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Why should payroll be in the cloud? Five takeaways from our roundtable discussion

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In our ongoing series of expert roundtables, we invite HR leaders to share their insights and questions about key People challenges in a trusted environment of their peers. Recently, we gathered to discuss the benefits of bringing payroll entirely online, and what that process involves.

Leading the conversation were Sharon Eadie, a leading payroll specialist for SD Worx in the UK, and Sue Knowles, Head of HR at Costco, who has a great story to tell about her company’s payroll transformation.

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      While the conversation itself was closed, some of the points raised are too insightful not to share anonymously. Read on for five key benefits of moving payroll to the cloud, as told by the experts.  

      1. Reduce the risk of non-compliance

      One of the first points that came up was risk. Some participants wondered: do the risks of making a payroll transition outweigh the benefits? Paying people correctly and on time is so crucial that it can create fear of change. But it soon came up that keeping payroll in-house carries its own risk, because it requires monumental expertise in the face of ever-changing legislation. A cloud-based service, on the other hand, could have legislative compliance baked into the solution, with regular software updates ensuring there’s no room for error.   

      2. Stay agile, always

      Speaking of ever-changing legislation: everyone agreed that payroll services have to be agile, whether in responding to legislation or organisational change. Sue Knowles from Costco shared how her team had a big task on their hands as they were suddenly compelled to switch payroll providers within just four weeks—and they wanted to take that chance to move to the cloud, while juggling Costco’s unique time and attendance processes. SD Worx enabled the transition, which saw immediate benefits such as bringing payslips online: an ideal solution for a team of employees based across the UK.  

      3. Centralise your operations

      Making payslips accessible online is a great example of payroll centralisation. That’s what most attendees in the session were striving towards, and why they say that cloud-based payroll appeals to them.

      As one attendee put it, “Our payroll was locally managed, with no global overview or consistent, streamlined processes. We were able to centralise our Europe operations and do things more efficiently, while still ensuring we covered the local specifics.”

      Sharon Eadie explained how it doesn’t have to be an all-local vs. all-central prospect when you migrate payroll to the cloud. In many cases, SD Worx collaborates with in-country payroll specialists, all of whom benefit from having a centralised online portal where all international payroll data is collated.  

      4. Extend your team externally

      Sue Knowles discussed how SD Worx prepared for the challenge of taking Costco’s payroll to the cloud. According to Sue, success rested on the trust and collaboration between her internal team and SD Worx. Before the project began, SD Worx specialists came in to meet and get to know the people at Costco who would be working with them to set up and maintain the new cloud-based payroll system. Because SD Worx was able to answer questions directly from a variety of employees, it created an atmosphere of confidence and open communication that led to reduced errors and saved time.

      5. Save costs by improving efficiency

      Fewer mistakes and less time taken of course lead to cost savings. Everyone at the session agreed that taking payroll to the cloud is essential for improving efficiency, and that is ultimately what makes the difference to their bottom line over the long term. Sue Knowles could confirm that Costco has seen “significant cost reduction”, and that this message of cost-efficiency can underpin a strong business case for moving payroll to the cloud.    

      Want to know more about the benefits of cloud-based payroll? Book a Payroll Discovery session and get personalised advice on building your business case.

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