Payroll management has modernized significantly over the past few years, thanks in part to innovations such as cloud computing, mobile devices, and new software that allows for better integrating payroll with other HR functions. The next year is likely to bring even more innovation and change.
Here are four payroll trends expected to keep growing in 2017:
1. More Apps Allow Payroll Access From Smart Devices
Managers and employees today often want to be able to access payroll data from wherever they happen to be—even if they're not at a computer. This has led to the creation of apps that let both managers and employees easily access payroll data. The number and capabilities of these apps will likely grow in 2017. The Paychex Flex mobile app, for example, includes a single dashboard with all messages and products in one place for an employer. There's the ability to open an email to an employee with a single tap, and remotely access payroll with another. Employees meanwhile can access their pay stubs and retirement account information via their smart devices.
2. Cloud-Based Payroll Continues to Expand
Businesses have been increasingly moving their payroll to cloud-based services, meaning they are run on third-party servers and can be accessed using any Internet connection. This has a number of major advantages: Software gets routinely updated, data is backed up, data entry is simplified, and access from anywhere becomes possible, including through smart device apps. A 2014 Deloitte survey found that 14 percent of organizations had a cloud-based payroll service, while 26 percent more were considering it. It is likely these numbers will go up by the end of 2017.
3. A Growing Focus on Data Security
Data security of payroll information has become a growing concern as more payroll functionality happens online using various devices such as smartphones and tablets. A recent AICPA survey found half of the institute's members were using cloud-based accounting services, but many thought data security was a major barrier standing in the way of adoption. The AICPA has been urging members to go through due diligence with third-party service providers, and to ink agreements that guarantee ownership and safety of employee information. More companies will likely be reviewing the data security protocols of their payroll service in the years ahead and looking for ways to ensure their data is protected.
4. Analyzing Payroll Data to Spot Trends
Access to data also opens up new possibilities for predictive analytics. For example, some companies have begun using payroll and HR data to predict which employees are most at risk of leaving their jobs, according to The Wall Street Journal. Companies can also analyze payroll data to spot anomalies that could suggest payroll fraud, trends in hours worked, or overtime pay, all of which can help them make better decisions about human capital management.
Employers have more ways than ever for managing and utilizing their payroll information and making it accessible to their employees. It's likely that 2017 will only bring more payroll opportunities.