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Evolving working habits call for changes to payroll systems

By Ian Fitzgerald, HR and Payroll Service Delivery Director, Liberata

Flexible working arrangements are becoming increasingly popular, with nearly 4 million people in the UK on flexi-time employment contracts compared to 3.2 million in 2013. It’s a trend that shows no signs of slowing down and now that ministers are set to confirm laws to protect flexible working, it is likely that this will, encourage more workers to put their requests for a change in contracts.

These variations in employee working models, as well as annualised hours and job shares call for organisations to assess the potential impact on payroll and evaluate the non-compliance risks. With the furlough scheme ending and yet another National Insurance legislation changing, payroll departments will need to continue demonstrating greater resilience to navigate the complex and ever-changing legal environment.

Unsung business heroes should benefit from integration

Payroll departments have often been undervalued but their perseverance and professionalism through the pandemic proved they are one of the most valuable teams in any organisation. Quickly recognised as key workers, payroll professionals have single-handedly kept the global workforce paid on time and correctly. Businesses rely heavily on payroll professionals to manage fast-changing compliance and regulation requirements, however, they also expect greater flexibility and efficiency in light of the evolving working habits and increased reliance on freelance or temporary staff.

One thing standing in the way is the dependency on not-fit-for-purpose legacy systems that do not relieve payroll professionals of time-consuming admin-heavy tasks. Unfortunately, the scepticism and uneasiness about implementing integrated HR and payroll solutions is still present in many organisations today which is largely due to poor past experiences where the technology installed failed to provide the economies of scale, putting many businesses off from trying again. It is, however, time to leave the past fears behind as advancements in technology have come a long way and continue to dramatically benefit many departments.

For payroll professionals chasing payments and processing invoices, the solutions need to ensure rapid setup, timely billing and robust cashflow. The integration of HR and payroll software can help significantly with accuracy and automation, ensuring all systems are managed consistently and a minimal number of manual interventions are needed to complete a process. The accuracy is specifically crucial for payroll professionals who must remain compliant with many legislations, for example GDPR or IR35 rules, and changing working models to avoid unnecessary fines. With many employees now making use of flexible hours, it can be hard to tell how much they should be paid – especially for those on an hourly rate. Adopting an outsourced solution can, therefore, give payroll professionals much-needed peace of mind and total confidence in their data security and compliance.

The integration of HR and payroll solutions also provides professionals with a single set of up-to-date data. With information flowing through the systems more freely and no longer in siloes, payroll departments can significantly reduce the headaches of trying to find the right data and improve their reporting and efficiency as a result. With greater automation, payroll teams can finally benefit from streamlined processes and eliminate unnecessary repetition that is often taking the all-important time away from more business-critical tasks. Having an integrated solution also increases employee engagement as when less errors in payroll occur, job satisfaction can flourish.

Driving businesses forward with seamless payroll support

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Existing payroll processes and systems stretch payroll departments to their maximum with the amount of duplicated administrative tasks and continuous manual updates. With the evolving working models, it is time to support the expertise of today’s payroll professionals and reduce their workload. Through integrated outsourced HR and payroll solutions they can ensure all employee record are always updated and accurate, and that everyone in the business is paid correctly and on time. Flexible on-demand support can help them hold the compliance fort by navigating the changes of new government regulations quicker and easier. With payroll departments running smoothly, business leaders can sleep better knowing all their employees have been accurately rewarded for their hard work. And they can move forward with their growth plans with a happy, productive workforce.

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