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What innovations have payroll providers delivered in 2020?

With the first half of the year now behind us, the team at LACE wanted to take an overview of what is happening in the payroll space, so we asked Adam in the team to give us an insight into what some of the providers in the payroll space are doing to remain innovative during this challenging year.

As with the global economy, the focus of payroll providers in the first half of 2020 has been fixed on the Covid-19 global pandemic. Many of the technological innovations expected at the beginning of the year have taken a back seat as providers have tried to manage the risks presented to themselves and their clients, ensuring payrolls are delivered whilst maintaining compliance against the backdrop of everchanging legislation.

As we slowly begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel, the attention of payroll leaders appears to be towards increasing efficiency and effectiveness through the consolidation of payroll services. This means having a tighter control over the payroll operating model, the standardisation of processes and a clear and defined strategy for global vendor management.

It is no surprise, therefore, that the developments thus far in 2020 have not been at the level we saw in 2019, particularly through mergers and acquisitions. What we have seen from providers, however, is a focus on advisory capabilities to ensure that payrolls are run accurately and on time.

The marketplace has not been completely silent, however, with some interesting developments coming to the fore:

  • ActivPayroll – The Aberdeen-based payroll provider has expanded its global footprint to provide payroll and tax services in 146 countries. This expansion has come with significant software upgrades (including real-time dashboards, a pay-slip mobile app and a full featured API and validation via RPA to their activ8 platform) expansion of technological alliances (becoming the global payroll partner of choice for Ultimate Software, SagePeople and Cornerstone) and development of its global mobility services.
  • Ceridian – In May 2020 Ceridian released the latest service as part of the Dayforce offering – Dayforce Wallet. This service leverages the continuous calculation capabilities within the Dayforce system for accurate, on-demand payments – allowing people to be paid in real-time.
  • CloudPay – Also in May 2020 CloudPay revealed a new service called “Ask a Payroll Expert”. The free service allows HR and payroll professionals – even if they are not a CloudPay customer – to pose questions to CloudPay’s network of Payroll experts across 130 countries.
  • Immedis – A member of the Taxback Group, Immedis has had a major focus on developing their integrations, recently becoming certified on Ultimate Software and working towards Workday certification. This focus has allowed them to proactively pull required data at the last possible moment in the payroll cycle through web service requests and responses, permitting them to provide a far more sophisticated and optimised payroll processing cycle by dramatically simplifying multi-country payroll processing.
  • Neeyamo – Neeyamo has continued its strong growth as a global payroll provider, having now built native gross-to-net engines for 57 countries and an additional 33 countries are in various stages of testing. Additionally, they announced its successful achievement of SOC 2 Type II compliance – evidencing their long-stated commitment to deliver a high-quality service through strong internal controls.
  • SafeGuard – SafeGuard have had a busy first half to the year. Firstly, building on their acquisition of WorkFor and AdminMe in 2019, they have launched new features to enhance their compliance and employee data management capabilities. In summary, these new features improve the visibility of payroll processing, allowing for their clients to remain compliant whilst quickly expanding into new global markets. Additionally, SafeGuard have managed to secure significant investment from the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Acell-KKR – setting them on a good footing for future innovation.
  • SD Worx – In February 2020 SD Worx acquired Dutch-based software supplier Pointlogic HR. The aim of this acquisition is to help SD Worx develop its offering outside of “traditional payroll” by allowing HR teams to model and plan fringe and non-cash benefits alongside regular payroll runs.
  • Zellis – In June 2020 Zellis announced that it is to build its new HCM cloud solution on Microsoft Azure with the aim of allowing customers to take advantage of value-adding integration opportunities between Zellis solutions and solutions within the wider Microsoft ecosystem, including Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and third-party applications.

In terms of the outlook for the second half of 2020 and into 2021, it appears that the favour to outsource payrolls will continue as organisations look to reduce costs and leverage efficiencies where possible. A recent study by Gartner suggests that much of this growth will be in the Asia-Pacific region, with providers continuing to focus development on this region. What will be interesting as we progress through 2020 and into 2021 will be how payroll leaders manage the risk set through the diversification of vendors across different regions, and how this either enables or hinders their overall strategy.

If you would like to talk to any of the team about your payroll requirements, if you want to make sure your existing provider is delivering you the best possible service or if you are thinking of switching payroll providers, you can talk to the team today. Get in touch by dropping us an email or reach out to Adam directly and we’d be happy to help.