Three reasons to switch from manual to cloud-based payroll and HR

When was the last time you went into a bank? It probably wasn’t recently. Sure, some people prefer to visit their local banking branch. Still, for the majority, the digitisation of banking services has all but eliminated the need to visit a brick-and-mortar banking facility.

Online and digital banking provides customers with a world of convenience because we can now buy, pay, and make transfers from anywhere, throughout the day or night, and without delay. This frees up the time people would’ve spent standing in a queue at the bank, to focus on other things.

Payroll and HR professionals, cloud software works in much the same way. It streamlines their role, digitises tasks, and frees up time to focus on other, more important things.

Technology as a payroll and HR enabler

Earlier this year, Sage interviewed 600 small businesses (under 99 employees) and 400 medium-sized businesses (100 to 1,999 employees) as part of a survey to explore how payroll and HR professionals are rising to the challenges of change. One way they are doing so is by using software to do their jobs better.

Keen to unpack what role technology plays in future payroll and HR success? Our survey results reveal that it’s significant.

According to our research, 62% of payroll and HR professionals feel that embracing technology and analytics should be a top priority for leaders. And more than half (56%) of respondents agree that digitising payroll and HR data and employee information can save them time by streamlining their efforts.

This is important when you consider that most respondents (86%) want payroll and HR professionals to have a seat at the decision-making table, although this isn’t always possible. That’s because manual processes still bog down many payroll and HR professionals. They’re also struggling to handle the workplace transformations and constant changes to laws and regulations that have come about thanks to COVID-19.

For payroll and HR professionals to play a role in decision-making and effectively participate in crucial business strategies, they need to have the capacity to do so. It’s important to remember that payroll and HR professionals sit on a goldmine of organisational and employee data, so it makes sense to use this information to better meet candidate and employee expectations.

Specialist payroll and HR software free up capacity so that you can focus on understanding employee expectations and developing a business culture that attracts and retains the best talent. This is particularly important as Generation Z enters the global workforce.

Beyond the benefits outlined above, we highlight three reasons embracing cloud software can free up payroll and HR professionals’ time.

1.    Data security

As of 1 July 2021, all individuals and entities were legally required to comply with the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA). As a result, businesses and individuals must be more careful about processing and recording personal information and stricter about safeguarding it. Managing POPIA compliance may be straightforward, but combine these regulations with a pandemic that has forced many to work remotely, and you have a whole new set of data security and privacy challenges.

While our research shows that 91% of surveyed organisations are fully compliant with POPIA and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), 48% of payroll and HR professionals still worry about compliance, and just over half (63%) are concerned about securely sharing employees’ personal information.

However, our survey results also highlight that when payroll and HR professionals use cloud software solutions, they are less likely to accidentally leak confidential business data because they have more time to focus on cyber-security than they did in the past.

2.    Time management

Reducing inefficiencies is a top priority as businesses redesign their strategies to make the most of new ways of working. According to a report from Deloitte and Paylocity, employers could reap significant cost savings across an array of HR functions by automating time-consuming and repetitive tasks.

Remember that trip to the bank we discussed earlier? Imagine if you had to visit your bank every time you wanted to make a payment. Some days, you might spend several hours camped out at the bank, which would be hugely impractical. Payroll and HR professionals who use manual methods and offline systems often do the same tasks repeatedly, every single day. This is a total waste of time.

Making the switch to cloud software increases productivity, boosts flexibility, and automates specific tasks. As such, payroll and HR professionals have access to higher-quality data insights that can help them make more informed forecasts to support critical business decisions. When payroll and HR professionals aren’t spending most of their time on repetitive tasks, they have the capacity to share their expertise and insights with business executives.

3.    Managing remote/hybrid teams

With hybrid work seeing some people working in the office and others working remotely, it’s difficult for payroll and HR to be consistent.

According to our research, 70% of SMEs cite the shift to remote and hybrid working models as one of the main reasons behind their switch from manual processes to cloud-based systems. This is because when manual tasks are automated, payroll and HR professionals can optimise other areas of their work.

For example, HR departments use KPIs to improve recruiting processes, employee engagement, and staff turnover rates. But users of manual HR systems devote significantly less time to tracking critical data through KPIs than users of cloud-based HR systems.

When you consider that as much as 41% of the entire global workforce are thinking about handing in their resignations in the next six months, according to Microsoft research, it becomes more of a priority for HR to monitor and manage talent retention and recruitment KPIs.

With payroll and HR complexity on the rise, it makes sense to automate repetitive tasks with the help of cloud software.