Timeliness and accuracy in payroll

By Steve Nikols, MD, Pay plus HR


Timeliness and accuracy are key components of providing excellent payroll and HR service.

In most cases, timeliness relates to staff being paid on time.

Accuracy refers to the advice we offer and the years of expertise behind it.

The fact is that employees expect to be paid the right amount, on time, every time. If you underpay them by a dollar, you’ll hear about it!

In some circumstances, particularly in unionised workforces, a pay delay can actually be a breach of agreement and result in penalties. So lateness and inaccuracy can be costly.

At Pay plus HR, we pride ourselves on accuracy and timing, so whatever pay dates we agree on with our client, that’s when pays are processed.

From the client’s perspective, our timely and accurate service allows them to be more organised. We find that customers who’ve run their own payroll in-house tend to pay late and miss deadlines. Our challenge is bringing them back into line, creating more discipline and timing efficiencies. It forces them to bring some order into their business.

We do this by reaching an agreement on timelines, then staying in constant contact to make sure we have the information we need to execute the payroll correctly and on time.

Open and clear communication plays a critical role in our service delivery. Our clients must understand why we need certain things at a certain time, that this allows us to check information and provide the most accurate results. Rushing often results in errors, so part of our role is ensuring our clients know what we need from them, with plenty of time to allow us to execute our service to them. Establishing this process results in pays being processed accurately and on time.

But beyond the business impact of paying people on time, there’s also the human element. Not being paid correctly or on time can cause a lot of issues, angst and flow-on effects for employees, such as affecting direct debits coming out of their bank account, or mortgage payments being missed, and penalties incurred.

Matters like these can easily snowball, and when it creates implications for employees’ lives, they can create issues for the organisation, which could be fined, or disgruntled employees could even resign over recurrent pay errors.

The worst-case scenario is that your business might end up at Fair Work, or employees could go on strike if they’re not paid by a certain time. It’s a path you don’t want to go down.

In recent years, we’ve seen in the media how underpayment over very long periods of time can cause significant issues such as fines, massive reputational damage, even sending businesses under.  That’s why it’s important we stay abreast of awards and keep our clients aware of changes.

Ultimately, it’s our job to ensure we’re across all legislative, regulatory and award changes so that our clients don’t have to be. And where we pick up errors, it’s our job to help our clients rectify those issues to save them the possible negative impacts.

But most importantly, we need to make sure we’re across all the detail, so we can respond quickly and accurately when our client picks up a problem or raises a question.

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