— How RPA helps with payroll data collection

Photo by Mika Baumeister

But first, why do we use Excel at all?

Excel is actually a very capable spreadsheet application. It can help you analyse data, crunch numbers, process information and store everything in one place. Is it clunky, unwieldy and sometimes difficult to understand? Oh yes. Like all software applications, there are pros and cons. Where Excel has excelled is in making us believe it’s the only answer to lots of problems. That may have been true in 1995, but right now we’re enjoying an era of cloud services, automation, nanotechnology and mobile ubiquity. There are now answers to questions we haven’t even asked yet.

Being a payroll officer

There are many routine tasks for a typical payroll officer. In a nutshell, they maintain a payroll processing system and associated records by gathering, calculating and inputting data. I know, it sounds like fun, but it’s a laborious stage of the payroll process. It’s also where errors occur, as data comes from multiple sources in multiple formats. To handle the influx of data from different departments in different regions (often in different languages and currencies), a remarkable 52% of UK HR and payroll managers in private-sector companies are still using spreadsheets. ( More details here.)

The security benefits of RPA

With so much data to process, and with versions of files laying dormant and undiscovered on desktops and laptops around the world, it’s a minefield of security risk! RPA could be used to facilitate not just the gathering and processing of multiple formats, but its security too. Imagine a global payroll operation where RPA is the first port of call for the raw data. It’s the concept of a single database that automatically serves the global payroll solution and the human resource management system (HRIS). This is sometimes called a single source of truth (SSoT).

Making people happy

I often write business and technology articles with people in mind. It’s too easy to become bogged down with the technicalities of this great stuff we call technology, but there’s a human behind all of it. And for payroll, there are humans all over the place and most of them want to be paid the right amount at the right time. With RPA, payroll officers can reduce the time it takes to get through the tedious, laborious, difficult tasks and make sure valuable employees stick around!



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