Recently, Avanti’s Co-CEO, Amin Lalani was a panel guest at the discussion on The Future of Payroll at the 2021 Canadian Payroll Association Annual Conference. We followed up his appearance with a special episode of Office Hours to go even deeper on the topic. As a result, we’ve had many requests to put this topic in writing. We thought a checklist would be a good way for payroll and HR professionals to assess their position in the Future of Payroll.
The Future of Canadian Payroll Checklist
1. Are you on the cloud yet?
For payroll professionals, moving to the cloud will help empower their entire organization. Migrating to a cloud solution will free up time for you to be more strategic in your role. Running a payroll is a process that when done manually can involve some fairly redundant tasks. The automated features offered from cloud-based solutions give you the opportunity to focus on the big picture – your employees.
More organizations transitioning to the cloud means more providers and vendors will have more data to build truly optimized products. Enhanced payroll models are coming and will change the way we work, for the better.
2. Automation is nothing to fear
Automated functionality and tasks reduce time-consuming processes. Payroll professionals will find their primary roles shifting as automation and technology further evolve. You won’t be automated out of a job, but parts of your jobs will be. Less “import-the-time-batch” and “run-the-payroll” and more focus on strategy and how to use your data to your benefit.
3. Upskilling for the win
What are you doing to learn about how to work with data and to develop fluency with modern technology systems? It’s incredibly important to learn and invest in yourself, and it’s never too late to learn new skills.
The ability to use, manipulate, and contextualize data is becoming more important for payroll pros. As we move into a future of enhanced payroll models, knowledge and experience with data are incredibly important.
Grow your skills and your role:
- Think about how you’re currently using and manipulating data, how you’re building your individual skillset, and translating data into usable insight. Is there room to grow?
- Think about the technology you currently use. If you’re using an on-premise or self-hosted system, or you’re with a vendor that makes it challenging to extract the data you need, how can you envision room for improvement? Is it time to advocate change?
- Think about how you or your managers, your internal customers spend your time day-to-day. Would a self-serve portal free up your time? Could mobile tech remove existing barriers between you and your team? Are there areas you’re more involved than necessary? If your tech isn’t meeting these basic requirements, you might want to consider how an investment in the cloud would benefit you and your people. Is it time to make the case for a new solution?
Sadly, most payroll professionals feel that payroll is a lower-end, back-office function without a strategic seat at the table. These changes – moving to the cloud, the development of new technologies, the enhanced payroll model, and smartly using data – will help you win your seat at the table.
To start training for the future you want, the Canadian Payroll Association and other organizations provide resources for this learning, some free and some paid – take advantage of the resources available to you.
4. Protecting and using your data
There’s a resistance in Canada’s somewhat conservative business climate to transferring data from on-premise to the cloud. What businesses looking to the future need to know is that moving to the cloud provides increased security for your data. It must be protected vigilantly.
No matter who your vendor is, when you consider a move to the cloud, it’s best to dig in and understand what your access to your data will look like and to determine how many endpoints that will allow you to call your data from your system. It’s critical that your cloud vendors can give you the same access to your data that you had before the move to cloud.
“Data contained within on-prem systems or HCM systems is incredibly important, valuable, and sensitive, and can be used in a multifaceted way. It’s the heartbeat and home of all of your information about people, used in every other application you adopt and the many people programs you design for your workforce.” – Amin Lalani, Co-CEO, Avanti
5. Is your payroll provider a partner?
A few questions to ask yourself about your current HRIS provider:
Is your provider working on helping you deliver an experience to your clients?
Is your provider a partner to your business?
If the answer to one or both questions is no, it’s likely time to work with a provider who has your best future at heart.
“We strive to be a consultative resource beyond just providing the technology that you need.” - Amin Lalani, Co-CEO, Avanti
Things to look for when searching for a new cloud-based technology solution:
- Technology and service - Before taking the dive, you want to ensure you find a vendor that will help you with your new user experience and be supportive with your transition to the cloud. If the promise is just “modern tech” be sure to move on. You need to work with an organization that values the client experience and delivers high-quality service where and when you need it.
- Are they taking the time to understand your goals? Your provider should understand who you are as an organization, what you do, what your goals are. They need to be a partner in helping you deliver in what works for your organization, they should care about helping you meet your goals.
- Are they committed to their own improvement? Providing technology is one thing, but is your vendor investing in their own future? Before taking the plunge, be sure to gauge their level of commitment to investing and evolving an enhanced payroll model.
5. Are you having conversations with leadership?
Ready to face the future? If that’s a yes it’s time to start having conversations with the people who can help make change happen for you and your organization. Here’s what discussions you might want to bring to the table (just maybe not all at once).
- Talk to your leaders about what the future of payroll will look like - Discuss what goals and changes you have in mind for your organization. Being a part of the process will assure you have a place in determining your future.
- Look at the areas where you need to grow - To move forward your company needs to invest in your growth too and upskilling is a major part of your evolution as a payroll professional.
- Invest in your team - Look into resources that will enable you and your payroll team to learn about data and how to pull insight from it.
- Educate and advocate - Make your voice heard. It’s on you to convince stakeholders of the strategic possibilities payroll can bring to the table.