New year, new goals. You’re getting closer to wrapping up year-end and ready to work smarter, not harder in 2023. If you’re not the New year’s resolution type, the best way to approach your goals for 2023 is to think about the obstacles affecting your day-to-day and the ways you can overcome them. SMART goal setting can help you make the changes you want while meeting organizational targets.

What is SMART goal setting?

The SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) approach helps you break down larger projects and ongoing tasks into doable sprints.

For payroll professionals, one goal you may have is to reduce payroll errors with a modern payroll software solution. As you well know, payroll errors lead to compliance issues and can take up considerable time and resources to correct. Having the right tools and partner on your side creates a world of difference each and every pay period.

Here’s an example of how you could approach this problem using the SMART technique:

Goal: Reduce payroll errors by sourcing and implementing payroll software that ensures accuracy and compliance.

  • Specific: Reduce payroll errors by sourcing and implementing new payroll software.
  • Measurable: 98% reduction in payroll errors.
  • Achievable: Find a new payroll partner that can meet your organizational needs and help properly implement new payroll software.
  • Relevant: Payroll error reduction saves money and resources, employee pay is accurate and on time, new payroll software automates manual tasks, and payroll can act as an organizational hub—aligning Time & Attendance, HR, Talent Acquisition, and more.
  • Time-bound: Aim for a 6-9 month window to source and implement new software. Set a realistic target date and go for it.

2023 Payroll resolutions for payroll pros

Now that you’ve got the SMART technique down, you can apply it to a wide array of achievable goals. Here are a few payroll goals worth considering this year:

Spend less time on manual entry

Reduce the time you spend on repetitive, manual tasks and spare yourself from the headaches that come with them. The solution lies in HCM software that aligns your departments. When your organization’s payroll, HR, and workforce management functions are unified, you enter data once and only once, and it’s shared across all your platforms. Once your functions are aligned, everyone is on the same page and sharing the same properly formatted data. This uninterrupted data flow gives your team more time to focus on the big picture.

illustration of Avanti client with laptop

Level up with data

Speaking of the big picture, payroll is so much more than paying people accurately and on time. With the rise of big data, the payroll function now plays a major role in bringing strategic insight to the table.

If there is any skill payroll professionals should be focused on building, it’s the ability to use, manipulate, and contextualize data. The value of consistent, detailed payroll information on workforce costs enhances decision-making and influences forecasting for leadership teams. By compiling and sharing the workforce insights revealed in payroll data, payroll professionals have the opportunity to play a much more significant role in their organizations.

For Payroll Professionals: Developing technical skillsets such as data analytics, advanced Excel, and an understanding of automation can help future-proof one’s career as it develops.

The Future of Payroll Education and Skills, 2022 Report by NPI + PwC

Make a move to the cloud

Moving your payroll solution to the cloud will empower your entire organization. As mentioned earlier, manual payroll processing involves numerous repetitive tasks. On the cloud, a modern HCM software solution can offer you many one-and-done features like scheduling that syncs with payroll, automated shift requirements, automated report scheduling and distribution, and even employee self-serve. A cloud-based solution helps you focus on what matters—your people. And, as more organizations transition to the cloud, payroll and HR solution providers will have more quality data to optimize their products.

Tune into the payroll community

No one knows payroll better than you and your peers. To keep up with the latest from your community, join  Canadian payroll forums, follow payroll leaders on LinkedIn, and be sure to join and follow NPI for the latest in payroll trends, event updates, and education. Don’t forget to sign-up for The Avanti Advocate newsletter, our quarterly newsletter that features a roundup of our top payroll and HR resources and upcoming events.

Stay ahead of year-end

Even though you’ll be done with year-end in a few weeks' time, best practices say you should try and stay ahead of it all year round. The easiest way to do that is with monthly reconciliations. If you reconcile monthly, you won’t have a backlog when it comes to year-end, which means you’ll be ahead of the game.

Build closer partnerships with HR and Finance

Collaboration between HR, finance, and payroll is the key to a better employee experience and organizational success. From hiring and benefits to payroll and personal data—the main connection between all three functions is people. Payroll and finance activities are dependent upon HR’s people processes, and HR depends on finance and payroll for smooth and accurate paydays. All departments are responsible for protecting confidential employee data, including financial information, social insurance numbers, and home addresses.

Having one unified solution for HR, payroll, and finance breaks down company silos and ensures the processes and policies you set are automated and implemented throughout your employee life cycle. By uniting HR and payroll processes with integrated HCM software, you can avoid dual data entry, significantly reduce errors, and improve organizational reporting.

Illustration of two Avanti HR and Finance team members

Resolve to go further

Like every other department in your organization, payroll’s goals need to align with company targets and present a clear path forward. With a solid plan in place, you and your team will spend time on work that moves the dial. By making your goals SMART, you’ll have the strategy and steps you need to grow in your role and achieve success in your organization.

Additional Reading:

Work smarter, not harder in 2023

With Avanti’s flexible in-house solution, you can run your payroll accurately and confidently. With smoother processes, automated workflows, and a supported team—we’ve got you. Avanti helps you bring it all together to make your workdays a breeze. 300+ Canadian companies use Avanti every day. See why.

Canadian Payroll Guide

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