Strategies for remote payroll management at scale

The coronavirus outbreak is foremost a human tragedy, but it is also having a growing impact on the global economy and the way businesses function. While productivity can be allowed to dip in some areas, payroll is one business-critical function that cannot afford to be delayed and is even more important during a crisis. This article is intended to provide payroll professionals with some tips on how they can continue to deliver accurate payroll on time, and how cloud technology can help payroll departments hold things together and support their employees.

Payroll Management done remotely

Bridging the communication gap

Wherever we are, is our workplace now. Organizations have already planned for employees to be unable to return to work for significant periods of time, whether it's due to personal illness or caring for sick family members, or just working remotely from home as a precaution. No matter how far away they are, it is crucial for employers and their employees to be on the same page. Here are some top priorities for HR and payroll staff when communicating with their employees.

  • Know the whereabouts of your employees to ensure they're okay, and communicate organization best-practices promptly. When your employees reach out, it's important for the HR or your organization's spokesperson to be available for help. It's important to be compassionate now, more than ever.

  • Communicate organization-wide policy changes where everybody can see. It is important for you to choose a platform that is usually preferred by your employees, and ensure to follow-up promptly.

  • Inform your employees proactively if you think paychecks might be delayed. Give employees enough information to plan their finances, and be prepared to respond to questions and requests for emergency advances.

  • Keep your employees informed about Government initiatives that help them reduce taxes or defer taxes for a certain period or any other relief measures that can be of help.

Cross-functional collaboration

We all know that payroll is a methodical process, and highly dependent on inputs from multiple teams. Cross-functional collaboration can be difficult even during normal scenarios, and it is even more difficult to pull off during emergency situations. While there's no replacement for face-to-face communication, the next closest thing is to leverage cloud technology that allows your HR, finance, and payroll staff to collaborate productively from wherever they are.

Creating group communication channels among all these departments can help them see through the clutter and get the inputs they need quickly. If any one of them hits a roadblock in their work, a quick video conference is the fastest way to get all the people involved on the same page. Cloud-based software gives you the advantage of connecting quickly from anywhere.

Managing employees' leave and attendance

Perhaps the most important aspect of managing payroll remotely is collecting employees' leave and attendance data. This ultimately decides how many days the organization is going to pay each employee for, and it may be even more variable than usual right now. To keep up, your system needs to be agile.

Cloud-based systems offer an advantage, as they are inherently capable of allowing people to work from where they are. HR and payroll systems based in the cloud also come with features that are specifically useful for remote work, like web check-ins and geolocation-based attendance tracking that gives HR staff the up-to-the-minute attendance data they need.

Trusting software that is compliant by design

Managing your business compliance can be tough during this time. In some countries, there will be temporary regulation changes, some countries propose to defer the tax payments to a later date. All these timely measures are definitely helpful for the business owners but those compliance policy changes are still rules that has to be followed.

Having a payroll system that is compliant by design or with ability to quickly adapt to changing regulations can make a big difference. While any good payroll software makes it possible to calculate taxes accurately and keep your business on a legal footing, cloud-based software offers the extra advantage of swiftly adapting to changing tax laws. Because it allows the payroll staff to work from where they are, data validation, tax-reports generation, and secure collaboration are a cinch.

Digitizing processes through self-service

HRs always have many priorities to work on, so it helps when they can delegate some of the routine work to employees. This is the perfect time to give the traditional pen-and-paper systems a break and start digitizing operations wherever possible.

Some cloud-based payroll systems come with self-service options where the information collected is inherently digital, freeing up HR time. Employees can submit investment proofs and reimbursement requests online, from wherever they are, for the HR department to validate. This helps to get employee expenses reimbursed as quickly as possible, which is especially important right now.

Digitized systems can also automate post-payroll activities like payslip distribution and payroll accounting. In turn, this can speed up your payroll, reduce enquiries to your HRs, and create space for HRs to focus on their top-priority communication tasks.

The way forward

Many organizations are currently planning for their employees to work remotely for significant periods of time. While there are plenty of business priorities to address, payroll is vital for businesses to continue their operations and maintain their staff. Fortunately, payroll departments can depend on cloud technology to help them navigate this situation, sustain their spotless compliance records, and future-proof their payroll processing operations.


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