Payroll calendars are an essential tool for payroll professionals, allowing them to schedule tasks and see at-a-glance upcoming deadlines and requirements. Whether you track every minor event or just manage key deadlines like approval and statutory filing dates, chances are that a calendar system is central to effectively managing your payrolls every month.
Yet, calendars are notoriously under-optimized tools. From limited integration and sharing options to underwhelming templates, most payroll schedule systems suffice as a visual layout of due dates but offer little functionality to help teams execute. They tend to be used separately and subjectively, enabling individuals to enter the tasks they want without facilitating collaboration or allowing others to see progress.
In an increasingly integrated and dynamic payroll world, however, this isn’t good enough. It’s not difficult to imagine the possibilities calendars could provide if they were designed to be shared and standardized, which is exactly what more advanced global payroll platforms are offering teams today.
Payroll professionals are adept at making the traditional process of creating payroll calendars work for them. Start with an Excel template, offset due dates, add events, set reminders, and off you go. Everyone has their own method of tracking progress through that schedule, whether it’s printed offline and marked up by hand or maintained online and maybe synced with your office calendar program.
In contrast, a calendar that is part of the payroll application and optimized for teams becomes a collaborative tool for task management. The ability to mark when tasks are completed allows everyone to see at a glance where the payroll is in the process and can automatically alert the person responsible for the next step that the payroll is ready for them. Event filtering lets you view activities by time, type, due date, and more, giving you better insight into the volume of work required at each step and enabling you to better manage your time.
An optimized calendar feature allows for greater visibility into your payroll process. By monitoring the time spent on each step for each payroll, you can gain understanding of how long various tasks take and how that time varies across your payrolls. You can see concretely which payrolls are more complicated and even identify why, which helps you plan your month. Additionally, if something is taking longer than usual, you’ll know to look into it.
It’s common to know the events involved and what goes into executing each one, but it can be difficult to maintain a clear understanding of how those tasks are impacted by the varying requirements of each payroll. Particularly if you’re processing multiple payrolls in the same region, deadlines can stack up, making relatively straightforward tasks difficult to manage concurrently. With a comprehensive view of all events, you’re able to plan your schedule more precisely, allowing extra time to avoid compounded deadlines or prioritizing the most important events as needed.
Increased visibility benefits not only you, but also your manager and the larger team. Advanced calendar tools include audit trails that keep a verified record of events and the time required to execute tasks. Managers can see which events require the most time and even how those timeframes vary across locations or requirements. They get a practical perspective of which payrolls are the most complicated or challenging, which helps ensure workloads are properly distributed across the team and that individuals can get the support they need for more difficult tasks.
If a team member falls ill or is unable to perform their work, the accessibility of a standardized calendar feature allows a colleague to step in and instantly see where the payroll is in the process, as well as the next deliverable and the overall schedule. In the event of a longer absence, the team manager can reassign the payroll to someone whose own schedule won’t clash with the deliverables.
A Step Forward
It’s easy to dismiss your payroll calendar as one of those reliable, always-there tools that doesn’t need reinventing. You have your system, and it works. However, it’s equally clear that simple innovation in this essential tool can greatly contribute to the efficiency of your process, as well as that of your larger team. The technology is there. The only question is whether your team is ready to take the next step.