By Nathan Sykes

The payroll system we currently use has seen many different forms and iterations throughout the years, but all serve one key purpose: ensuring the prompt and efficient payment of employees. Whether you maintain a staff of just a few individuals or a few thousand, modern payroll services keep everything organized, easy to manage and legal — so it’s crucial that the technology driving your payroll is up to date.

Increased Integration

Many professionals view human resources and payroll as two distinct and separate functions. While this might have been true in older business models, enterprises operating in the 21st Century have found tremendous benefit in increasing the integration between these two departments. Some have already merged the two divisions permanently and completely.

Human resource information systems, or HRIS, provide the perfect stepping stone for beginning your integration of payroll and HR. Nearly all the information contained within these databases can be copied directly to the required payroll records for greater efficiency across the board.

This wasn’t always the case. In the past, employers had to maintain separate copies of this information in each department — and the records weren’t always digitized. Traditional paper documents were often kept in duplicate and even triplicate to ensure functionality between the two departments.

Not only will increased integration and the utilization of HRIS decrease the need for redundant hardcopies, but it also saves time in the on-boarding and orientation of new employees. Instead of filling out multiple copies, hiring managers and supervisors only enter this data once — into a centralized database — for easy accessibility and secure storage.

Advanced Cloud Integration

As useful as a centralized, on-premises database is, it pales in comparison to what cloud computing can do for a company in the way of payroll. Small, startup enterprises might not see much of a benefit from switching to the cloud, but larger businesses and those who operate on a global scale certainly will.

In many ways, the cloud takes the idea of the modern HRIS platform a step further. Whereas traditional record keeping systems require direct or localized access, the cloud makes it possible to maintain payroll and HR data across all your departments, business units and facilities — regardless of their geographic location.

The cloud also helps with issues in compliance and reporting, too. Standards and best practices tend to vary, especially when you’re working with different companies, industries or countries. However, most cloud-based payroll systems use automated controls to ensure compliance and produce detailed reports as needed.

Protecting the Environment

Increasing the integration between your HR and payroll departments is even helpful to the environment. With so much emphasis placed on climate change and environmental sustainability, it’s important that every business does its part.

Reducing the need for paperwork — or eliminating it with the help of cloud databases — will play a huge part in reducing your overall carbon footprint and, as a result, your reputation throughout the industry.

Where to Now?

Many industry experts are left asking the question: Where to now? Where does modern payroll software take us from here? With cloud computing becoming the new standard and HR merging with your payroll department, the future is anything but clear. One can only expect to see even further integration between the two systems, greater reliance on cloud computing and increased sustainability as the years unfold. How these trends will ultimately play out is, for now, up to your best imagination.