SumTotal Blog

3 Tips for a Better Payroll Process

September 6, 2017



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Happy National Payroll Week!

First off, I’d like to offer my deepest thanks to those payroll professionals who ensure that we all receive, in a timely and correct manner, the fruits of our labor, or the monetary ones at least!

Secondly, on the subject of how to do payroll better, we’re hearing a lot these days about how best to use time & attendance data to do this, and we want to share some tips.

Anything payroll-related is a tricky topic, because even a small mistake could result in a big problem—especially given the impact a negative payroll experience can have in the constant battle to attract and retain top talent. Improper or late pay is a surefire way to lose employees and damage your reputation as an employer.

But success with the payroll process, like so many other areas of the workforce, is becoming more and more data-centric. And so, effective use of data, especially time & attendance data, must now play a more central role in the process payroll.

To help you establish a best-practice payroll process, one that utilizes and is better connected to your time & attendance data, here are three suggestions:

1. Automate.

Paper-based time tracking and manual spreadsheet data entry are currently part of the payroll process for many organizations. One of the problems with such a system is that a physical paper trail creates multiple sources or places to find data. Not only that, but manual time entry is often laden with errors or incorrect assumptions; errors that are further multiplied when data is entered into more than one system. And of course such work is time-intensive and therefore costly and inefficient.

Automation creates a centralized record of truth thereby eliminating the risks associated with manual data entry error and is available for scrutiny or analysis faster because you have eliminated the time required for looking through files, sorting spreadsheets and so on.

2. Track.

By tracking occurrence exceptions you can gain valuable insights. For example, by tracking anything outside of your attendance policy, like those who routinely clock in early or late and take long lunches, you can learn your workforce’s story and how they operate in conjunction with the schedule. This not only helps you ensure an effective payroll process, but also gives you information needed to influence positive behavior. Furthermore, you can use this information to motivate employees by giving them the opportunity to earn points for positive behaviors such as perfect attendance.

Additionally, employees who know that their occurrences are tracked for anything outside of the organization’s attendance policy are more likely to adhere to the schedule and less likely to engage in time theft activity like buddy punching.

3. Drive.

Your time & attendance data is the crux of payroll, and now that it’s accurate with occurrences tracked, it can be used to support and drive strategies organization-wide—including your learning and talent agendas.

That’s right, not only does accurate data mean accurate payroll, but additional strategic value can be derived from this data when integrated with other HR initiatives. For example, you can make employee engagement natural and continuous by showing your people growth and development opportunities everyday—right at the place where work is being done. Streamlining workflows let’s people clearly see when they need to take training for certifications or to comply with educational requirements.

SumTotal Time & Attendance, a module of our Workforce Management solution, can help your modern payroll department keep pace and ensure that in our data-driven world, both in payroll and throughout your organization, you are maximizing the value of your time and attendance data.

Don’t know where to start? Request a Discovery Call to learn how SumTotal can help you automate, track, and drive with time & attendance data at your fingertips.

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