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RPA in Global Payroll - Part 3: The Application of Automation in Payroll

May 16, 2018  | Tag: Automation

The first two blogs in this series related to our latest CloudPaper, RPA in Global Payroll, outlined the opportunity for Robotic Process Automation or RPA in global payroll and how automation can benefit payroll teams and their companies. This follow-up looks at the initial steps payroll leaders can take to identify ways to use RPA to improve their payroll process and performance.

Incorporating robotic process automation into your global payroll can seem like a daunting prospect. Change of any kind is a challenge to an essential function with no tolerance for downtime, like payroll, and while the opportunity to employ RPA may exist in your current solution, many multinational companies will need to consider a more advanced platform, an integration with other systems, or both. However, it’s important to remember that RPA is an opportunity—one that has the potential to deliver important long-term benefits.

Any plan to introduce automation must begin with a clear idea of the desired end-state. Payroll leaders should consider their objectives and identify opportunities before embarking on their automation journey.

Our latest CloudPaper examines the potential of RPA to improve global payroll and benefit companies and employees alike. Download the full paper to learn more.

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Goal Setting

The best automation solutions for any organization are ones that align with broader company objectives. If data protection is a top priority, automating workflows around the movement of information between related systems could minimize risk. If a key goal is to reduce payroll cycle times, introducing automatic data validation could deliver a quick win.

Because many RPA applications provide multiple benefits in tandem, it’s important to both clarify and prioritize goals to help evaluate options and choose a starting point. Are you looking to:

  • Save time and cost,
  • Increase efficiency,
  • Standardize processes,
  • Improve analysis,
  • Maintain compliance?

Task Identification

Using the set goals as a guide, payroll leaders can begin reviewing their payroll process to identify specific tasks to automate. Breaking down workflows and approval chains into individual steps can reveal RPA opportunities as well as bottlenecks or other inefficiencies impacting the current process.

Payroll Tasks Ideal for RPA Incude:

  • Moving data from the HCM to payroll system
  • Validating pre-processing information
  • Reviewing gross-to-net calculations
  • Uploading general ledger files to ERP
  • Scheduling payroll tasks

Tasks Less Prone to Automation Include:

  • Interpreting and implementing country-specific regulations
  • Interfacing with HR, Compliance and other departments
  • Managing the payroll team’s workload and performance
  • Analyzing data and comparing to KPIs
  • Evaluating and managing vendors

Looking at specific tasks is the key to realizing the full value of automation. For example, approximately 27% of payroll activity can be qualified as data processing, and more than 65% of those tasks can be automated. Knowing which tasks to automate can make the difference between an efficiency gain and productivity loss.

The Starting Line

While robotic process automation holds the potential for significant impact across the enterprise, the general rule of thumb is to start with select, simple activities and plan to scale across larger processes over time.

The extent to which payroll teams are able to incorporate automation depends on many variables—including stakeholder buy-in and budget. Showing the value of RPA with demonstrable improvements in smaller areas can be key to gaining support for broader application. In time, project leaders can explore the possibility of automating more difficult or error-prone tasks.

START with smaller, specific tasks that can provide quick wins.

SCALE to higher-volume activities that spread value beyond payroll.


Continue reading about how RPA is improving global payroll:

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