Payroll technology is changing
New technology isn’t just for consumers – it’s for businesses too. Changes in accounting technology are transforming the way businesses manage their employee payment processes. These new systems can revolutionise the way you pay your staff.
For example, they can simplify tax code updates, track staff hours and expenses, and make paper form-filling a thing of the past. They can also give your employees more control over their personal information. And that will reduce your costs.
There’s a lot to learn about online payroll technology. In this guide we’ll explain what you need to know. Then you can use that knowledge to simplify your payroll – saving you time and money.
How payroll technology works
Not so long ago it was common for staff payments to be done by hand. Records were noted manually, cheques were written and handed out in person, and accounts ledgers were updated using a pen and paper.
Most businesses have moved on from that stage and use technology that lets them automate some of their payroll processes.
But technology moves fast. If your business is using software that’s more than a few years old, you could be missing out on some great new features. And those features could save you just as much time and money as the move away from pen and paper did. They include:
- Better automation.
- More integration with accounting software.
- Personal information updated by your employees.
- Simpler leave approvals.
- Faster expenses claims using smartphones.
- Improved tax calculations.
- Real-time reporting for financial auditing.
If your current system lacks many of these features, it’s time to look again at the latest payroll technology.
Choosing the right payroll software
Whether you buy an off-the-shelf package or use online accounting software, it’s the features that matter. Good software will stay with you as your business grows, so it pays to make the right buying decision. Here are some points to consider:
To keep things simple, you need a package that will connect to your existing accounting software. If the two systems can integrate easily, you won’t have to enter information twice, or worry about file formats. Even better, some accounting software has payroll features built in, or available as an add-on extra.
- Ease of use
There’s no point in buying online software that’s complex and confusing – it will never be used properly. So check online reviews and customer feedback before buying. Good software will simplify your payroll workflow, not complicate it.
Perhaps you have just a few employees today, but next year you may have dozens. Will your software scale up as your business grows? The best packages will. And if the software is hosted online, you may get free upgrades without having to buy new versions of the software on a regular basis.
Payroll is covered by legislation, so you need software that complies with local laws. Make sure the software you buy is designed to work in your region.
- Time-saving features
This is what really separates good software from the rest. Payroll can be a complex, time-consuming business. Good software will save time by automating a lot of the work involved. So check the features carefully before buying, and read customer reviews and discussion forums for more detailed information.
Advantages for your employees
Online payroll technology can make life easier for your employees. It can give them control over the way some of their personal information is stored. For example:
- Change of address
Employees can update their addresses within the system, without having to fill out paper forms and return them to your HR people.
- Changes in life status
Whether it’s a marriage, divorce or the birth of a child, employees can change their status directly. This can have an immediate effect on benefits and other payments.
- Simpler leave notification
Your employees can do their own holiday or sickness leave notifications and applications. This is particularly useful for holiday time, because it makes it easier to manage all your team’s plans in one place.
- Easier expenses claims
New technology lets your employees scan their purchases using their smartphone or tablet. This means expenses can be recorded and approved straight away – so they get their money back faster.
All of this can be done without affecting the security of the system. New technology can give employees limited access, providing notifications to your accounts team so they can check and approve any changes.