Embracing change: A look at three payroll trends in 2019

By iiPay | Updated February 27, 2020


The global payroll industry evolved quickly in 2018 with tighter integration needs, increased regulations and a higher demand for cloud technology. As we consider lessons learned from 2018 and their outcomes, we also look forward at the trends we’re predicting for 2019 and the insights driving them.

As a trusted go-to resource for global payroll, we see the following trends coming this year:

  1. Working smarter, not harder: the role of data and automation to reduce risk and improve accuracy
  2. Flexibility and support for business: an even higher adoption of cloud-based services and need for centralization
  3. Data security and compliance: increased data protection legislation in the digital era

Working Smarter, Not Harder

In the 1930s, Allen F. Morgenstern, an industrial engineer and creator of the work simplification program, which was designed to increase people’s ability to produce more with less effort, coined the term “work smarter, not harder.” Nearly 90 years later, those four words ring just as true. From a new demographic of employees whose working expectations vary drastically from previous generations to the explosion of data, dealing with information in the same old way is no longer an option. The utilization of artificial intelligence (AI) and the strategic deployment of robotics and automation within the payroll industry delivers increasing efficiencies in time and accuracy and provides a catalyst for your payroll employees to increase their value.

Here’s our top three reasons why working smarter, not harder in 2019 can benefit you:

  • Low risk, high consistency data processing: Using robotics in payroll, you can impose stricter controls for repetitive tasks, improving accuracy and consistency, while reducing the chance of human error and reducing risk. Take data verification as an example … as a manual task, only a portion of the total data may be sampled to confirm accuracy. However, when using cognitive technology like robotics, you can compare the entire database rapidly, delivering greater accuracy.
  • Automation: Whether it is data sourcing, increasing the number of data points collected or simplifying data sharing and collection, automation opens the door to better decision making. The higher the degree of automation the greater visibility you will see across geographies, as well as better compliance and more reliable global reporting.
  • A catalyst for improvement: Helping your employees work smarter increases efficiency by cutting down avoidable errors and increasing organizational bandwidth. In payroll, this means you spend less time manually processing and more time focused on a more holistic view of your business for further improvements and growth.

Flexibility and Support for Business

Employment trends shifted even further last year with more flexible hours, remote settings, and employee mobility all on the rise. Businesses face the challenge of ensuring they can continue delivering services to their clients, and for payroll, this means employees get paid accurately and on time and that the company remains compliant with regulatory requirements.  For continued success, businesses need to combine a flexible, nimble approach with clear and meaningful data, to intelligently support their employees in this new work environment.

These are the top three ways you can be flexible and provide support in 2019:

  • Cloud-based services: While not a new trend, this shows no signs of stalling anytime soon. In fact, Forbes estimates that by 2020, 83% of enterprise businesses will be cloud-based. The cloud offers accessibility from any point with an internet connection, minimized risk with a range of secure backup and disaster recovery functions and a solution that can scale easily according to the needs of the business and clients.
  • Human resource (HR) system integrations: HR management systems are becoming more necessary as the need to work with large amounts of data, often globally, becomes more common. Within payroll, to ensure you’re getting the most efficiency gains from your solution, it is important to have a single source of truth for your employee data. By establishing two-way integrations with your systems, you create that source of truth and can work with the data for detailed analyses or establish business plans, all within the framework you apply to your global business.
  • Centralization: Payroll companies are increasingly investing in data centralization for its efficiencies in processes, greater clarity in financial matters and insight into the application and health of the global payroll approach. By bringing your payroll data together in a centralized source that can integrate with HR systems, you gain greater insights into your data to support your business in driving payroll efficiency in line with your business requirements. This data centralization is an increasingly sought-after part of delivering a modern efficient, and compliant global payroll solution.

Data Security and Compliance

In an increasingly connected world, data security and compliance continue to make big headlines. Last year, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was rolled out and the conversation surrounding data privacy and control intensified. In the payroll and financial industries particularly, employees and clients now require concrete guarantees concerning their data.

According to the EU GDPR website: “The GDPR not only applies to organizations located within the EU but also applies to organizations located outside of the EU if they offer goods or services to, or monitor the behavior of, EU data subjects. It applies to all companies processing and holding the personal data of data subjects residing in the European Union, regardless of the company’s location.”

In 2019, we expect to see these three data security topics continue to develop:

  • Digital trust and intelligent identification: The digital mindset is moving businesses toward identifying users based on normal profile activities to improve threat detection and prevention. Security by design: As new systems are developed, there is a need to build security and access controls from the ground up to restrict potential security gaps.
  • Continued rollout of new data protection legislation: With GDPR and Notifiable Data Breach (NDB – Australia) launching last year, we expect to see other nations implementing equivalent regulations. Additionally, the overall impact of GDPR is expected to become much clearer in 2019 as the one-year anniversary of its rollout approaches in May.

Leading-Edge Companies Embrace Change

Global enterprises that aim to be on the cusp of change must continually challenge themselves to outpace the competition. In the global payroll environment, this means anticipating change, keeping up with technological advancements, being agile enough to comply with new legislation and adopting practices and processes that provide transparency.

In the coming weeks, we will discuss these topics in much greater detail to analyze the direct impact on your payroll. Will you be an early adopter that sets the pace or lag behind the leaders? Global enterprises don’t need to “break the bank” to be leading edge. Follow iiPay and our trends at www.iipay.com.

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