Resilient payroll in a changing world

Change is afoot! Business, and society at large, is on the cusp of a new and never seen before challenge; a challenge that will create unprecedented levels of uncertainty and will alter organisations as we know them. To navigate these stormy seas, businesses will need to be ready to adapt and flex, changing their approach and find new ways of working – adding more noise into already complex organisations.

It goes without saying that this time of uncertainty will be difficult for all. Business-critical processes that require accurate inputs to produce results on time, such as payroll, will be particularly impacted. And as businesses pivot their approach dependent on economic and legislative winds, payroll can be sure to see challenges heading its way.

The challenges for payroll

As experienced HR and payroll professionals, we know that the next few months will produce critical tests we need to pass, but in what form will these challenges present themselves to us? We see there being three areas of friction for payroll in this post-pandemic world:

Rapid business change

Payroll teams will need to manage the tsunami of data changes produced by this period of uncertainty. To stay on top of the shifting economic sands, businesses will be forced to modify and reshape their organisations. This in practice means regular reorganisations and changes to resource composition, resulting in significant differences in payroll data from month to month, with the potential requirement for more and more last-minute data changes. Such data changes will need to be reflected quickly, accurately and on time!

Changing legislation

Different legislation in different regions, both domestically and internationally, will cause greater variance in payroll data and increase control and reporting requirements. This will mean that greater oversight and understanding of the detail across multiple regions will be required to ensure inconsistencies and errors are identified and remediated where they arise.

Managing multiple vendors

The presence of multiple payroll vendors (either through choice or the sub-contracting of local payrolls by the current main supplier) could lead to a lack of consistency in approach, as providers adapt to new local requirements in differing ways. Such a division in approach by providers will require more effort from payroll managers to understand where and why differences occur, stretching the already restricted capacity for payroll managers and their teams.

Strengthen your foundations

The main vein running through the issues outlined above is that the uncertainty of the near future will add further noise to already complex organisations. Payroll’s best approach to cutting through this noise to obtain consistent and accurate data is to develop a clearly articulated and defined payroll service that the business can rely on.

This type of payroll service will need to rely on four key principles:

  1. There must be a codified payroll operating model (including defined processes, distinct capabilities, and clear data model) with strong data validation through the integration of HR and Payroll systems.
  2. Payroll teams should standardise processes, as much as possible, across businesses and regions that will allow for a consistent service level to be delivered.
  3. There must be clear and robust data handoffs between HR, Finance and Payroll to ensure the integrity and validity of people data within the organisation.
  4. Payroll teams will need a well-defined strategy for global vendor management, including ongoing opportunities to identify service improvements.

Cutting through the noise

We are, without doubt, in the midst of global uncertainty – uncertainty that will impact payroll teams. By aligning your payroll service to the three principles above, payroll teams can begin to cut through the noise of business uncertainty and continue to deliver an excellent service, accurately and on time.

You can find out more about how LACE Partners can help you with your payroll offering by visiting our dedicated website here, or get in contact with us.