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Don’t force your digital payroll into a manual box

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Most organisations that are moving from manual to digital payroll solutions do so to improve efficiencies, extract richer business insights and manage systems more tightly. Digital can transform access and capability, introducing new layers of information that can be used to enhance business processes and decision making.
Unfortunately, in many cases these tools are forced into customised boxes that won’t deliver as effectively as they would if left alone.
What to do when you want to customise your digital payroll system?
“Start at the end,” says Teryl Schroenn, CEO of Accsys. “The first thing the business must do before customising a basic payroll solution is to ask what they want from it after it is done. Many companies who automate cling to manual processes because they are comfortable with them and know that they deliver results. However, when it comes to digital, these processes do not necessarily translate into efficiency.”
A basic payroll solution is defined as one that’s simple, off-the-shelf and designed with only a few customisation elements to allow for specific processes to take place. If a business tries to wedge all the manual processes and rules that they are currently following into this solution, the result will be as confusing and complex as the one they had before they started. The answer is simple – don’t customise, analyse.
“Manual systems have usually evolved to make meeting organisational requirements as effective and risk-free as possible, but they are complicated as a result,” says Schroenn. “To avoid moving this complexity from one platform to another, look at each process and ask if it adds value. Establish its practical relevance and make sure it supports the results the business wants.”
Once all the processes have been stripped down, the business will have a clearer view as to which need to be integrated into the digital solution. Most basic payroll packages automate common processes as standard and have been designed to make the role far easier and more engaging. By avoiding excessive customisation, not only will it allow for the software to do its job more efficiently, but it will also enable payroll employees to grow within their roles as they focus less on basic admin and more on their potential.
“Payroll solutions are very capable and can play an important role in moving the business forward,” concludes Schroenn. “When you start with a new solution, see it as an opportunity to do some housekeeping. Ask when you last did X or needed Y. Take out anything that doesn’t add value and keep elements that make a difference.”
There are significant benefits in shifting from manual to digital payroll applications. The business can transform functionality and give payroll teams room to expand and engage more effectively. It is also a time to keep asking why – why do we do this, why is there value, why do we need that process? Answer those questions honestly, and deep customisation probably won’t be necessary.