The evolution of payroll: from administrative tasks to a business partner

Author Thomas Cloppenburg
December 18, 2023

Digitalisation is still one of the hottest topics in HR. With it, there has been a shift away from typical transactional work towards advisory work. If you are a payroll specialist, now is the perfect time to expand your expertise and become a Payroll Advisor or even a Business Partner.

In this article by specialist payroll recruiter Thomas Cloppenburg, you’ll learn why and how you should leverage your payroll knowledge and expertise to position yourself as a partner to the business.

The current state of payroll

According to recent research, companies require more support from their payroll than ever. Producers of HR-Suites (like Sage or Personio) and Outsourcing Providers (like ADP or SD Worx) say that the need for quality clarification and advice is becoming increasingly important to managers, employees and clients alike.

Often, other HR professionals are put in charge of the advising role. But this is not the most efficient structure. While other team members and tech solutions can help to facilitate processes, very valuable business insights from the Payroll team are overlooked.

Why should you leverage your expertise to position yourself as payroll advisor?

The current state of payroll presents a huge opportunity to payroll professionals to expand their offerings to include advisory services, and thereby become an even more valuable asset to their companies.

Payroll is an essential part of running a business and, as a result, can just become part of the monthly routine. However, what if those numbers that get filed away could lead to genuine insights that could help shape the future of the business? There is a massive opportunity for advisory payroll, turning this standard monthly process into a true accelerator for the company.

How can you use your payroll expertise beyond standard administrative tasks?

Effective payroll specialists who also offer advisory services support organisations in two additional ways. As well as traditional payroll processing, they support with compliance and payroll systems and process assessment.

Compliance is a huge concern for senior management, and understandably so. With the increase of flexible employment and evolving legislation, staying up to date presents a significant challenge for busy employers. This is where you as a payroll specialist can step in, sharing your insights on topics from maternity benefits, calculation and structure of bonus shares or vacation pay to strategic advice on addressing the gender pay-gap with company management.

How to become a Payroll Business Partner

This may sound daunting, especially when you are caught up with your operational tasks and there doesn’t seem to be time left for strategic matters. However, you should take the time to review your payroll-related processes to strengthen your transactional services. This will give you opportunities to broaden your knowledge and support your business with valuable insights, helping you evolve from a specialist to an essential partner of the business.

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