With every new advent in technology and the web, the world gets a little smaller and more connected. This has resulted in some of the fastest changes within the global payroll industry in recent times. Today’s payroll leaders are responsible for supporting employees across cities, states, and countries as they contend with new systems, technologies, and government rulings that materialize with little warning. A global payroll leader’s job is to try to remain stable through what could be a bumpy ride.
All of this drives the emerging trends that will affect businesses this year and for many to come. Some are outlined below:
1. Using a Platform-Based System of Record
While most global organizations already use gross pay implementations for a solid 80% of their workforce, that typically only covers around 20% of their locations. Due to the surge of globalization, satellite offices and remote employees have sprouted up all over the world. And while diverse and dispersed employees introduce multiplicity and skill into a company, they also present some complexity. With differing time zones, holidays, employee types, and policies, businesses find themselves relying on a variety of outsourced and pricey ad hoc solutions just to handle local payroll—with limited success. As leakages increase and visibility does just the opposite, global payroll leaders have begun to see a solution in the form of taking a platform approach.
With all location, time, and gross pay in one place, businesses can own one single source of truth for time, pay, compliance, and more. In a platform setting, the ability to scale falls more easily into place, granting agility in these uncertain times. Mergers, adding new territories, changing legislation, and even political unrest have been recent and very real factors in managing global payroll, and siloed data systems haven’t proven themselves up for the task. The ability to shift gears quickly has become more important than ever—and because a business is only as efficient as the sum of all its locations, everything needs to be on the same page.
2. Mobile and Remote: The New Normal
The massive influx of skilled deskless workers has finally encouraged businesses to acknowledge them as the significant percentage of the workforce they represent. This also means contending with the distinct lack of control, interaction, and visibility they introduce into the workplace. Advanced mobile apps are critical for meeting the self-service requirements of remote, mobile, and a deskless workforce. Modern user interfaces and non-intrusive data capture support accuracy and are naturally included in the best solutions—enabling your deskless workforce to positively affect the outcomes while aggregating all data within the same secure system.
3. Putting Compliance in the Spotlight
Glancing at the last decade of news in payroll reveals an abundance of overtime blunders and costly violations. Millions of dollars can “vanish” if careful measures are not taken to maintain compliance, and the risks can go beyond financial repercussions; negatively impacting company reputation and even straining the relationships between management and its workforce. In short, a business simply cannot expand globally without a reliable answer for compliance. As they finally begin to move away from local vendors or stifling payroll/HR teams interpreting local regulations, organizations are now seeking out-of-the-box compliance included in their solutions. Soon, more and more businesses will have access to automated compliance for any city, state, and country—comprehensive and kept consistently up to date as laws evolve. Even when compliance requires something more customized—such as complex enterprise agreements or union rules—new solutions will need to handle that as well by incorporating a thorough pay rule engine to support labor compliance, no matter the circumstances.
4. AI and Machine Learning’s Place in the Industry
The future is now—and with the slow but steady normalization of biometrics, intelligent workflows, and smart validations, it’s more “now” than ever. Leveraging cutting-edge, artificial intelligence(AI)-powered cloud technologies like Face ID or chatbots has brought a new era of unobtrusive time tracking and pay calculation into the fold. Businesses are looking to collect the most data while asking the least effort of supervisors and employees, and the allure of using facial identification to eliminate ID badges, passwords, and waiting in line to sign in is hard to dismiss. Even friendlier, chatbots provide a more conversational AI wherein an employee can easily strike up a dialogue about their time, further increasing adoption and more accurate data collection. All of this is fast, simple, and provides the benefits of biometrics without the additional hardware costs.
Powerful new features like those described above don’t even scratch the surface of what AI has introduced to payroll. With intelligent business processes, teams can automate the workflows around approval and payroll processes to meet their unique needs. Moreover, all of this self-service AI helps achieve unobtrusive, accurate, and secure time management, passes along gross pay compliant files to payroll for export, and learns typical exceptions and validations along the way. Everything happens in real time with built-in exceptions, so supervisors of any department can get visibility where and when it counts.
5. Smooth Integrations
A unified platform plays the first role in uniting disparate systems, but advanced integrations finish the job. Disrupting an organization’s existing ecosystem can prove messy and monumentally expensive. For example, the human resources management system (HRMS) houses employee data, while payroll maintains the corresponding time and pay data. By integrating these systems, companies can connect time and pay to employees, using these elements to help manage performance, productivity, and engagement. This provides HR with an overall snapshot of the company, in addition to other tactical benefits such as managing time off policies and liability. Cloud software also plays an increasingly important role, as it can easily send data to either global or local systems within HR, payroll, or whatever is needed.
In an industry especially responsive to change, there is still plenty of global payroll evolution to look forward to throughout 2019 and beyond. Leaders in global payroll are beginning to realize that in order to truly embrace the coming changes within the industry, they must unite payroll with time and attendance—understanding that one necessarily goes with the other. With businesses finally connecting the two pieces of the puzzle, new developments in globalization only encourage payroll solutions to improve, seeking to keep pace with the ever-changing needs of the trade, and further uncover the unlimited potential it has to offer.
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Lakshmi Raj is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Replicon. In her position, Raj is focused on strategic initiatives for Replicon’s global operations, including market share expansion, revenue generation, and worldwide sales activities. She has extensive experience in web-based marketing and was instrumental in providing global visibility for Replicon’s product. Prior to joining Replicon, she worked as a Software Engineer for Verity (formerly known as FTP Canada). Raj holds degrees in Computer Science and Electrical Engineering.