As an HR professional, you usually don’t have to deal with payroll tasks beyond the basics when onboarding a new employee.
But making sure workers get paid is essential to your job, since you’ll be the one dealing with any complaints.
And you want a system that streamlines payment processes and keeps your business compliant with IRS regulations and requirements.
Most HR software solutions have a payroll module that comes preloaded, but if yours doesn’t consider talking with your software vendor to see if it can be added on.
There are many benefits to having payroll software integrated with your HR system. You can customize the system as needed to cut down on menial tasks, smooth out your onboarding process and ensure payments are quick and accurate. Plus, compliance with confusing tax laws is easier with a system that updates regularly.
First, here are the essential features and functions of any payroll software solution.
Your payroll software solution should include the following features, all of which can improve your company’s processing and systems:
- Payroll processing: The ultimate function of any payroll software is the ability to process the various facets of payroll, including timekeeping and overtime pay rates.
- Direct deposit: Employees don’t want to wait for paper checks, but luckily most payroll software can connect with banks to disburse payments directly to workers’ bank accounts immediately. This also cuts down on the potential for mistakes or lost payments.
- Tax filing help: The best payroll solutions have automated calculations for when tax time comes around that can pre-fill employees’ tax info with the data already in the system and avoid any human input errors. Another plus? Your taxes will always be filed on time.
- Compliance tools: To keep workers’ data safe, payroll solutions should have robust compliance measures. And since state, local and federal tax laws are ever changing, an automated system ensures your company is always on the right side of the law.
- Self-service: Let employees do some of the work for you with self-service portals that let workers log on and see their payroll information. They can fix any mistakes with their data and input their own time attendance, leaving the important work to the payroll professionals.
- Accounting help: Certain accounting functions can be integrated into a payroll solution as well, streamlining the entire Finance process and opening your teams up for more collaboration.
These features can all provide benefits to your organization, like removing tedious tasks from your Finance employees’ workloads and ironing out onboarding and other HR-essential processes.
Automate tedious tasks
To an HR professional, maybe all payroll tasks seem tedious. But for payroll employees, the simple stuff is where help’s needed. Inputting data, handling leave requests and sorting through overtime submissions all take time away from the important job of managing wages for every employee.
Any payroll processing system worth its salt can help with those tasks. If the payroll processing is integrated with other HR systems, it can pull time clock information to accurately determine how much hourly employees get paid.
Payroll employees also won’t be required to calculate taxes and deductions manually, since the payroll system does it automatically. Your system can also send automated emails reminding managers to approve employees’ time so your Finance staffers don’t have to chase people down.
In addition, automating time off requests and other data entry means Payroll employees can spend their energy on hurdles that crop up or other, more complicated duties.
Reduce paycheck questions
Any payroll professional will tell you: Right after employees get their paychecks, the questions come rolling in. People want to know why numbers changed and where their money is going if it’s not going straight to them.
Most payroll solutions have self-service options, which are key for decreasing those simple questions your Finance department receives. Employees should be able to easily access their payment information, including stubs and W-2 forms.
Another benefit? If any information is incorrect, workers can see it and contact Payroll or HR to get it fixed.
An automated payroll system can go a long way towards improving the experience for new hires – which directly impacts HR.
New employees can use the self-service options to upload the necessary forms directly to the system, without needing HR to handle the processing or store multiple copies.
Instead, the forms are already in the system, allowing them to be edited if needed and immediately used for payroll.
This also saves your HR team time and energy to focus on the most important parts of onboarding, such as training.
Get people paid accurately
No matter how much your employees love working for your company, they also want to get paid correctly and on time.
Direct deposit functions in most payroll solutions can help, since people can get their checks immediately and not have to make a trip to the bank to deposit a check.
And self-service portals mean workers can get up-to-the-minute info on when their money will be available.
Note: When payroll information is accessible to employees, you’ll want to remind them to check it regularly, especially if they move or other major life changes occur. You don’t want to deal with missed checks due to incorrect or outdated info.
Automated payroll processing also reduces common errors that can happen when humans are the ones inputting information. A mistyped keystroke can mean the difference between $100 and $1,000, and you don’t want to over- or under-pay your employees.
Keeping track of every local, state and federal tax law that governs how you withhold money from employees’ paychecks is a tall order. You need to stay compliant, but quickly-changing laws can make it seem almost impossible at times.
Newer payroll software monitors those laws and other regs so you’re never playing catch-up with compliance and can ensure all your deductions are accurate and lawful.
This also eases the burden on your Payroll employees, who won’t have to be monitoring compliance requirements as closely, although they should still review updates regularly to keep everything running smoothly.
Despite all the benefits integrating your payroll and HR software can bring, there are some significant challenges to consider before making the switch.
HR knows this better than anyone: Change management is often complex. Letting everyone know about serious changes to the way they work can lead to pushback, especially from older employees who are used to the way things are done.
Be sure to lay out the benefits that come with adding a new solution and thoroughly explain why you’re switching things up. Emphasize how much easier payroll tasks will be now and tell workers about their new options for accessing information.
Finance staffers in particular should receive ample warning before anything changes and take their critiques into account.
Once you’ve decided to make the change, you’ll need to figure out whether an entirely new solution would be best or if your current HR software has a payroll module you can customize.
HR, IT and Finance will need to work together to find the right solution for your company, so make sure communication between departments is consistent.
In addition, dealing with third-party vendors is often a hassle and it can be even worse to add a new vendor to the mix. Clearly communicate what you’re looking for and what you want to get out of the solution. Remember to review agreements in-depth before partnering with any vendor.
You’ll also want to check with the vendor to see what support is available once the solution has been implemented. Many vendors offer 24-hour helplines or onsite assistance as needed, which is useful if any issues crop up.
Arguably the most important piece of the puzzle is training employees on how to use the new system. There will be questions and concerns about the impact of new software on paychecks, so let workers know how much smoother the entire payroll process will be.
Talk with your vendor to figure out how training should work and what major questions they’ve been asked – that way you can address them before they’re asked.
Payroll and Finance employees will obviously have more extensive training than other workers, but every staffer should receive at least a basic tutorial.
You’ve likely trained workers on new systems before, so let those previous experiences guide you. Review any documentation you have from those previous training sessions to see what worked and what didn’t.
Work with IT to see how software will be implemented on people’s computers and if additional equipment or further training will be necessary.
Despite the challenges when implementing a new payroll system, the time and money saved makes integrated payroll and HR software well worth it.
Your Payroll staffers will have more time and energy to spend on complicated tasks and will receive fewer questions about the process, and workers will continue to get paid quickly and accurately. Plus, onboarding and compliance duties will also be streamlined, so you’ll be ready for anything that gets thrown at you.