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Richard McLean

Cloud Payroll Technology with Richard McLean #50

Cloud Payroll Technology with Richard McLean #50

Nick Day is joined on The Payroll Podcast sofa by Richard McLean, Co Founder of KeyPay!

After working for over 20 years in IT, Rich and his three co-founders took the leap and created their own business KeyPay, a cloud-based payroll and workforce management tool. Since its launch in 2012, KeyPay is now trusted by over 158,000 businesses in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Rich is passionate about keeping business processes simple and removing the unnecessary stressors in the payroll and workforce world.

KeyPay is a cloud-based workforce management and payroll platform, new to the UK in 2018. KeyPay is the first true cloud-based platform to hit the UK bureau market, designed to eliminate the traditional payroll headaches of employee onboarding, data collection, HMRC and pension fund compliance.  In a single, integrated platform, KeyPay automates the flow of data from employees across rosters, timesheets, leave management, and reporting, through to the payroll bureau and back to the business, providing full client visibility of the pay run at all times.

KeyPay launched in Australia in 2012 and dramatically changed the payroll landscape by offering a fully flexible, customisable solution catering to the diverse business needs in Australia.

In this “Cloud Payroll Technology” episode of The Payroll Podcast, Richard is asked:

  1. How does the payroll market in Australia differ from the UK, in terms of technology, perception, and/or complexities?
  2. What does the future of payroll look like? 
  3. What problematic, conventional payroll processes do you think have been accepted as ‘the norm’ by payroll professionals?
  4. Why do you think accounting firms and payroll bureaus are slower to adopt cloud payroll technology?
  5. What features should accountants look out for in their payroll technology to maximise their efficiencies
  6. How else can technology add value?
  7. What changes could payroll bureaus or accountants make to improve their processes?
  8. How can payroll departments make payroll profitable?

Links highlighted in this “Cloud Payroll Technology” episode are included below:

  • Director Pays powered by KeyPay: KeyPay recently launched a cloud-based payroll tool for accountants and payroll bureaux: Director Pays. Director Pays is designed specifically to remove all manual efforts involved with director payroll processing. With a one-off set up, accounting firms can automate pay schedules, HMRC submissions including FPS and EPS, tax and NIC calculations, client reporting, and journal entries to accounting platforms.
  • White paper: How accountants can use technology to make payroll profitableExploring automation in the UK payroll space and the opportunity it can bring for payroll, KeyPay interviewed 8 thought leaders about technology innovation and trends in the industry. Their responses, alongside research into the state of payroll in the UK, contributed toward KeyPay’s recent white paper.
  • Richard McLean – LinkedIn Profile
  • KeyPay Website
  • KeyPay Blog
  • Nick Day (The Payroll Podcast Host) Linkedin Profile
  • JGA Recruitment Group – Specialist Payroll Recruiters
  • Contact the Host, Nick Day: nick@jgarecruitment.com | 0044 1727 800 377

Of course, if you are Payroll Leader listening to this podcast and you have a payroll-related vacancy that you would love some specialist payroll recruitment support with – please also get in touch with me!  I would love to help show you what a great Payroll recruitment experience feels like!

Thanks for listening folks – I look forward to bringing you the next episode of the Payroll Podcast real soon

Move from data to strategy

Move from data to strategy: Part 2

Nick Day, CEO at JGA Recruitment Group had an opportunity to sit down and discuss the Future of Payroll with Kate Brown, Marketing Manager at KeyPay.

Kate is asking the questions!

In Part 1, we discussed the perception of payroll and how its value must be portrayed in order to drive change in the accounting industry.

By implementing cloud-based tools that automate the compliance side of payroll, accounting practices can open up a previously untapped revenue stream, increase profit margins and free up time to focus on adding real advisory value to clients.

We continue our conversation with Kate asking Nick about technology trends in payroll, and how to embrace innovation to enhance profitability.

Kate: What should payroll professionals look for in technology?

Nick: Robotic Process Automation is massive at the minute. Everyone’s interested in how they can look at automation to take the mundane tasks off their desk. For payroll professionals to have a strategic board, they have to outsource or automate some of the admin stuff. Those mundane tasks of checking and entering all have to be eliminated. The next step is not only automating the task itself, but actually seeking software that allows them to interpret the data intelligently, so they can use this strategically.

Kate: How can you use data to drive value?

Nick: I’m not a payroll manager, but here’s an example. Let’s say I’m a payroll and benefits manager and I’m able to analyse huge volumes of data regarding benefits updates. I can see from looking at that data that actually, some benefits are just not being utilised by the employees, but other benefits are. If I do that at scale, I could create a significant cost saving for the business, by removing the unused benefits and adding more relevant ones, or changing the way that we offer benefits altogether.

Payroll managers are keen to get more involved in that kind of strategic area. That’s something that automation can really help with. That’s going to be an exciting part of the future payroll manager.

What changes in technology have you witnessed throughout your career?

