October 3rd, 2023

How to Automate Your Payroll and Benefits Administration

For many, running a small business also means managing HR processes, which can be quite tedious and complicated. Take, for example, payroll and benefits administration.

If you’re doing both yourself, manually, you’re stuck in a loop of keeping track of employees and paperwork, entering and re-entering employee information, troubleshooting, calculating, and not to mention, maintaining compliance with employment laws and regulations. That’s a lot for any small business owner or payroll manager.

That’s only scratching the surface of what it takes to manage HR yourself or with a small team. Which is why you should be automating or outsourcing as much as you can to save you and your team valuable time.

Running payroll and benefits administration is something any small business, medium business or large enterprise, should automate. This isn’t just to save time though, but to avoid making mistakes that can put a business at risk.

What is Payroll Automation Software?

At its simplest, an automated payroll system is software that automates some of the most manual and time-intensive payroll tasks, creating a more streamlined, secure, accurate and efficient payroll process. Payroll tasks that can be automated range from direct deposit of employee wages, payroll taxes, wage deductions, payroll processing and payroll reports, and more. The benefits of payroll automation go far wide.

Why You Should Automate Payroll and Benefits Administration

When you or your staff are bogged down with the day-to-day administrative work that comes with manually administering payroll and benefits, there’s less of a connection to the overall mission of the business. Plus, continuing to perform processes manually is risky, especially when a single payroll mistake can cost a business so much.

When you automate payroll and benefits administration, you can create much-needed operational efficiencies that save time and money and help you avoid errors. Just as importantly, automation frees up your staff to focus less of their time on the mundane tasks and more on working toward the strategic goals and initiatives that can help your business grow.

If your business is struggling with the day-to-day hassle of manual payroll and benefits administration, here’s how you can automate them to improve efficiency, ensure greater accuracy, and carve out more time for business strategy and growth. It’s also good to know how the support of an HR partner can smooth these processes even more for you.

How to Automate Your Payroll: Pick an Automated Payroll Software

To automate payroll:

  1. Start by selecting an automated payroll solution that can carry out necessary payroll functions such as:
  • Tracking employee data: time, attendance, and PTO
  • Calculating overtime, bonuses, raises, and tax withholdings
  • Processing payroll and cutting checks
  • Filing taxes

The system you choose should work for your business needs, size, and budget, and be able to handle the most time-consuming and burdensome tasks that you’re looking to offload. Once you’ve selected the right system for your business, then you can:

  1. Let your staff know about adopting the automated system, so they know how their role may be impacted. You can even involve them in the initial decision-making process to ensure the software will work for their needs.
  2. Input all your payroll information into the new system, so everything is there once you switch over to it.
  3. Plan to have dedicated time for staff training on the new system before payroll automation goes live. Many automated payroll systems today are intuitive and user-friendly enough that the time spent learning and implementing the system is only minimally disruptive.
  4. Select a cutover date to switch to the new system.

How to Automate Your Benefits Administration

To automate benefits administration:

  1. Start by selecting either a comprehensive HR partner with a platform that includes an automated benefits administration component or an individual health plan that’s administered automatically through a software platform. Either way, the system should automate several functions for you, such as:
  • Employee enrollment
  • Employee communications with reminders about important dates and events
  • Regulatory compliance, with self-updates when there are new or changing laws

While you’re making this decision, think about both your short- and long-term administrative needs, including:

  • The current makeup of your team — whether most of your workers have families and dependents or if they’re younger and single
  • What your hiring plans are and how much you want to grow your team
  • How changes in the size of your business will affect the benefits you provide

This will help you figure out if you need a more robust system sooner rather than later, or if it’s possible to stick with a single automated plan for a while. No matter which partner or system you go with, make sure there is a customer service line, 24/7 chat service, or dedicated service representative available to help.

  1. Input all benefits-related data into the new system. Make sure you’re inputting information that’s been cleaned up and updated, including addresses, dependents, ex-spouses, life events, etc.
  2. Enroll your staff in the new system and allow them time to learn it and get answers to their questions. It’s also helpful at this point to provide some level of benefits education. This is so employees know exactly which benefits are available to them and how to use them, as well as basic information like what a deductible is or how to use a health savings account (HSA) — whatever is pertinent to the specific package you’re offering.
  3. Fit your new automated benefits administration system into the rest of your HR workflows, such as onboarding new employees, capturing qualifying life events, and terminating employment.

How an HR Partner Makes Automation Even Easier

Automating payroll and benefits administration takes the burden of manual data entry off your shoulders, but it’s not the end of the story. While the tedious tasks can easily be handled by the payroll software system, there are still aspects of payroll and benefits compliance that your team must oversee and may need help navigating, especially as your business grows and becomes more complex.

While the system runs in the background, an HR partner can fill in the knowledge gaps, keep you updated on compliance issues, and advise you when changes to your business impact how you operate. They can also provide dedicated service to your team and answer any questions that come up–the payroll solution you didn’t know you needed. Because even the best automated payroll systems can be complex and tough to navigate sometimes.

With an HR partner like Obsidian HR, you receive the knowledge, guidance, and service you need to run the entire payroll process smoothly and with confidence, choose and administer the best benefits package for your business and employees, and scale both processes as your business grows and changes. Obsidian HR’s payroll and benefits administration services include automated systems that:

  • Store all benefits and payroll data in a centralized system
  • Speed up and streamline HR tasks
  • Help your business stay compliant
  • Ensure accurate recordkeeping; reduce risk of payroll errors

We handle the day-to-day management and maintenance of payroll and benefits tasks so you and your staff can focus more time on business goals and growth. Learn more about our payroll management services and get in touch with us today. 

Download the Guide: Small Business Guide to HR Compliance

Download the Small Business Guide To HR Compliance to learn what HR compliance is and why it’s important for small businesses. In this guide, we cover common issues and difficulties of managing HR compliance and how to manage HR compliance as your business grows.

Download the Guide: Small Business Guide to HR Compliance

Download the Small Business Guide To HR Compliance to learn what HR compliance is and why it’s important for small businesses. In this guide, we cover common issues and difficulties of managing HR compliance and how to manage HR compliance as your business grows.

download link