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Building payroll transparency with a work schedule

by | Mar 24, 2023 | Audit, Risk & Compliance, Executives

This article is part 2 of our Payroll Governance Essential series. We’ll go more in depth about work schedules and how to build payroll transparency.

Don’t forget to read part 1 of our series to get a better understanding of governance, plus we have a free whitepaper that provides an overview of the 8 essential items of payroll governance.

So, why is transparency good for a sensitive/critical function like payroll?

Payroll transparency allows you to give key stakeholders (Exec, HR, Finance, shared services etc):

  • An understanding of the critical processes, events and compliance obligations that payroll are responsible for (and when they are due) i.e. a work schedule
  • Visibility of risks and issues payroll are managing
  • Proof that work is being done on time and error free

Payroll ops goes round and around…

Payroll operations is a cyclical beast. Fortnightly pays, end of month, monthly payroll tax, quarterly super, annual reconciliation… the list goes on. Yes ad-hoc events occur (new starters, terminations etc) but the majority of work in payroll ops is recurring with clear due dates.

In a large payroll team, recurring tasks are often allocated to the same people. This can cause problems with information silos and team members not understanding how their work impacts other areas (for example HR).

For functions that have payroll reporting into them, a visible work schedule gives transparency to critical processes that they are accountable for – but have limited visibility into the detail (not good governance but the norm in a lot of organisations).

What’s in a work schedule?

Your payroll ops work schedule will contain:

  • When: A calendar showing due dates for recurring payroll events and activities – main pay processing, end of month, legislative deadlines for super, payroll tax, STP etc
  • What/why: A description of the event and why it’s important
  • How: Links out to standard operating procedures, checklists, work instructions for that event
  • Who: Who is responsible for doing the event and who approves it

When choosing your events, try and keep it to high level objectives/goals (like pay processing or payroll tax due) so the calendar isn’t full of the detailed checks – leave that for your standard operating procedures and checklists.

The best tools to improve payroll transparency

Using some of the common shared calendar apps like Outlook and Google Calendar is a simple way to start, but you may get overwhelmed looking at your own schedule and a team payroll schedule combined.

Dedicated work management software is the best option, as it centralises all the work into one place and can handle recurring events in a team environment.

Payroll governance software like Paytools is built specifically to manage all aspect of payroll governance and comes with work scheduling features.

In the end, what’s important is creating better payroll transparency in order to build trust, identify risk and allow scrutiny over a mission critical business function. That’s good governance!

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