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Human Error: The Biggest Problem With Payroll

3min read


Payroll falls down at one single point of error. That point is the same in almost any organisation, and it’s the same in almost any industry, and it’s the same at almost any size. Payroll falls down at the point where a human being is required to remember key dates, certain numbers and any range of timelines, processes and plans. That’s the error code – human interaction with the system.

Look, we’re not advocating for a robot workforce here. We’re just trying to make one thing abundantly clear. Payroll is a complex enterprise, and it’s a tough project to work on, and it’s a project that every single business in Australia has to execute weekly, fortnightly or monthly, depending on the set up. Every time the project reaches an end, it starts all over again. It doesn’t pause for iteration or improvement or training, because it’s the single most vital part of a business’ functions – for the people who work there and rely on their pay to keep their heads above water!

Let’s say you’re entering payroll for a salesman’s commission and you input $20,000 rather than $200. Without a notification system built-in to your payroll software, your system will generate a check based on this information. Suddenly, an input error means you’ve paid your employee $19,800 more than you intended.

This can be an administrative mess to reverse and can leave your employee frustrated as you figure out your next move.

A good payroll system will provide alerts for any payments that are out of the ordinary. It notifies you to look at discrepancies from the previous payroll. For example, if you input 400 hours for a full-time employee’s work week instead of40 hours, you’d receive a popup notifying you that there is an excessive increase in pay since the last payroll. You can then quickly correct the problem – and voilà, crisis averted.

– Insperity

In the companies we’re proud to partner with, you’ll see thousands and thousands of employees. Full timers, casual staff, retail assistants – all of whom are relying on our customers to pay their bills. Their payroll is incredibly important to them, and a single error in it can be devastating. Think about what happens when a young 19 year old casual worker misses out on payroll through a simple human error. It feels like such a small error to the folks in the big company, but it could mean that she misses a credit card payment for the first time. And that snowballs, and things can get out of hand so quickly. It’s a major responsibility to ensure that payroll happens, it happens on time and it happens right.

Payroll is too important to forgive human error.

That’s why this matters. We’re going to get shameless here, we’re not going to apologise for it. Having an integrated payroll system isn’t about showing off shiny new tools, or looking at numbers on a spready. Sure, there are hundreds of reasons why a platform like Flare’s own payroll software is important, and they can range from massively increased productivity to decreased administrative costs, and we’re proud of those. But what we’re most proud of is the fact that our software can help you look after your employees in the best possible way. It can help you to avoid errors by automating each part of your payroll process, locking it in with the data in your HR system, and streamlining each piece of the workflow, so that your staff know that if there’s one thing they can rely on – it’s you having their back and getting them paid.


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