Payroll evolution: Enhancing accuracy, compliance, and employee experience

A good payroll system forms the backbone of any organisation to ensure employee retention and efficiency, a recent ADP webinar discussed.
By: | February 1, 2024

Many organisations can attest to the importance of having a good, efficient payroll system, and how it can improve efficiency, optimise time management for HR leaders, and streamline resource allocation. ADP, a global organisation that provides human resources management software and services, understands the importance of these aspects and has garnered much data on the topic at large. 

Partnering with HRM Asia, ADP recently conducted a webinar entitled Payroll Evolution 2024: Enhancing Accuracy, Compliance, and Employee Experience to discuss the importance of payroll accuracy, especially for employee retention in large organisations, and how maintainingpayroll accuracy will ensure that any business would be able to meet its employee, regulatory, legal and shareholder obligations. This webinar was an opportunity for HR teams and representatives to learn about key updated statistics and information about payroll’s role in current times. 

Hosted by Shawn Liew, Head of Content Development, HRM Asia, the webinar kicked off with the insights of John Antos, Vice President Strategy, Global Payroll & Asia Pacific, ADP, who began by sharing some data about the potential of payroll study that ADP created for 2024. The ADP study, The Potential of Payroll In 2024: A Global Payroll Survey, identified the top priorities for organisations wishing to transform their payroll functions and innovate them for the future. 

Payroll in 2024, Antos summarised, would be about balancing conflicting priorities, challenges, and opportunities, as well as risk and reward in the face of fast-changing internal and external forces such as repositioning of supply changes, digital transformation, and even different work environments in different locations. “To be able to deliver that accurately is one of the core things that we need to focus on as we go through this year,” said Antos.

The ADP study surveyed the responses of 1,700 senior leaders in multinational businesses with responsibility for payroll across global organisations in 19 different markets, including APAC countries like Singapore, China, Australia, and Japan. 

“Payroll is becoming more important than ever because all the talent we need is paid and managed through this part of the organisation,” said Antos.  Some key findings he shared showed that organisations that delivered on payroll transformation reported a much better employee experience, an even distribution in terms of working with better integration of payroll with HR/business systems, tighter data security, and more reliable technology. A better payroll transformation also saw better data quality and integrity garnered, as well as efficient and newer ways to pay staff.

“What we learnt from the study [with regards to payroll systems] was to focus on the core fundamentals,” he said, emphasising the importance of paying employees accurately and on time, as well as placing more emphasis on the value of the tools involved instead of just how much they cost. The importance of securing data and maximising the use of technology to reduce admin load will help save time on staff as well as increase the quality of the data, Antos concluded.

The webinar then shifted to a fireside chat between Rahul Goyal, General Manager, ADP South-East Asia, and S.K. Vadivelan, Accounting Director GBS, Ford Motor Company, where they shared real-life case studies from Ford around the key principles of what had been shared by ADP’s study.  Vadivelan, who has held various key positions at Ford for 22 years, shared how his role in global accounting in Ford’s business centre in India meant that he and his team manage most of the transactional and financial reporting processes, managing payroll in their Asia-Pacific markets. This amounts to 20,000 employees in 15 countries within the region, including China, Australia, Thailand, Vietnam, and India.

With such an extensive network, the importance of payroll transformation was a daunting one, and Vadivelan and his team took to implementing the ADP payroll system market by market, using Australia as the pilot in 2012. Their initial launch was delayed due to trial-and-error issues, and Vadivelan advised organisations to implement changes only after the launch of bigger programmes, including time for stabilisation and beta-testing before making improvements. He also advised organisations in different regions to pay special attention to how many employees will be covered by the system, particularly when unions are involved.

ADP and Convera partner to deliver a streamlined payroll solution

Lastly, he also suggested organisations launch new payroll systems at the beginning of the tax year of the region they are operating in, something that he and his team had learnt when implementing new systems in different countries. “Pulling tax data from the old system to another cost us painfully, so now we synchronised with the tax year, to make it easier on all the teams involved,” he concluded.