If you’ve ever had to recruit payroll staff, you’ll know they’re something of a rare and precious commodity.

In fact, our latest research showed that 53% of senior payroll professionals say their payroll service has been affected by a shortage of specialised staff over the past year.1

The fallout can be seriously problematic: fewer staff trying to cope with an ever-increasing workload; payment errors, and non-compliance penalties should mistakes come to light further down the line.

Of course, finding the time to think about staff shortages is a Catch-22 problem. When you’re overstretched how do you find the time? That’s why many payroll departments often train accounting staff in house, but that in itself can be time consuming.

Tackling the payroll talent shortage

All the signs are, the payroll staff shortage isn’t about to resolve itself any time soon. Thirty-seven percent of payroll teams have seen 10% of their staff leave the payroll team.1 Facing a shortage of trained payroll practitioners means you need to consider a few things:

  • What would you do if your current staff became sick?
  • Are any members of staff nearing retirement?
  • What if one of your payroll staff resigned?

Clearly an outside accountant or payroll service provider could provide welcome relief, whether you choose to outsource your payroll function entirely or keep some of it in house. But how do you make sure your payroll partner has the skills you need?

Accuracy is everything – yet failing

When asked what’s important to them in a job, 72% of workers worldwide placed salary at number one.2 Strikingly, 44% say they’re always, often or sometimes underpaid.2

Delivering a positive experience for employees means pay accuracy has to be a priority. Ask yourself:

  • Does your payroll partner have experience in your region/industry?
  • Are they fully familiar with in-country labour regulations?
  • If your company operates in different locations, do they provide full visibility into this critical business expense?

The salary’s just the start

Basic salaries are not the whole story. The partner you use will need to be able to factor in a list of variables including but not exclusive to holiday entitlements, employment contracts, training and development.

Expense-wise if employees move home or countries, you may also need to factor in expenses for home-moving, relocation assistance, temporary accommodation and trips to view their new workplace.

The ability to adapt and change with your business

Our research shows that 87% of payroll leaders see payroll information as a fundamental part of their commercial and growth strategies yet 73% say they lack the payroll data to inform the strategic direction of the company.3

Of course, you’ll want a payroll partner who can quickly produce sophisticated reports designed to suit your business. But yielding the data is just the starting point. No organisation knows exactly what they’ll need from the outset, so you need a payroll partner committed to understanding your business model and to building a flexible working relationship.

And with fewer qualified entrants into the HR and payroll space, it makes sense to partner with a provider who has the standing, credentials and culture that hold huge ongoing appeal for global payroll talent.

To learn more about how to prepare your payroll function for change, download our ebook ‘Is your payroll keeping pace?’

1. ADP, The potential of payroll: Global payroll survey 2022
2. ADP Research Institute, People at Work 2023: A Global Workforce View
3. ADP, The potential of payroll: Global payroll survey 2021