exist.

It goes without saying that technology has a firm role in the payroll industry already—and with the rise of advanced analytics, automation and employee mobility amongst others, it will have an even stronger impact in the future.

The most forward-thinking payroll professionals will take the lead, advancing alongside increasingly tech-savvy employees, particularly with Gen Z in the workplace. The payroll industry must continue to embrace new technology, or else it risks falling behind.

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

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