At the present moment you may well be thinking that the payroll department is the centre of the corporate universe.
Perhaps too, you are certain that organisations that rely on human capital, rightly consider their payroll department to be its primary axis.
These days most organisations simply cannot function without their dedicated payroll administrators sitting behind their personal computers, balancing countless figures whilst also faithfully keeping all the organisation’s human resource records in perfect order.
Stop. Reality Check!
Stop. The reality check is this: whilst the preceding introductory consideration may well be an accurate assessment of the current status quo in most organisations, the time has arrived for the (sensible) strategic thinking human capital professional to look towards the distant horizon, in order to consider the strong likelihood that the dedicated payroll department (as we know it), may well be ‘extinct’ within the next 5 years.
With that distant horizon fast-approaching, let us consider what the future of the payroll department might involve by highlighting 5 specialised services that it (in all likelihood) may need to offer the organisation in the not too distant future.
Provisioning of an all-inclusive Human Capital Management (HCM) solution
Market-leading HCM-solution software offers the fullest, most inclusive spectrum of operational functionality. Suppliers of preferred HCM software solutions are increasingly beginning to ensure that they cater for the broadest range of HCM functions that a successful and profitable organisation requires: from workforce acquisition, to workforce management, to workforce optimisation.
For example, software functionality is likely to include the facilitation of cutting-edge recruitment best-practices, inventive application of face-to-face and online training tools, optimal leveraging of automated skills-evaluation tools, the implementation of progressive performance evaluation controls, the rolling out of comprehensive digital document cloud-storage, and options to make constant software-adaptations to payroll management processes.
Consequently, we are seemingly fast-beginning to see the end of purposed (i.e. isolated) payroll-only software solutions. On the rapidly approaching distant horizon, we are already beginning to see suppliers of ‘all-rounder’ HCM solutions claiming the traditional purposed/isolated payroll solution space.
Facilitating technical compliance with the utmost of ease
Nowadays, easily implementable software-development tweaks easily caters for additional HCM parameters to be built into software products. For example, consider your organisation’s ever-increasing need to speedily respond to ever-changing tax-table formulae. In a case such as this, the discerning human capital professional needs to procure a HCM solution that offers the fullest scope for manifold legislative requirements to be amended and managed with the greatest of ease (without experiencing any upgrade downtime either).
Progressive HCM executives (inclusive of their functional management teams) ought to be excellent all-rounders. The HCM function make a truly relevant contribution towards the realisation of line-management’s operational contribution to the organisation. After all, this is what the organisation’s executive management team expects — nothing less.
For example, innovative HCM-solution software allows line-management to authorise all payroll-related documentation. Consequently, in most cases, not only does the line-manager take usual accountability for production processes and outputs, but he/she now also takes a (shared) accountability for the employees working in his/her department.
At Paymaster Payroll, some of our clients (whom we provide our HCM-solution to) are beginning to (confidently) allow their line-mangers to process the full payroll-run for their respective department/s. For example, line-management is empowered with the management of additional cost-incurring overtime hours and takes responsibility for making changes to employees’ basic salary settings. The Paymaster Payroll HCM-solution ingeniously encourages line-management to take empowering accountability for the safe-keeping of relevant documents and files — in an extremely safe, secure and risk-free environment, if the supplementary online cloud-server storage is used.
Additionally, further empowerment of line-management is made possible when, for example, a line manger personally manages the full interview process: from the reviewing of CV’s/resumés, right through to the online cloud-capture of the interviewers’ notes, comments and recommendations.
Thus, as demonstrated in the aforementioned examples, it’s clearly evident that there is no longer any need for the dedicated payroll department to manage these HCM processes. Further, from an auditing control/oversight perspective, at the very end of the ‘production line’, the financial manager simply ‘signs off’ (i.e. approves) the payroll-run. Thus we see that, in this case, a dedicated payroll department is indeed unnecessary.
Distributed accountability through employee self-service tools
It is becoming increasingly popular (and practical) for employees to be entrusted with the accountability of maintaining their own biographical data, submitting and administering (online) their own leave applications (which is also ‘online-authorised’ by their line-manager). Immediately thereafter, all leave records are automatically updated.
By employing this process of ‘distributed accountability’ employees are given access to self-service tools that smartly facilitates the submission of their own overtime claims, …the input of their own subsistence and travel-allowance claims, …and the facilitation of numerous other (ad-hoc) employee-specific claims — all processed via the integrated self-service functionality of progressive HCM-solution software.
Employee self-service tools may also be programmed to allow unrestricted access to an employee’s personal payslip and tax certificate archive — which is (most) conveniently stored on your organisation’s dedicated secure servers, or online in a secure (shared) cloud-server environment.
Easy access to data analysis and exception reporting tools
In the present business-era where real-time decision-making is becoming increasingly necessary and (perhaps even) desired, HCM-solution software must possess a reporting-ability to enable managers (at various levels within the organisation) to instantaneously gain access to meaningful reports that facilitate informed (and accurate) management decisions.
With progressive HCM-solution software, skilled and informed financial mangers no longer require reams of printed documents in order to get a glimpse of what’s happening in his or her department (or within the entire organisation for that matter). With a single login instance, a request for a report, accompanied with the shortest of waiting periods, will allow a comprehensive payroll-run for thousands of employees to be authorised (without worrying that multiple errors may result).
With exception reporting and approval processes, the era of individual-entry verification and interim payroll-run verification checks is fast coming to an end.
Responding to the challenge — prepare for change
Should the reader of this article be suitably convinced that we may well be seeing a future where the dedicated payroll department may well be ‘extinct’ within the next 5 years, here are a few suggestions on how you may respond to the challenge by suitably preparing for imminent change:
— Make a critical analysis of what kind of HCM-solution software that your organisation will need in order to adequately prepare for a future that has no dedicated payroll department.
— As a payroll professional, periodic personal introspection is crucial to your career growth and success within the HCM field of expertise. Constantly consider what new skills you may require in order to remain employable and, (more importantly) to remain relevant once employed.
— From an organisational perspective, adequate training (at various levels) coupled with progressive change-management practices, needs to take place on a regular basis. In this regard, be sure that you do your homework thoroughly.
— Always consider your relevance factor. By setting a time-constraint to your medium-term career planning, constantly assess how you are you going to reinvent yourself (particularly within the next 5 years), in order maintain the highest ‘relevance factor’ that you are capable of.
This article presumes the almost inevitable arrival of a future where the dedicated payroll department is fast on its way towards becoming ‘extinct’ within the next 5 years. As this distant future horizon fast-approaches, a prudent planning approach—to be taken by the discerning strategic thinking Human Capital Management (HCM) professional—will see him/her taking proactive and decisive steps towards transitioning to what the future (almost certainly) promises to be. Be sure to source HCM-solution software that not only keeps your HCM function relevant, but guarantees that you maintain (or improve upon) your HCM relevance factor too.