The English poet and author Geoffrey Chaucer once said, “Time and tide wait for no man.” If you’re a business owner, you know how true that statement is. Time is the only thing that is finite that you can’t make more of. You can maximize how you use it though. When running your business, efficiently using what time you do have is of paramount importance. Ideally, you’d like to spend it helping your customers, helping your employees, and helping your company grow. There’s a good chance that you don’t want to spend unnecessary amounts of time on tedious tasks like payroll. But, according to a QuickBooks survey, business owners are spending nearly 5 hours each pay period calculating, filing, and paying payroll taxes. That amounts to 21 days a year. That’s three weeks! You must be thinking, “There has to be a better way.” Well, soon, there probably will be. Here are some payroll service solutions and trends to look forward to in the not-so-distant future.
Enter the Cloud
Frequently billed as the next big thing in data storage, cloud-based software programs are becoming more and more common. While they are in wide use today, cloud-based payroll services are nowhere near universal. But that could be changing soon. The cloud offers two main benefits when it comes to payroll service software: efficiency and safety. Because data on the cloud is stored remotely, anyone can access their payroll data from wherever they happen to be. This includes human resources professionals and employees themselves should they need to ask for paid time off, change their availability or update any personal information. The value of this cannot be understated, as more and more people are working from home these days due to the pandemic. Your payroll data contains sensitive information about your employees, so keeping it safe from cybercriminals is crucial. Cloud-based technology uses enhanced security measures like data encryption, and frequent software updates to ensure that your data is safe.
With the advent of fresh technology comes newfound efficiency, which put simply, means that you are saving time. What better way to save time than to have your payroll service software perform some of the more banal tasks of the payroll process automatically? Through the power of artificial intelligence and robotic process automation, this is already beginning to happen. Tasks like classifying employees, calculating their pay, and even serving as a chatbot to answer any quick questions that employees may have are all things that automation could take care of. As far as productivity goes, using automation allows your human resources professionals to spend their time working with people (which they likely prefer) instead of repeatedly entering data. Accuracy will be improved also, saving more time (and money) by staying on the right side of the law when it comes to compliance.
Though it was the norm for a long time, having separate programs for human resources and payroll has proved to be ineffective. If the goal is to streamline the payroll process, then getting human resources on the same page (or software program as it were) is a must. Because human resources people will need information having to do with payroll service solutions and vice versa, these programs need to be integrated into one central location where all the information can be accessed conveniently. This will likely soon be the norm.
Permanent Solution for Temporary Workers
Another professional trend is the rise in freelance workers. Remote work has facilitated this and made it easy for anyone to contribute to your company from anywhere. Any new payroll service software would likely be able to easily differentiate between full-time workers and temporary workers. Older software systems may not have been as well-equipped to handle this, because it wasn’t as common in the past. Gig workers are obviously classified differently, usually paid differently, and the benefits they receive are different from full-time employees. New software would accommodate this as the need for it increases.
Years ago, some companies forbid their workers to even discuss how much they were paid, because the thinking was that it led to disgruntled employees. A new trend that can be implemented via payroll service software is compensation management tools. Not only will employees get to see various pay scales, but they will also be able to track their own progress within that pay structure. Rationales are given for why people are paid what they are, with various tracks and incentive structures laid out clearly, showing every employee exactly where they stand. Furthermore, it can provide the proverbial carrot for ambitious employees who can see exactly what it is they need to accomplish in order to increase their earnings. With new technological capabilities comes the ability to showcase new attitudes toward how employees’ compensation is handled.
They say necessity is the mother of invention and considering all the time spent on payroll service solutions each year, a better system with better features is sorely needed. Fortunately, improved payroll services and the accompanying technology are closer to becoming the new normal and making things once thought impossible into reality. In the future, cloud-based computing, task automation, software program integration, temp accommodation and pay transparency will prove to be innovative ways that the entire payroll process is streamlined. And for you, the business owner, this is good news, because not only is your life about to get easier, but you’ll have more time to enjoy it too. Consult your local payroll company to learn more.
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