Nick: When I started in the industry, hours were tracked using clock cards and it was extremely manual. The idea of having a cloud-based solution just wouldn’t have existed; it’d have been a dream. There has been a huge shift to ‘employee self service’. And as employees want more transparency about how they handle their data, I think we’re going to see that improve.

In the last 12 months, we’ve seen a big increase in what the functionality of those systems can offer: things like pay on demand and interactive payslips have been real wish lists for clients. We’ve definitely seen a huge increase in RPA technology.

The biggest shift we’ve seen is people coming away from an all-in-one system and rather looking for best in class elements that they can integrate with a payroll system. People are therefore looking for payroll systems that can integrate well with an open API.

People are wanting to experiment or at least find out more about technology. Things like chatbots and blockchain technology: there’s definitely a lot of interest in it and a lot of inquiries, but no one has been quite brave enough yet to take it on.

Kate: You mentioned that some payroll professionals are concerned about automation making their roles obsolete. What are your thoughts on this?

Nick: In history, every time there’s been an advancement in technology, it has actually created more jobs than it’s lost. For example, the Industrial Revolution. If you can automate more, it’s not getting rid of jobs. If payroll professionals can make themselves more efficient, then they can grow their businesses quicker. And when you grow, you expand and when you expand, you’re going to need more people to handle that expansion. Administration tasks will therefore be replaced by more strategic roles.

Additionally, we always need humans overseeing these systems to make sure they’re running effectively. If we didn’t have payroll people on the ground able to ensure quality control and understand that payroll process, then the world would be in trouble. You can have systems automate everything, but you still need an expert behind them.

Kate: How is the role of the payroll professional changing as a result of technology?

Nick: We’ve been recruiting for a lot more payroll analytical roles coming into the market; a huge number of hybrid based roles between payroll rewards, HR, payroll finance, that weren’t there 2 or 3 years ago. Technology is advancing year on year, and as a recruitment company, we’ve grown year on year. This shows that there have been more vacancies and more need for payroll staff rather than less.

For more insights on raising the profile of payroll in the accounting industry, see part 1 of Nick’s interview.

Raising the Profile of Payroll

Raising the Profile of Payroll: Part 1

Nick Day, CEO at JGA Recruitment Group had an opportunity to sit down and discuss the Future of Payroll with Kate Brown, Marketing Manager at KeyPay.

Kate is asking the questions!

Kate: What are the biggest challenges you face when recruiting for payroll professionals?

Nick: When placing an ad for a payroll professional, most people underestimate the difficulty of payroll and therefore think they can do it. So you’ll end up with potentially thousands of resumes coming in from people that think they are appropriate for the job, but actually, the reality is they’re not payroll professionals. There’s a big difference between managing a payroll for 12 employees for a bar, and managing payroll for 2,000 employees start to finish, further calculations, and everything else that goes with it.

Kate: You’re right in saying payroll is complex. What are the common pain points experienced in the industry?

Nick: Being underappreciated, and overworked. There’s an issue with articulating the difficulties that other business stakeholders don’t see. For example, with the amount of legislation, and the speed at which legislation has changed during the pandemic, payroll professionals have had to react to get huge volumes of furlough payment calculations done correctly. Business stakeholders change their minds very, very quickly on who’s going to be furloughed, and who isn’t. I don’t necessarily think there’s an appreciation on how much complexity is involved behind the scenes.

Kate: We’ve noticed a trend that accountants tend to be more invested in cloud accounting packages, but cloud payroll is far less used and talked about. Why do you think that is?

Nick: I’ve seen payroll change from the days of Kalamazoo and time cards, shifting to where we are now. We’re in the most rapid period of technological change that the world has ever seen. I see that as a real positive. The industry is probably a little bit mixed on it. Accountants are probably slightly further ahead in wanting to speed up their own technology before the payroll departments’.

A big part of this is the media. A 2015 BBC study that said that 97% of all payroll professionals will be automated within the next 20 years. I think that scares people; they want to improve, but there’s a risk if they improve things too much, then they will outsource themselves. So I think there’s a resistance there.

I also think there’s a fear factor with technology they haven’t dealt with before. Payroll is an incredibly vital function, and to get it wrong is a huge risk. To be the first to implement modern payroll technology can be scary. Most payroll employees now are ready to change. Over 70% of payroll managers are looking to integrate more automated solutions. We wouldn’t have seen that a year ago.

Kate: How can we make payroll a priority in the accounting space?

Nick: We need people to highlight the direct impact of technology on payroll processes and how it can transform a business. I also think that the profile of payroll needs to improve. Particularly in accountancy, payroll is still a bit of an after-service. It’s not a priority for many accountancy firms.

Payroll professionals aren’t often in a position to be the ‘voice’. If you work for an accounting firm, the voice is going to be the accountancy or the partners. It’s not going to be typically the payroll department. But I think we’re starting to see that change. And automation is really helping with that change. Because the less task orientated things payroll professionals are doing, and the more time they can spend on strategy, the bigger the impact they can have at a higher level.

For more insights into how technology can enhance the role of payroll in the industry, see part 2 of Nick’s interview.

Kate Brown

Marketing Manager at KeyPay