You know how there are times at work when you’re about to start a task, but deep down wish there was some fairy godmother that would do it for you instead? #askingforafriend That’s definitely not me… I love everything I do… especially writing blogs. For accountants, bookkeepers and payroll bureaus however, and especially those lucky enough to process pay runs, you’d be happy to know that fairy godmothers do exist! I know that because you can now utilise automated pay runs to remove some or all manual handling when processing pays. This latest feature basically takes our existing smarts and ramps up the sexiness one hundred fold.
How can automating our pay runs actually reduce the existing processing times?
Let’s go through all the steps required to process and finalise a pay run (that doesn’t require manual pay adjustments):
- Create the pay run;
- Import timesheets;
- Apply leave requests;
- Finalise pay run;
- Create pay event (for businesses in Australia having to report STP);
- Publish pay slips;
- Post payroll journal;
- Send report packs.
All of the above are usually done with a click of a button, but imagine not even having to do that anymore? Imagine not having to sit and wait, staring at your screen until one action is complete to then perform another action?
Rather, all of the above pay run actions – from start to finish – would be performed in the background whilst you and your clients focus on performing other work. All that is required for this magic to happen is a one-off configuration to set the level of automation to you and your clients pay runs. Let me step you through the configuration process.
How do I or my clients set up automated pay runs?
From the Pay Schedule screen, select the pay run to automate and then complete the setup wizard.
Step 1: Here, set the dates for the pay runs and the timesheet import options.
Monthly pays can sometimes get tricky as the normal processing day in a month may fall on a weekend or public holiday. As such, we have put safeguards in place allowing users to select the appropriate actions if that situation arises:
Step 2: Here you set the warnings that, when triggered, will stop the pay run. Manual intervention will then be required to finalise the pay run. Add the users on this screen that should be notified of such errors but also when the pay run has successfully finalised.
Step 3: Here, determine what components of finalising the pay run that needs to be automated. For example, with the first option, choose to finalise the pay run manually. If done so, the latter options will disappear as all pay run finalisation will be done the traditional way. If you or your clients choose to lodge the pay run immediately, this will automatically create the pay event but a user will still be required to lodge the event itself. The option for sending report packs will only appear if the business has report packs set up. Additionally, if you or your clients are connected to an online journal service, the option to export journals immediately will be available.
Step 4: This screen provides you with a summary of all selections. You and your clients can choose to go back and make any changes needed prior to completing the setup.
Why would I even consider automating our or my clients pay runs?
There are many reasons.
- Save time: The reduction in pay run processing time allows you and your clients to reallocate that time and focus on other strategic work.
- Retain control: You and your clients determine what components of the pay run to automate, thereby keeping overall control.
- Quality assurance: Configured warnings will stop an automated pay run where required prior to the pay run being finalised. This ensures anything that needs to be addressed or fixed is done so without compromising the correctness of employee pays.
People hear ‘automation’ and think ‘here we go, the robots are coming for our jobs’. We can’t speak on behalf of everyone but what makes this feature so exciting for us is that it actually affords payroll staff the time to focus on strategy, compliance, processes, etc. It’s time to say goodbye to all those times you or your clients have said ‘I’ll get to this once I finish the three pay runs I have to process today’, but never get to it because those 3 pay runs became 4 pay runs or the pay runs took longer than expected.
How beneficial is it to an individual and a business that time spent at work can now be reallocated to tasks people just never get around to doing. Let’s not kid ourselves, processing pays are crucially important. But if there is a mechanism that automates the process for accountants, bookkeepers, payroll bureaus and their clients, why not go for it?