Managing time and expenses is one of those tasks that sits somewhere between the HR and payroll departments, requiring cross-departmental collaboration as well as effective employee cooperation for success.
However, this means that these tasks can easily become inefficient and frustrating, with bottlenecks and data silos causing real problems. Completing these duties manually using spreadsheets that are bounced around between departments and employees leaves a lot of room for error and inefficiency, leading to hours of admin to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.
Even if both teams use various software applications for the processes, there's no guarantee that the various tools will be able to link up effectively. While your organisation's departments may use their own legacy software applications to track time, manage expenses, store employee data, and process payroll, moving data between separate systems can be a headache at best and a security or compliance nightmare at worst.
So, what can we do to enhance time and expenses and ensure both departments work effectively together? Here's why using a single software to handle all your time tracking, absence management, and expenses can transform the way you work.
What is single HR and payroll software?
When it comes to purchasing HR and payroll solutions, there are three avenues an organisation might take: separate software, integrated software, or single solution. Let's take a closer look at each of these to understand the differences.
Option A: Separate software
The first option is to buy separate software for HR and payroll processes. HR professionals may use one HRMS for all HR-related processes, or in some cases, HR teams might use multiple different applications for various HR processes: time tracking software, onboarding and recruitment software, performance and reward software, absence management software, et cetera. Meanwhile, the payroll team uses their separate payroll software for their job.
With this separate software approach, each team knows how to use their own tool(s) but data silos are inevitable and members of each department may often find themselves knocking on each others' doors or sending frequent emails to deal with cross-departmental tasks or issues. Plus, with the need to input data multiple times and lots of duplicate data in both separate systems which may not always be updated in both tools, there's twice the opportunity for error.
In short, while using separate HR software and payroll software might seem convenient at first glance, it's likely to lead to siloes, wasted time, and frustration later down the line. That's where Option B comes in.
Option B: Integrated software
Initially, the logical solution to the challenges of managing separate payroll and HR software may be to integrate the two together. Integration in this case basically means that although the two softwares are separate, they can 'talk' to each other and share data across both systems.
This solves all the problems of two departments using separate tools, right? Wrong. While a software integration makes it slightly easier for information to flow between HR and payroll, there are still some key downsides.
Firstly, the risk of data error or duplication remains. To extend the metaphor, while the two softwares can 'talk' to each other, this doesn't mean that they are always in clear conversation. Flows of data may only move one way from HR to payroll or vice versa, opening up opportunities for errors, out-of-date information, and confusion. In the best case scenario, this can lead to delays or disgruntled team members having to manually re-input data to ensure everything is up to date. In the worst case, employees might not get paid on time or you might encounter problems with data compliance.
Secondly, because of the way integrated software joins the two databases together, there's increased data security risk. With employees' personal information such as tax details, contact information, and payroll numbers moving between discrete systems, the risk is higher than it should be.
So, while integrated payroll and HR systems might seem like a smart solution, they still leave a lot to be desired. Cue Option C.
Option C: Single software
To resolve the issues associated with an HR and payroll software integration, the third and best option is a single solution. Instead of distinct HR and payroll tools that can 'talk' to each other and share data between them, a single solution provides one centralised database with the capabilities for both HR and payroll processes.
Providing the best data security and functionality of the three options, a single HR and payroll solution facilitates cross-departmental collaboration and an easy central source of truth for both departments. Suddenly, processes that would once have formed a complicated back-and-forth between HR and payroll can be easily resolved in just a few clicks. Moreover, a single solution provides superior data analytics and reporting functionalities that enhance the capabilities of both departments.
Note: many HR and payroll software vendors may advertise their product as a 'single solution' when it is in fact an integration. This can be misleading so make sure you research the software thoroughly to determine whether it's a single or integrated system. XCD's HR and payroll solution is a true single solution built with seamless data flow and total security in mind.
How does single HR and payroll software benefit time and expenses management?
No more information bottlenecks for HR and payroll
With many processes overlapping between your HR, payroll, and finance departments, a single solution with a centralised database just makes sense. Single HR and payroll centrally stores and updates all data in real time for all teams using the tool. This means that payroll teams no longer have to wait for HR to chase employees to fill in their time entries and HR teams no longer have to go back and forward with their payroll counterparts about unpaid absence and more. A single payroll and HR system streamlines the work of both teams for increased productivity and effectiveness.
