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National Payroll Week: Don’t let your legacy systems hold you back from achieving payroll excellence

National Payroll Week: Don’t let your legacy systems hold you back from achieving payroll excellence

by Voirrey Ellison, Payroll Operations Manager

It’s National Payroll Week, meaning it’s the perfect time for organisations across all sectors to raise a glass to their hardworking pay professionals and give payroll the recognition it deserves as a key pillar of business success.

One of the best ways to show your appreciation for your payroll teams this year is by ensuring that they have access to the correct tools to enable them to achieve their full scope of their role without being burdened by manual inputs and inefficient processes.

Digital transformation of payroll systems and processes is one of the best ways that businesses can achieve accuracy, compliance and excellence in their daily operations. Unfortunately, it is also far too common for transformation projects to be parked, meaning that businesses are left to languish with unsuitable and outdated solutions. This means that employees can be left being paid incorrectly, and payroll professionals cursing the sky.

Payroll in particular is ripe for digital transformation: Recent research by the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals found that a staggering 74% of payroll professionals surveyed said that they were unhappy with inefficiencies in their current solution. Despite this and in spite of the continued complexities demanded of today’s payroll functions, businesses still continue to de prioritise updating their payroll solutions, even in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.

This National Payroll Week, take some time to look at your current payroll solution and assess whether you are giving your payroll teams access to the tools they need to make their day to day lives easier and help ensure you achieve accuracy and excellence with every pay cycle.

What are Legacy Systems?

Simply put, a legacy system is an outdated application, software or hardware. Legacy systems are often still utilised and in most cases, still offer the same core functionality which they were designed for but most crucially, they don’t offer the potential for growth or development of processes.

This can occur as a result of a solution being left to languish in terms of development by a provider or simply superseded by newer versions. In many instances, changes to other processes or technology can mean that these legacy systems no longer interact or communicate with other elements of the business as required.

As organisations continue to seek to grow and develop, they can find that these legacy systems become a millstone around their neck, holding them back and preventing them from achieving the excellence they are looking for. Rather than focusing on building out growth and profitability, businesses can find their efforts redirected towards putting out fires caused by legacy systems.

How do legacy systems impact payroll?

Your payroll teams perform a vital role month after month ensuring the accuracy of your payroll and that your people are paid on time. Accuracy with wages is crucial as any discrepancies or delays can seriously impact the financial wellbeing of your employees as well as affecting their levels of engagement at work. Inaccuracies can also lead to potential legal challenges which any organisation will be keen to avoid and it is an area of expertise where businesses understandably rely on the knowledge of their pay people.

Your ability to pay your people accurately and on time is also a reflection of your organisation as a whole. Businesses who fall behind in this sense run the risk of being painted in a negative light, particularly from the perspective of recruitment. As businesses are looking to attract new talent in order to drive their future success, a reputation as being unreliable with pay will not make your organisation an attractive prospect for job candidates.

One of the key challenges legacy systems represent for payroll is the potential for inefficiencies to plague the working week and distract from business operations. A lack of automation, inefficient data siloes and the inability to deal with compliance requirements in an agile and timely fashion. Fundamentally, this means that rather than their skillsets being used to help guide and shape ongoing strategy.

Unfortunately, the importance of payroll to a business and the consequences of getting it wrong has created a paradox wherein payroll has lagged behind in terms of digital investment. Organisations fixate on the idea of bungling an integration of a new system or solution to the point where it blind them to the ROI potential offered by digital transformation.

What should you actually look for in a new Payroll System?

Projects of digital transformation are very rarely parked lightly. It’s not often the case that businesses are unaware of the need for a change, it’s simply that the consequences of getting it wrong have a way of dominating the conversation and blinding people to the benefits offered. This is most acutely felt when looking at the initial outlay for a solution- it’s all too easy to fixate on an initial cost and ignore the long term savings.

It’s one thing to be mindful of the pitfalls presented by clinging to legacy systems but understanding the core elements and functionality you should be looking for in a new solution is quite another. Although a new solution today may help you achieve administrative efficiency and compliance excellency, try looking beyond these base elements and consider what a new system can truly offer not only in terms of saving you money but freeing your people across the scope of your organisation. How much more could you achieve if your people were no longer being held back by your legacy systems?

We appreciate how important it is that when sourcing a new payroll solution that you find a system that works for you and you organisation from day one. The consequences of a delayed or inaccurate payroll are too great to accept anything other than a solution that gets it right immediately.

