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How RPA can improve payroll processes

RPA can help with some of the tasks associated with payroll, including shift payment calculation. Learn how RPA can potentially improve payroll operations.

Getting payroll right is crucial for employee happiness, and robotic process automation bots can support payroll administrators' work to potentially improve payroll timeliness and accuracy.

Payroll functions that RPA bots could assist with or take over include expense payment processing and validating payroll results.

Here's a look at RPA implementation and how RPA bots could assist with payroll.

The RPA implementation process

Payroll usually falls under finance or HR, depending on the organization. A company that categorizes payroll under HR and is embarking on an RPA implementation should begin with HR administrators and payroll administrators going through each payroll step to calculate time spent on each activity. IT and HR can then create a roadmap of bots to implement.

IT sometimes takes charge of RPA projects alongside HR, or HR heads it up themselves. For payroll bots, IT usually implements the bots, with a specialized systems integration partner that has RPA bot experience frequently joining as well. IT communicates with the specialist to confirm company standards compliance, and HR sponsors the initiative. Payroll administrators supply subject matter expertise on the payroll process.

The finance administrators in charge of the payroll process frequently execute the bots, but the bots can also run on a schedule.

Possible RPA payroll uses

RPA bots could potentially optimize payroll processes in multiple ways. Here's a look at a few.

Shift payment calculation

Some companies' pay structures include rules or exceptions that require manual processing and calculating. Examples include manufacturing and food processing companies. These organizations' payroll systems might require exporting data to another system or spreadsheet, then calculating payroll based on frequently changing pay rules and rates.

A bot can complete this process and potentially cut down on payroll errors.

Bonus calculation and processing

Like shift payments, bonus calculations sometimes require manual processing. Some companies don't use a compensation planning tool, and some compensation planning tools don't integrate with particular variable pay programs.

A bot can take care of bonus calculations and processing, potentially saving time and cutting down on errors.

Expense payment processing

Expense managing and processing is often time-consuming, particularly if an expense application isn't integrated into a payroll system.

A bot can read expense reports, identify approved and unprocessed reports, then enter reimbursement details into the payroll system for processing or the payment system for direct deposit.

Validating payroll results

A bot can help with the period-end payroll reconciliation, which is a process that ensures employees are paid correctly. It includes quarterly checking of the IRS 941 form as well as W-2 forms at the end of the year.

A bot can carry out various reconciliation steps, including checking the payroll register, checking pay rates, checking time worked and absences, and validating deductions. A bot can potentially cut down on errors, which reduces the likelihood of an IRS fine for submitting incorrect reporting.

Termination processing

If an employee is leaving mid-month, required tasks include carrying out prorated calculations of their salary, benefits and other deductions.

A bot can enter the termination in the payroll system and perform the calculations automatically, which could increase final payroll processing accuracy. A payroll administrator can launch the bot when the termination occurs or schedule the bot to periodically search for terminated employees in the company's human resource information system.

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