November 2023

AI-Powered Technology Is Transforming Global Payroll

By Mary Holland, CPP

AIArtificial intelligence (AI) technology is touching all aspects of service delivery and operations at global organizations, with significant implications for global payroll processing and management. In this article, we'll explore how AI technology is transforming global payroll operations throughout day-to-day tasks.


Payroll Is Primed for AI, Automation

Global payroll is primed for AI-driven automation. AI-driven technology has the capacity to replace oft-used manual functions with 100% automated workflows. This is the core reason why AI-powered technology has the capacity to transform payroll processing—from pre-payroll data gathering and cleansing all the way through to last mile reporting and analytics.
AI signals an end to hours being spent analyzing Excel spreadsheets for data irregularities and anomalies. It would bring an end to data duplication between systems connected to payroll software, such as human capital management (HCM) systems and financial services applications.

When delivering payroll for between 10 and 30 countries, the potential time savings can range from hours to days. According to a July 2023 survey co-authored by PayrollOrg and Payslip, 79% of global payroll practitioners who responded to the poll revealed they feel stressed, frustrated, and underserved by technology. It is clear that payroll professionals have a strong appetite for AI technology solutions that can help them do their jobs smarter and faster.

The Payslip team attended a conference in September 2023 where it became clear just how important it is to have automation in day-to-day payroll delivery. Many global professionals talked to us about their frustrations with manual processes, reconciliation work, and the tedious use of Excel spreadsheets. AI-powered automation, which eliminates manual work, is the answer.


How AI Technology Can Change Day-to-Day Tasks

Payroll processing and calculation are reliant on data processing. Global payroll data needs to be gathered, validated, and inputted into systems so that employees around the world are paid accurately and on time. The input side of things requires several hours and days each month manually orchestrating the data flows.   

AI-powered automated workflows can take over the task of manually entering, checking, and validating payroll calculation data. Automation can bulk file upload thousands of rows of Excel spreadsheet data, and then check and validate it in a few seconds. The only thing the global payroll professional would need to analyze is the anomaly report. Hours can be saved in every pay run for every payroll country.

Some of the common payroll processing and management tasks that can benefit from AI-powered technology include the following:

  • Data Transfers: AI technology can be leveraged to create automated data transfers in pre-agreed formats to ensure fast, accurate, and efficient payroll operations
  • Payroll Workflow Automation: AI can automate the end-to-end process, from pre-payroll data gathering and cleansing to payroll processing input and validation. AI can also detect anomalies in pay run files and highlight any payroll data inputs with inconsistent values. This can be a big help when setting up pay runs and getting accurate data over to local in-country payroll providers.
  • GTN Files: AI can automate the gross-to-net file validation. It has the capacity to learn what gross values to expect for any given set of inputs and alert payroll teams when the calculated values are different than what is expected.
  • Payroll Tasks: AI automation can be applied to a range of daily process tasks such as new joiner set up, employee tax classifications, time and attendance confirmations, fixed and variable pay element creation, and more
  • Alert Automations: Automated system alerts and calendar reminders can be set up for daily payroll tasks. AI has the ability to identify the characteristics of a payroll process that is not likely to be completed in time. This will alert payroll professionals when a payroll process is likely to be late, as opposed to only being alerted when it is late.
  • Audit Trails: AI technology can be used for the automated tracking of action, date, and user ID for audit trail confirmations 
  • Payroll Reporting: Automated data flows can help to create last-mile, consolidated multi-country global payroll reporting. Payroll and HR professionals can then access up-to-date reports that will provide valuable insights into labor costs across countries, compensation data, and workforce trends.
  • Post-Payroll Processing: AI automation can be leveraged to generate essential post-payroll files such as bank payment files, employee payslips, general ledger files, and treasury and audit function files.

Short turnaround times of payroll cycles, running multiple parallel payrolls, poor visibility of data, or tedious and repetitive checks are common day-to-day payroll processing pain points. By leveraging AI-powered technology to automate the flow and validation of payroll data, you remove human touch points, reduce costs, and create much needed time in pay runs for reporting and analysis work. This is why senior leadership at global companies are showing interest in AI, hyper automation, and robotic process automation (RPA) to introduce efficiencies in global payroll operations. 


Faster Payroll Reconciliations With AI

Identifying and explaining payroll data variances is a burdensome task. The normal process involves manual file uploads, spreadsheet work, and often, external tools are required to get the job done. It is time consuming and global payroll professionals dislike the task.

AI-driven automated software can transform this from a manual process into an automated one. Just think of what a difference it could make if payroll professionals could receive an automated report that only showed the actual variances they needed to investigate. No more lengthy analysis of Excel spreadsheet reports trying to figure out where the anomalies and discrepancies are located.

Harnessing the power of advanced AI automation with state-of-the-art algorithms and intelligent rule systems will transform a mundane process like this.

Proactively detecting errors were cited by 51% of participants as the top automation features desired for improving payroll operations in the same July 2023 PayrollOrg and Payslip survey. AI technology can proactively identify inconsistencies and flag potential discrepancies, delivering real-time results. It has the capacity to effortlessly compare data from local providers with the source data calculation files, instantly detecting and highlighting variances for prompt investigation and resolution by global payroll professionals.


What It All Means for Global Payroll Teams

Global payroll professionals around the world are keen to understand the benefits of AI-powered technology. They are pleased to learn that the following benefits are impressive and, in most cases, transformative:

  • Faster payroll processing cycle times
  • Additional time created in pay cycles for each payroll country
  • Eliminates human error for greater payroll data accuracy
  • Early identification of discrepancies and potential errors
  • More time to focus on priority tasks, less administrative burden
  • Enhanced data security and privacy for sensitive payroll data
  • Costs savings reduces the need to hire additional staff
  • More visibility and control over compliance and local regulatory obligations
  • Greater ability to integrate payroll data from a diverse range of data sources
  • Faster access to actionable payroll insights and reporting

AI technology has entered global business and commerce. It is likely that most business-critical functions inside global organizations will be directly impacted by AI-driven technology and automation within the next decade.

Global payroll teams around the world should view this positively, as AI can introduce pivotal innovation to a dated process that is currently still far too reliant on manual data entry. Speed, greater accuracy, and operational efficiency are benefits that can be realized quickly when global payroll teams adopt AI technology. It is always a good idea to get ahead of the curve, so global payroll departments should be planning to create a business case for investment in this transformative technology.

Mary Holland, CPP, Chief Customer Officer and Payroll Evangelist at Payslip is a member of the Payslip leadership team supporting strategic direction and sales objectives. She is a recognized global payroll professional who is a thought leader in the industry and presents and participates in webinars and payroll conferences around the world.
Do you like our content? Join the GPMI community to get free education and articles straight to your inbox! 

Next Issue:

Directing the Payroll Action

Meet Emilia Faz

Country Spotlight