Avoid payroll misconceptions

Technology has made the lives of HR professionals significantly easier – but what are its limitations? And how does that affect payroll? Mark Kimberling of TMF Group shares his thoughts

Avoid payroll misconceptions

There’s no question that technology has made the lives of HR professionals easier. Onboarding employees, carrying out assessments, providing evidence of the efficacy of HR initiatives – and much more – have all been able to be heavily automated or at least streamlined, thanks to modern computing.

In part due to these developments, there has led to an overall shift away from HR being focused on day-to-day administration and towards a more “visionary” approach around steering company culture. But Mark Kimberling, Global HR & Payroll Operations Director of TMF Group, cautions that technology isn’t necessarily the catch-all solution that it’s sometimes touted to be. A shift in direction doesn’t mean that the fundamentals can be forgotten.

“We’re still in a people business,” explains Kimberling. “There have been huge advances in places like cloud-based technologies, but we still need to keep people at the forefront and make sure we’re  serving their needs through these solutions.”

Technology, Kimberling explains, relies to a significant degree on the ability of individuals to make considered, timely decisions and enter data accurately. So having access to the best technology in the world doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re getting the best results possible – that hinges on whether it’s being used correctly, or even whether it meets the fundamental needs of your company in the first place. 

Kimberling believes that a number of myths perpetuate through the industry, particularly when it comes to payroll. He’s quick to point out that he doesn’t believe they originate from any one source in particular; rather, it’s the result of wider societal misconceptions about the efficacy of technology.

“We hear it from technology suppliers, competitors and sometimes, even clients,” says Kimberling with a chuckle. “But the onus is on us as professionals to clear up misinformation.”

With this in mind, Kimberling has compiled some of the most common myths that perpetuate the payroll tech sector into a whitepaper – Ten myths of global payroll technology. Geared at rebutting these misconceptions, Kimberling tackles factors such as SaaS, one-size fits all solutions, payroll cost and reporting, among others.

“With more and more businesses operating in multiple territories across the world – and payroll being a fundamental part of the business – these are the sort of conversations we need to be watching closely,” explains Kimberling. “We don’t want to see businesses running their payroll solutions on conventional wisdom, only to run into difficulty in the real world. Getting the solution right from the start means better outcomes for everyone.”   

However, one consideration that Kimberling does stand behind is that getting the balance right between payroll technology and intricate human intervention is a key part of any good payroll solution.

“Ultimately, when it comes to payroll technology, it’s all about data,” says Kimberling. “Poor or missing data is the bane of any payroll service provider’s life. Only high-quality data can deliver payroll accuracy, timeliness and compliance – a must for every organization.”

To download your copy of Ten myths of global payroll technology, click here.

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