The COVID-19 pandemic has brought about unprecedented challenges to businesses globally. With many companies running on limited resources, managing payroll and expenses remotely is likely to be one of the biggest challenges for companies during this time. According to billionaire entrepreneur Mark Cuban, how companies respond to the corona virus crisis will define their brand for decades. As work-from-home arrangements become the ‘new normal’, how can companies manage payroll and expenses for a remote workforce?
1. Have a payroll business continuity plan
Payroll management can be a complex and time-consuming task. In times of economic uncertainty, are you confident that your employees will be paid on time should there be a disruption to your business?
A business continuity plan (BCP) can help mitigate any unplanned interruptions and ensure your payroll plans are executed seamlessly. When it comes to payroll business continuity planning, companies need to assess the following aspects: availability of staff, arrangement for releasing bank payments, working from home, physical processes and impact, access to payroll data and IT infrastructure. Companies which currently don’t have a third-party payroll provider or a cloud-based payroll software need to start asking themselves these questions:
Do you have a tested and secured remote processing site that can access your payroll system?
Is the process for authorising and releasing payment guaranteed and secure?
Are the key HR payroll and finance personnel equipped to work from home ?
Do they have access to the required IT infrastructure so that they can carry out payroll duties?
Is there a backup plan in place when the key personnel aren’t able to perform payroll duties?
These are just some of the issues to consider when forming a payroll BCP for your company. If you don’t already have a payroll BCP in place, it may be time to start drawing one up. Payroll plays an essential function in the workplace, and thus, ensuring employees are paid with the right amount and at the right time is non-negotiable regardless of the circumstances.
2. Switch from on-premise software to cloud-based HR software
On-premise HR software requires employees’ physical presence to perform HR operations. As such, companies that are still utilising on-premises software may find themselves struggling at a time where the global workforce is embracing remote-working arrangements and should consider making the switch to a cloud-based HR software.
With a cloud-based software, you don’t have to worry about installation and maintenance as it’s taken care of by the software provider. With regard to costs, the subscription payment model of a cloud-based HR software would allow your company to pay for what your company uses. From leave management, expense approval to payroll functions, a cloud-based solution would allow you to pick the necessary features you need to manage your workforce.
JustLogin’s fully automated payroll solution allows just that. You can run your payroll in just 3 simple steps with Payroll’s easy-to-use dashboard. Not only does it help your company save time and reduce errors with the automated calculation function. With Payroll, you don’t have to worry about the errors that may arise in instances of manual input. You can also enjoy the ease of easy access with the app. As the payslips are digitised, employees are able to access it on the mobile app and download it should they wish to do so.
With the right cloud-based HR software, it can speed up your HR processes efficiently without compromising on security. More importantly, it would allow your HR leaders to focus on the company’s most vital customers – the employees.
3. Go paperless with expense management tools
One of the biggest challenges faced by remote finance teams is that finance management is still heavily dependent on paper. Using too much paper in your business increases labour costs for data entry and other manual tasks as well as inventory costs that come with the need for bigger filing cabinet spaces. Not only that, handling paper in a time of COVID-19 risks may be a health hazard as well. According to a report by CNBC, Chinese banks have been ordered to disinfect cash before handing it to the public in order to curb the spread of the virus. Like cash, paper documents may carry the risk of potential infections.
By shifting to an automated workflow, companies will be able to transform their business by racking up efficiencies and savings in the long term. The solution is to go paperless and move towards an AI Powered- Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solution. At JustLogin, we recently launched an expense claim system reporting software called JustExpense that can help you process your claims without any paperwork with a fully mobile-enabled expense claim software experience. All you need to do is snap, scan and send!
Companies are now moving towards a mobile first, employee first experience. With just a snap on your mobile phone, you can capture the photos of your receipts and it will automatically populate the expense fields in your reports. You no longer have to go through piles of faded receipts every end of the month to rush for the expense claim deadline as you can easily add expenses to reports for submission. The process from submitting to approving can be done through the mobile app.
With the paperless solution, companies no longer need physical space as everything can be stored in the cloud. Your finance team can work-from-home effectively without worrying about the hassle of having to refer to physical papers.
4. Rethink your in-person compliance policy
In the era of the remote workforce, companies need to rethink their in-person compliance policy as it is neither feasible nor productive for the required parties to be present physically to approve expense claims. Not only is it a hassle as arrangements are required to be physically at a predetermined time and place, it also reduces productivity and increases the cost to your business in the long run with regard to time spent traveling and the travel costs incurred.
Companies should leverage technology so it saves time and cost. E-signature solutions such as hello sign and docu sign which are usually used to obtain e-signature and for online identity verification are helpful and can be used in different situations. For seamless expense report approvals, JustLogin’s Expense can help you route expense reports through multiple levels of approval seamlessly with one click on the JustExpense mobile application. You can monitor the progress of your expense reports easily with detailed audit trails. Expense is integrated with Payroll for seamless and error-free reimbursements of approved expense claims to employees. With that, you can handle claims and approvals easily on-the-go with the JustExpense mobile application or online on your computer.
In times of economic uncertainty, the business continuity plans for many companies will be put to the test. In this regard, it is crucial that companies adapt their systems and structures whilst prioritising the interests of their staff. Moving forward, companies can consider using this opportunity to digitise their solutions. There is no better time than now to rethink and redesign your payroll and expense management processes.