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Paying employees properly is more important than ever, yet confusing and contradictory regulations, coupled with a lack of investment in payroll professionals, are triggering a string of underpayment stings from the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO).

Between 2021 and 2022, the FWO announced that AU$523 million in unpaid wages and entitlements was recovered for more than 384,000 workers in Australia. This sum was more than three times higher than the previous year’s record.

Beyond financial implications, any organisation that fails to accurately pay entitlements owed to employees also runs the risk of reputational damage and, with it, the loss of employees and customers. As payroll becomes more complicated, time-consuming, and costly it requires specialised skills to get it right.

Here are five ways businesses can immediately improve the quality of their payroll.

1. Choose an automated payroll process

An automated payroll system eliminates paper-based timesheets and physical payslips, speeds up processes, reduces payroll errors, and makes payroll records more accessible. An added benefit of a paperless payroll process is that businesses can cut paper usage and ‘go green’.

Businesses that want to save on costs while accessing the latest payroll technology should consider outsourcing their payroll processes. A fully managed payroll service invests in state-of-the-art technology that is secure, accessible, and disaster-proof, ensuring businesses operate smoothly and efficiently.

2. Invest in regular training and education

Slow growth in payroll jobs is creating a widening skills gap leaving a large number of unfilled seats in payroll departments. For those who remain, continual education and training are critically important.

The payroll profession is dynamic and evolving with ever-changing technology, employment types, and legislation. These changes require payroll professionals who are always up to date, or the risk of non-compliance creeps in.

Properly trained payroll employees can both process payroll and understand the latest legislation, which leads to improved productivity and fewer errors, and also supports job enrichment by helping employees grow their knowledge.

3. Upgrade payroll software

Legacy technology may have gotten the job done a couple of decades ago, but it’s likely not fit for purpose in today’s world.

Outdated software increases risk, while slowing response times and reducing productivity. Upgrading payroll software is a secure investment that simplifies the payroll process. It reduces the reliance on key people, eliminates duplication, and improves accuracy. It also leads to greater employee satisfaction — essential for employee retention and winning the war for talent.

Innovative software will prepare businesses for the future of payroll by including real-time data, automated workflows, pay-on-demand, and self-service functions to empower employees and remove the administrative load.

4. Keep up with regulation changes

Fulfilling the legislative obligations of payroll is critical for every business. In reality, constantly changing and complex payroll legislation is confusing and often difficult to interpret. This can lead to potential misclassification of employees and problems achieving compliance.

Seeking formal accreditation and attending payroll seminars can provide employees with valuable insights that they can take back to the workplace. However, not every business has the time or resources to do this. Instead, when the risk of getting payroll wrong feels overwhelming, businesses should look to managed payroll providers offering accredited payroll experts who are equipped to meet compliance needs.

5. Outsource the payroll process

Yes, payroll is becoming more and more complicated. Also yes, having confidence in payroll and knowing that everything is being calculated and processed correctly is essential to business success.

When payroll processing is managed externally, employees are free to focus on value-added activities that drive the bottom line and differentiate the business from its competitors. Additionally, managed payroll providers deliver significant cost savings compared with building a dedicated in-house team while providing up-to-date technology and best practice. This helps businesses achieve greater data accuracy, automation, and enhanced employee engagement and experience.

Simplifying payroll, the right way

Confusing regulations, inadequate technology, and a lack of investment in payroll professionals shouldn’t limit payroll’s potential. When businesses outsource to a fully managed payroll service provider, they ensure their payroll function complies with Australian and New Zealand payroll legislation.

Affinity’s managed payroll service delivers a solution that takes care of your entire payroll operation with guaranteed compliance that keeps pace with changing legislation. With the latest proprietary technology, we offer our clients a single platform that combines payroll and workforce management to help businesses improve performance. Say goodbye to slow, manual processes and hello to automation, best practice, and compliance.

If you’re ready to improve the quality of your payroll process, contact the Affinity Payroll team today.

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For over thirty years, Affinity has been a trusted partner for mid-market and enterprise businesses in Australia and New Zealand, empowering them to transform their payroll operations. With a focus on turning payroll from a cost into an asset, we have established ourselves as industry leaders in delivering innovative cloud-based payroll software and exceptional payroll services.