CFOs, Finance, and accounting professionals are responsible for helping their organizations make informed decisions. With payroll being a significant, and often the largest, operating expense for an organization it’s important to have a solution that provides the greatest return on your technology investment.

The first thing to understand is that payroll processing is one of many elements to taking care of your employees – Human Resources, Workforce Management, Talent Acquisition and New Hire Onboarding, and self-service mobile applications are also key, and that’s why your payroll software works best when it’s integrated within a full people management technology stack.

Managing from one single data source avoids redundancy, saves time and money, and helps to empower your team.

When it comes to accounting for payroll, there are five key areas that can help you determine the ROI of your payroll solution within your people management technology stack:

  1. Accuracy
  2. Business Intelligence
  3. Flexibility
  4. Cost
  5. Compatibility

1. Why Payroll accuracy is absolutely essential

Errors cost money and losing money affects your bottom line, which is why you don’t want to end up with costly penalties or overages for not calculating remittances or benefits correctly.

The other cost of inaccuracy is employee confidence. Paying your employees on time and correctly is crucial for a happy workforce. Being late or 95% accurate isn’t good enough.

Be on time. Don’t overpay.

To ensure compliance, your payroll solution should accurately calculate regulatory remittances and provide you with all the information you need to pay them on time. When we implement new systems at Avanti, it’s common for us to find that a legacy system is set up incorrectly for taxable benefits, CPP, and EI. When overpayments are made the employee can get their overpayment back, but your organization cannot get your corporate overpayment back, which can result in unnecessary extra costs.

Eliminate oversights

You can have a solution that balances expenses even after terminations are processed. We’ve all heard stories of people who were no longer on the payroll, but still getting paid. Or of people whose benefits were significantly overpaid as there was no easy tool to reconcile them and verify the balance against the bill from the provider. Make sure your payroll solution can perform audits to ensure that you aren’t continuing to pay benefits for terminated employees.

2. Access to data for Business Intelligence is essential

Our clients have often shared with us that when assessing the value of their Canadian payroll solution, it’s the system's reporting capabilities that provide the most value to them and their executive team.

Unlimited access

A good payroll solution makes every field you’re tracking available to you for building reports. And you should be able to build reports that incorporate the required information in a presentable manner.

Reporting made easy

Your team should be able to produce reports without a third-party tool or extensive database knowledge. An effective payroll reporting tool lets your team access data quickly and accurately. For example, an ad hoc reporting tool with drag and drop functionality can vastly improve efficiencies when building your reports. Everyone with access to the data should be able to run their own reports not require IT resources for any reporting. You shouldn’t depend on your IT department to get you the Payroll reports you need.

Work smarter, not harder

Your payroll solution should be like having an extra team member. You should expect it to be able to automate alerts, schedule reports, and allow you to create workflows for process approvals.

3. Flexibility in Your Canadian Payroll Software Solution

In business, the only constant is change and your payroll solution should meet your business needs today and well into the future.

Your Payroll solution needs to be flexible so it can be configured to meet new business requirements. Whether your organization is changing benefits plans or experiencing significant growth, your solution needs to be able to adapt and scale as your business changes.

Stay current

Most modern Canadian payroll software providers are now flexible, cloud-based solutions. These platforms do away with costly and cumbersome version upgrades and should keep you up to date, both technically and legislatively.

Finding the perfect fit for you

One size does not fit all, in fact, many large enterprise payroll providers offer way more than mid-size businesses need. This is typically how organizations end up paying for features they don’t even use and will never need. It’s okay to ask your software provider to review your setup and processes every few years, this way you’ll know you’re getting the most from your solution. Receiving good advice, guidance, and knowledge from your payroll provider is one way of knowing you’ve made the right choice.

Your entire team will benefit

Your solution needs to allow your team to be proactive, not reactive. It needs to provide flexible tools for updating information for your employees quickly and easily. There should be flexibility in sharing information directly with managers and employees, allowing them to access the information they need at their fingertips through a Self-Service portal. These kinds of tools will enable your Payroll and HR team to free up time to produce more reports and focus on better serving their client base (your employees).

4. The True Cost of a Canadian Payroll Software Solution

The annual cost of your Payroll solution should be transparent

You should know what the cost of your system is and be able to budget for it accordingly. With different pricing models (e.g. capital vs operating expenditures) and delivery methods (e.g. managed hosting services, on-premise, or outsourced services) it’s important to figure out the total cost of ownership for your Canadian payroll solution.

Regardless of the model you select to better manage costs, insist on the following points from your Canadian Payroll solution provider:

1. Cost containment

You can expect to pay a single, all-inclusive cost per year. If you’re expected to pay for every pay run, every report, every pay statement, T4, and ROE – look elsewhere.

2. Remember, It’s your money!

Payroll often represents a significant portion of your organization’s dollars. When you’re a smaller business cashflow matters. By outsourcing remittances, you have to give up your money far sooner, these funds could be working for you earning interest income or purchasing inventory.

3. Your needs are unique

Every business is unique and your software should be able to manage complex or complicated payroll requirements without time-consuming workarounds, programming fees, or additional professional services and payroll processing costs.

5. A Compatible Canadian Payroll Software Solution

When your HCM houses all of your employee data in one place, it should still be compatible with other relevant software solutions at your organization. Your people management solution needs to work with other software solutions and be compatible with your Finance, Payroll, HR, and Operations teams.

When workflows and system usability are easily learned and memorable for your team, workplace satisfaction increases dramatically.

Technology matters

Empower your team to get back to what they do best – looking after your people. You can accomplish this with a technology stack that collects employee time, processes your Canadian payroll, calculates deductions, uploads pay statements, provides real-time reporting, and that allows you to post your payroll GL with a single keystroke or directly into your cloud-based ERP.

Compatible = Efficient

When you have compatibility between your HCM with financial solution, you get detailed costs for all of your Payroll accounting. For example, when an employee works in more than one cost centre, employer-paid benefits can automatically be expensed per the wages earned. So when you look at costs, it is truly a picture of exact costs for all wages, benefits, and accrued expenses for vacation or other entitlements.


Here are some questions to ask your Canadian payroll administrators:

  • Is your payroll software solution easy to use?
  • Does the workflow make sense?
  • Can employees easily access data from a single point in the software?
  • How hard is it to pull a report?
  • What's the payroll provider's support like?

When your team gets what they need from your payroll solution, they will be empowered to provide accurate, detailed pay and reporting.

When your solution is easy-to-use, it makes for an efficient team, which means you won’t need to add additional administrative headcount to your Payroll or HR group.

And when your team is happy with the tools they have, you get awesome results.

How to have a reliable payroll system like Glacier Media

Learn how Glacier Media, a Canadian publisher that processes payroll for 1,000 employees across Canada, saved over $150,000 a year with better reporting, benefits management, and payroll processing through their in-house Canadian payroll solution.

Read on.

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