Eight questions to find your perfect payroll match

by Dr Denise Tan02 May 2017
Every organisation has its own unique set of needs when it comes to payroll. From budget to workforce complexity to tax considerations, you can bet there is a software or outsourcing service to suit your business.

However, there are endless offerings to investigate, and settling for the wrong payroll partner can end up costly. Here are eight key considerations to help narrow your search.

How big is your organisation?

Most payroll software/ service providers will have a target range to which they can fulfil your needs to the best of their abilities. It is generally a good idea to find out who their target market is.

For example, are you a small business with less than 50 staff, or a larger company with a thousand employees? Often, the first differentiator of whether a payroll software/ service is right for you begins by finding out the business size they cater to.

Keep in mind the growth roadmap of your business too. If you are planning to expand tenfold over the next five years, you may need a vendor that can adapt to your business scaling up.

In-house or outsource?

The well-worn question of keeping your payroll in-house or outsourced is a tricky one.

If there is a designated payroll person or team within your organisation that could do with streamlining a few processes, a single source software where all processes are automated and streamlined could be the answer.

However, if your HR person doubles as your payroll team and errors in payroll are a common occurrence, it’s time to consider outsourcing to a professional team that can oversee all your payroll needs.

Our guest expert Tracy Angwin, CEO of the Australian Payroll Association, shares her thoughts on the in-house vs outsource conundrum here.

How complex is your workforce?

If everyone in your organisation is on the same type of employment contract, then a software or provider with basic functions is what you need.

However, if you have a range of full-time, casual, and permanent part-time staff as larger organisations do, then you need to be able to handle payroll complexity.

How will you access your payroll?

Whether you choose a software solution or payroll outsourcing vendor, it is increasingly important to have some form of self-service capabilities for both managers and employees.

Instead of relying on HR to process simple requests or update details, a self-service dashboard empowers both line managers and employees to take charge of their information.

From submitting timesheets to rostering to leave requests, having access to key work processes on any device can greatly reduce administration effort while ensuring greater efficiency.

What about HR?

Would you like your payroll software with a side of human capital management?

While some businesses prefer to keep their HR and payroll functions separate, they generally struggle with keeping data integrity across all disparate systems.

However, having a single source of truth can help you sidestep interdepartmental bureaucracy, especially when you need to retrieve accurate information quickly.

A cloud enabled HRIS does just that, overseeing a wide range of tasks from payroll to performance management and succession planning.

Do you need software integration?

Why stop at consolidating your HR and payroll processes?

A great payroll vendor should have developed a host of APIs that can integrate with most systems used by business, leading to a true consolidation of data that informs every day decision-making.

After all, the whole point of consolidating processes in the cloud is to create a seamless workflow experience where employees are able to operate efficiently.  
 
What level of customer support do you require?

Like every good partner, your payroll vendor should support you.

If you’re looking for a payroll system to be managed by your in-house payroll team, look for a vendor who will spend the time training your team to use the new system optimally. This way, your payroll team is well-equipped to handle queries from all levels of staff.

On the other hand, an excellent outsourcing vendor should be capable of handling queries directly from all employees, removing for the need for an internal person to act as an interface.

Either way, your chosen software or service provider should allocate a team of experts you can contact to address any questions that may arise relating to pay processing, award interpretation and more.

Who handles reporting?

Companies are finding it increasingly important to have deep business insights at their fingertips for quick decision-making. Seek out a payroll system that is able to generate the types of reports frequently used by your business.  

Also, keep in mind that in Australia, all payroll software and service providers need to be Single Touch Payroll compatible by July 2018 to ensure business reporting compliance.

Dr Denise Tan is from Affinity Employer Services. Affinity’s goal is simple: to make your organisation more productive. Founded in 1987, Affinity has developed clever software that streamlines complex payroll and HR processes through technology and automation. Designed for businesses employing 150+ staff, Affinity provides a suite of cloud-enabled tools to manage payroll and HR tasks from any device.

Affinity can also take care of your payroll needs, offering fully-managed payroll services. Follow Affinity HR & Payroll on LinkedIn, Twitter or visit us at www.affinityteam.com




 

COMMENTS

  • by Matthew Addison (www.icb.org.au) 25/05/2017 3:04:12 PM

    Hi please note an incorrect statement in your article
    "Also, keep in mind that in Australia, all payroll software and service providers need to be Single Touch Payroll compatible by July 2017 to ensure business reporting compliance."

    No employer has to be single touch payroll compatible by july 2017. This is the start date that in theory the ATO will be ready and early adopters may start to be involved in STP.

    The actual dates are:
    1 April 2018 all employers to do a head count and if over 19 then you are a substantial employer and that means you will need to START reporting your payroll through STP as of 1 July 2018.

    The start date therefore is 1 July 2018.

    We are a member of the STP Advisory Group and the Design Working Group.

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