Game-changing employee self-service
Time and expenses can be one of the most time-consuming aspects of your job when your team has to take control of the whole process. From chasing employees to fill out their hours or submit expense receipts to having to manually edit their personal information every time they email telling you their contact information has changed, this aspect of your job can be exhausting.
But, with a single cloud-based HR and payroll solution employee self-service takes the burden of admin off your back. Employees can easily log in to the user-friendly portal and do it themselves from any device or anywhere in the world. You won't have to chase people for expense receipts any more; they can quickly upload them from the mobile app to the software. With everything held in one central database, you can easily sort and audit expenses to stay on top of spending.
Plus, it's all paperless, improving your security, organisation, and storage situation all at once. In fact, mobile paperless expenses can cut processing time by up to 50% – substantial time savings for your team, allowing you to focus on your strategic work instead of monotonous admin.
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Stay compliant with ease
With a single software you can easily access a full audit trail and ensure compliance with HMRC, GDPR, or whatever other regulations are necessary in your region. For instance, separate or integrated systems can be a nightmare for GDPR compliance, with multiple different applications and tools needing to be cleared on employee data after they leave the organisation. In contrast, with a single solution that can automatically set alerts and workflows for securely deleting data after a specified time, GDPR compliance is a piece of cake.
Because sensitive HR and payroll data is the number one GDPR risk for organisations, using a single payroll and HR software with built-in GDPR functions is the easiest way to boost security and compliance across both departments.
Handle all processes within one easy-to-use mobile or desktop app
Instead of tabbing between your employee time tracking software, expense software, payroll software, performance management software, and more, a single solution allows you to work efficiently within one user-friendly app. All the information and workflows you need are right there at your fingertips, and you only need to be trained on a single feature-rich system instead of having to figure out how to use several disparate ones.
Eliminate human error for total accuracy
When your organisation uses multiple systems it's easy for manual data entry to lead to errors or for one system to be updated with the latest information and not the other, causing chaos in your expenses and time tracking tool. Even software integrations may only allow data to flow one way, leaving lots of room for error, duplication, or confusion. A single source of truth that updates in real time, payroll and HR software ensures that nothing falls through the cracks. No more late payroll runs or delayed expense reimbursements due to errors – a single accurate solution means that everything can run smoothly.
Automated workflows and alerts make your life easier
With single solution software it's easy to automate workflows and leave the software to do your time-consuming admin for you. This can cover anything from automatically doing leave calculations for multi-job role employees or calculating part-period pro-rata payments to automating those everyday workflows for faster processing in just one click.
Another benefit of a single solution is the ability to set automated alerts and reminders to ensure time trackers are always up-to-date and completed in time for the next payroll cycle. While it's easy for things to slip through the cracks of separate or integrated HR and payroll tools, a single system that reminds you to fill out timesheets ensures greater efficiency for everyone with fewer delays.
Powerful reporting spanning HR and payroll
With a centralised database with advanced analytics capabilities, all departments can enjoy a range of customisable reports for better visibility of the business. Using pre-made HR reports as well as easy-to-use personalised dashboards, each team can gain the visibility they need over the important data.
For time and expenses, the reporting facilities are a crucial addition to your toolkit. View analytics about employee time tracking and absence and adjust their compensation accordingly. Analyse absence trends or create triggers and alerts to track them on your behalf, or use the absence management system's built-in Bradford score. With real time data about absence, time tracking, expenses, compensation, and more all brought together for easy comparison in a single software, you can gain better visibility over the business and make more informed strategic decisions.
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Reap the benefits of single solution payroll and HR software with XCD
XCD's cloud-based payroll and HR software has been designed for seamless time and expenses management. Built on the Salesforce platform, our true single solution is both powerful and intuitive, enhancing the capabilities of both HR and payroll teams while saving thousands of hours each year. With one central and secure database, both teams can operate effectively using a single source of truth. Moreover, in-built HMRC and GDPR compliance make your job easier, providing total peace of mind every time.