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Best Practices For Processing Payroll Manually

Every month, a handful of HR executives repeat a painful process of running complicated payroll for the entire company. From tracking employees’ attendance and overtime hours to calculation of commissions, claims, allowances and tax filing, these manual daunting tasks could be really challenging. Most important of all, mistakes are not tolerated and the Pay Day could not be delayed a single day.

The pay day is no doubt an exciting day for many of us. On the other hand, it could be a monthly nightmare if you are the payroll executive processing payroll manually.

Nowadays, complicated payroll processes could be automated to reduce paperwork and human errors. Using spreadsheets to manually calculate your company’s monthly payroll is more likely to cause delay and result in miscalculation. There is also the hassle of complying with local regulations such as IRAS Tax and CPF contribution rate.

For companies small or big, there are numerous payroll software solution providers in the market to help. These software could be SaaS based or proprietary solution that calculates salary payments and takes into account of bonuses, claims and allowances.

Most mid-to-large size corporations are already using Payroll solutions such as Workday HCM and Oracle. Some startups and small business owners may still be using Excel, but there is really no reason to do so as SaaS (or web based) payroll solution is really affordable.

If your company still processes payroll with Excel Spreadsheets, here are some tips that could make your life easier.

Historical Payroll Records

When preparing payroll for the current month, there is no doubt that you need to refer to past payroll records. It could be easy if your company has only 2 or 3 employees. When the headcount rises, so will your frustrations because managing payroll can be much more complex when more employees are involved. So, keeping proper and tidy records of employee historical payroll data is important.

We’re past the days of filing cabinets. Today, powerful payroll and HR software systems can store and retrieve past payroll information easily.

Classify Employees Correctly

It may sound simple but too often, companies fail to separate the different categories of workers. Especially in the Gig economy, our workforce is becoming more diverse. Employees could be Full Time, Part Time, Freelance, Interns, Seasonal, Volunteer and Independent Contractor. Understanding the distinction helps payroll executives to speed up payroll processing and avoid errors later.

Streamline Processes

It is imperative to conduct regular reviews of payroll processes and identify areas that can be optimized or removed. By identifying specific areas that require troubleshooting, this can help to increase productivity in the long run.

GIRO Payment

The HR department can save precious time with automated GIRO salary payment. This benefits both the HR/payroll department as well as accounting department. Printing cheques and delivering to employees can really consume a lot of time. It is also highly prone to errors. Direct deposits is definitely a quicker way to disburse salary to employees.

Payroll Dates & Deadlines

The payroll department can draw up a list of important payroll timeline for the entire year and mark down important dates, such as CPF monthly submission and year-end tax filing deadlines. This is important if there are different types of employees with different pay periods.


Taking Payroll Further…

Besides performing basic steps to optimize payroll processes, further measures could be done which may also involve other departments within the company.

Payroll Communication

Keeping your employees informed about payroll policies and procedures is an important way to keep employees engaged. To build trust and confidence, it is important to communicate any changes in policies and procedures to employees in a clear manner such as updating the company policies page, conducting a town hall or sending email announcements. This is also to avoid any misunderstanding or uncertainty within the workplace.

Regular Audits

Ideally, payroll audit should be conducted at least once per year to verify that processes are up-to-date and comply with local regulations. Audits are also needed to ensure payroll accuracy, and even unravel any potential instances of fraudulent activities.

Data Protection

Understandably, payroll data that is highly sensitive and confidential. Along with employee information, this data requires high levels of protection. Payroll data should be stored securely with encrypted (or password protected) Excel file. The file itself should only be accessed by authorized HR managers and management with various access levels.

If you are using cloud based solution, make sure your provider is using certified public data centers for highest security.

Using Payroll & HR Software

Payroll processing software is highly affordable nowadays. This comes in the form of SaaS payroll, which typically comes in a Pay-As-You-Go model. Besides payroll, many HR processes could also be automated. In fact, using a Payroll and Human Resource Management System can help the HR department to automate Payroll and HR processes completely.

When choosing the right platforms, it is important that the system is able to cater to multi-country and localized markets. As a payroll admin in an MNC, it could be a real headache if you need to deal with separate payroll or HRM systems for each country. So a single platform with multi-country capabilities will be highly desired.

While it is still possible to manage payroll manually with spreadsheets, the first step to increasing payroll productivity is to start adopting good payroll “habits”. To improve company work processes and efficiency in the long run, it is definitely important to consider a payroll and HRM software.