Everything about running a business has been turned on its head by COVID-19. From encouraging people to work from home to actually laying people off, nothing is the same now. Everything has changed in such a short amount of time that it is almost unbelievable.
Among the many things that businesses are struggling with right now is running payroll. Companies that still do payroll in-house, using legacy systems, may struggle to get payroll completed on time. Their counterparts who have long since transitioned to cloud-based payroll should have an easier time. Still, nothing comes easy these days.
Running Payroll from Anywhere
If businesses ever needed a reason to transition to cloud-based payroll, the current crisis points to that reason. What is it? The ability to run payroll from anywhere. Legacy software hosted on local networks does not allow for that sort of capability. Payroll in the cloud does.
BenefitMall, a nationwide payroll and benefits administration provider based in Dallas, says that payroll providers operating in the cloud frequently offer mobile apps to their clients. And even if not, their cloud environments can be accessed via most mobile browsers. Payroll staff no longer have to be left in the dark simply because they are not in the office.
Being able to run payroll from anywhere allows companies to tell their payroll staff to stay home and practice safe social distancing. Right from their computers or mobile devices, they can still handle their payroll duties as usual.
Eliminating Paper Checks
Companies that no longer utilize paper checks are at an advantage right now because there are no printing and distribution worries. The pay their employees through either direct deposit or payroll cards, meaning that the completion of a payroll run automatically initiates electronic payments to employee accounts.
The benefit to employees should be obvious. They do not have to worry about retrieving a paper check and running to the bank to deposit it. All they need do is check their bank accounts on payroll day to verify the payment has arrived. That leaves them with one less social distancing issue to worry about.
Running Payroll Automatically
BenefitMall suggests that some payroll providers offer an option within their software to run payroll automatically. Such a feature might be beneficial to companies with large numbers of employees working from home on fixed salaries. Software can be set to run automatically once certain parameters have been established. This guarantees payroll is completed even if working from home otherwise presents delays.
Not every payroll platform offers an automatic run feature. Payroll administrators would obviously have to check with their providers in regard to their software. At any rate, automatic payroll reduces the strain placed on payroll departments during the COVID-19 crisis.
Time to Outsource Payroll
It could be that the long-term effects of the COVID-19 crisis will lead more companies to outsource their payroll this year. Business owners and managers might find themselves so overwhelmed with payroll responsibilities that they finally decide to make the move. That would not be a bad thing.
Outsourced payroll hosted in a cloud environment makes the entire payroll process easier and more efficient under normal circumstances. It can be a real lifesaver during times of crisis, as so many companies are discovering right now.
This could be the best time for some businesses to make the switch. While productivity has slowed and the demands on business are not nearly what they normally would be, there is more time to dedicate to the transition. Will more companies make the switch in the coming weeks? We will have to wait and see.