With that in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to pull together a short list of some of the key requirements you should look for in any potential system:

  •       Automation- Perhaps the most crucial element of all. Any solution which is unable to significantly reduce the amount of manual input being handled by your payroll team, isn’t worth much at all. The most effective payroll solutions should be able to easily bear the strain of even the most complex pay calculations, providing gross to net figures in the blink of an eye. Automation gives you the peace of mind to know that the information being fed through is accurate, right up to the moment that you run your payroll.
  •      Report Building- Businesses across all industries run on metrics. The ability to collate data into an easy to reconcile report is vitally important for any organisation which is looking to keep a keen eye on their finances. Any potential payroll solutions should allow you the ability to pull reports effortlessly, meaning you’re never kept in the dark about the state of your outgoing costs. The ability to define reports by metrics such as Gender and race also allows your organisation the visibility it needs to guarantee fairness across all areas of your business
  •        Pay on Demand-  Allow your employees the ability to draw down a portion of their wages early, giving them the flexibility they need to meet any unwelcome and unexpected costs. Incentivise over time or shift cover with same-day payments to employees who help cover absences.
  •       Employee Self Service- This is a little less obvious on paper but the growing trend for technology across all aspects of our lives, is for people to have the information we need at our fingertips. From banking to booking holidays, plenty of aspects of our lives have become digitised and streamlined and the expectation is for this same kind of transformation to extend into the working world. Employees should have ready access to information pertaining to their pay, be it payslips, holiday allowances or records of commission or other financial rewards schemes. Pay teams across all industries lose hours every working week fielding requests from employees for visibility over things as simple as payslips. When sourcing a new solution, why not find something that can put the power in your employee’s hands?
  •       Compliance- Matters of compliance, particularly in relation to tax, is a primary concern for all payroll departments. Any Payroll solution worth its salt should do the homework for you, keeping on top relevant legislative changes so you don’t have to. Instant calculations can help ensure the information you are feeding through to HMRC is accurate and that any PAYE or National Insurance contributions are present and correct.  
  •       Can easily integrate with your other systems- When sourcing a payroll solution it’s sometimes all too easy to consider the problem in a vacuum. As complex and comprehensive as a potential system may be, if it can’t easily integrate with your existing systems and processes then you run the risk of creating more problems than you actually solve. Payroll is a delicate process and one which often requires working closely with HR and time and attendance functions. When looking at potential systems, make sure that from day one, they work seamlessly with your existing processes.

How can Advanced Payroll help?

We created Advanced Payroll specifically to help tackle challenges facing payroll professionals day in and day out. We’ve taken on board the experiences of people working in the field in order to craft a solution which can free payroll teams from the burden of admin heavy tasks and allow them to leverage their skills in more meaningful ways.

We also appreciate that the transformation of your payroll processes is never a thing to be taken lightly, which is why we’re here to support you every step of the way and make sure you can hit the ground running with your new solution.

With Advanced Payroll, you get:

A choice- Advanced Payroll can be deployed in the cloud or on-premise, whichever suits your business more.

Real time calculations – instantaneous gross to net calculations for up to 10,000 employees in just 20 seconds..

Super speed processing – Calculate BACs in under 20 minutes

Pay on-demand – employees can draw down earned pay as they need it

Reporting – building your own reports has never been easier

Employee on-line access – data, documents and payslips at your people’s fingertips. Roughly 439,000 payslips are currently processed by Advanced Payroll each month.

Advanced Payroll offers you the scalability and flexibility you need to completely transform the way in which you run payroll, capable of working effortlessly across multiple sites and pay grades. Whether operating as a standalone system or integrated with our Time and Attendance, HR and Access Control solutions to form a comprehensive Workforce Management suite, Advanced Payroll helps you process payrolls efficiently.

Our solution gives you the comprehensive reporting, GDPR auto-processing and audit trail capability you need to have peace of mind that your payroll is being run accurately and in a compliant fashion month in and month out.

This National Payroll Week, why not show your appreciation to your payroll teams and wave goodbye to the legacy systems that have been holding you back. Ensure your teams have access to the tools they need to achieve payroll excellence with each and every pay cycle.

Voirrey Ellison

Voirrey Ellison


Payroll Operations Manager

Voirrey Ellison has worked in Payroll for 23 years and is passionate about her role. As our Payroll Operations Manager she understands the importance of ensuring everyone is paid accurately and on time. Voirrey and her team are an essential part of OneAdvanced’s success.

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