Artificial intelligence (AI) in payroll is on its way and is set to disrupt the future of payroll. Different to automation, AI systems interpret data, and based on that data it uses it to make decisions, learn from those decisions and adapt to better those decisions. Unlike automation, which relies on ‘cause and effect’, AI systems read data themselves and decide the best cause of action, therefore mimicking human intelligence to some level of degree.

What could Artificial intelligence replace in payroll?

Support calls, status updates

Chat bots? Yeah we’ve all seen them, spoken to them and sometimes not realised that we are speaking to a machine. Using Artificial intelligence as a front line barrier in your bureau to relieve your staff of answering simple questions that an artificial intelligence machine could get the answers for instead.

By utilising an AI chat bot, you are not only providing a faster, quicker service. You are also ensuring that your Service level agreements (SLAs) are being met with greater confidence.

Data validation and error prevention

Data sorting, validating, and checking has always traditionally required a lot of hours in payroll and is still typically a very manual process. It can become a very monotonous task travelling between various systems and payroll applications to get the data correct. Even a single wrong figure can throw various other figures out of sync. Not to mention that you are still dealing with customers sending all their changes over in a spreadsheet or over the phone.

By beginning to use automation in a system to validate the data you are getting closer to an AI system. Application programming interfaces (APIs) allow data to be sent between them without the need for human intervention. The use of AI could allow for the data to be ‘pre-checked’ before this process. For example, if someone is regularly paid X amount a month and suddenly it changes to Y without any legislation being changed then an AI system could flag this. It could then highlight this amount needs to be checked as the correct value before being sent into the system. Utilising this not only reduces the time needed by staff members to spend on this task, but also reduces costly re-runs whilst creating higher quality reporting and stronger data integrity.

Process improvement and optimizing

Having a tool to constantly evaluate your bureau and automatically allocate resources to payrolls that need it, how about automatically handling a staff absence by looking at the holiday schedule and re-assigning payrolls to a different payroller based on their current workload. Depending on the environment, AI could analyse the payroll data, work out when there are increases in overtime and alert the business that additional staff are required. Therefore, highlighting unforeseen patterns or troubling trends that may have been overlooked before.

Which areas might we see the most benefit of payroll artificial intelligence?

Human error – We know that payroll processing involves working with a lot of data, especially numbers, whilst dealing with ever changing HMRC policies. These errors could be easily avoided by having artificial intelligence verify the data or check data against the latest policies.

Boost employee efficiency and output – think of AI like an extra pair of hands in the office, carrying out the monotonous tasks, validating data in the background, dealing with issues before they need to reach a human.

Lower costs – The more work that can be done by machines the less need for those additional hours spent by a payroller, where their expertise could be used elsewhere.

Data Integrity – Being able to sleep better during end of pay-runs knowing that the data submitted is fully validated and correct.

Are you ready for the future of payroll?

You need to start by storing all your data centrally, there’s no point having a spreadsheets stuck in employee’s computers, all this data needs to be stored and collaborated, creating a ‘unified data warehouse’. This will allow new systems, not necessarily the AI ones, but even automated ones to start to take away some of the heavy lifting in terms of managing, analysing and reporting on data. Consequently, not only relieving payrollers of this task but allowing them to focus on areas that may require more of their attention.

Although AI is still in its’ development stages and still far away payroll still needs to be updated. For a very long time payroll has been and still is one of the slowest moving industries especially when it comes to using legacy systems and embracing new technologies, just because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it’ doesn’t mean that it is the best way. There are always ways to improve and enhance processes and by doing this you’re more than likely to save yourself a few pennies along the way whilst providing a stronger, more efficient service.

Want to see how Changepen can start to unify your data, improve your data quality and reduce re-runs starting from today?