Businesses across the UK are navigating unprecedented uncertainty, striving not only to overcome the challenges of an international health crisis but to ensure their operations are able to adapt to a new landscape. While all departments have certainly experienced a changing dynamic, it is payroll management and systems that we are focussing on today, discussing the year’s payroll trends that are now taking over the industry.
It is not, however, solely post-pandemic circumstances that are leading to the popularity of new trends within payroll, and there are a number of technological advances, especially within software development, that have been creating change within payroll departments for some time. Automation, for example, has been considered a part of the so-called next-generation payroll for a number of years and yet it is only recently that AI and self-learning algorithms have been considered a reality for businesses.
To disseminate what this might mean for an important industry, and drawing from payroll industry leaders, here are the most important payroll trends of 2022 and what they may mean for the future of payroll.
The rise of online banks and app-based accounts, employees are managing their income increasingly on the go and asking many businesses to accommodate too. In addition, digital wallets, such as those that support cryptocurrencies, are being further explored as a viable option for payroll services, with a greater number of individuals preferring the flexibility, security, and value of digital payments.
These have become especially popular internationally, with transfer options being more plentiful and efficient than traditional banks, especially in areas with a less-developed financial infrastructure since they are often more affordable and accessible, eliminating the costs associated with certain third parties.
Both the shift toward automation and the new expectations of duty of care are changing the way in which payroll departments are prioritising their time. Since tasks of processing payments are becoming scripted and cloud-based processes, minimising room for human error, payroll departments are, instead, serving to support the needs of employees.
The responsibilities of payroll department staff are now more often becoming reimagined, benefiting not only company employees with financial advice but also upper management who, within the business, benefit from insight and data drawn from the payroll process. Payroll departments are able to focus on extrapolating data from their services, improving the efficiency of tasks and ensuring that company payroll systems are optimally designed.
While a number of departments found a degree of success during the various phases of national lockdown, it was payroll that seemed to most effortlessly thrive. Cloud-based operations had already been well-established for many prior to the teleworking transition of employees and payroll software was, for many businesses, already allowing for associated departments to run effectively at a distance.
As some businesses return employees to the workplace, the payroll department is one of the most likely to remain remote, with modern software enabling safe and efficacious operations to continue without the need for centralised and dedicated office space.