Vickie Graham: There are clear benefits to introducing self-service pay systems

A self-service pay system enables payroll departments to redistribute some administrative tasks, for example updating employee data online and printing payslips if required, putting ownership on the employees themselves.

There are clear benefits. For payroll professionals these benefits are associated with efficiencies and time savings. By empowering employees to take ownership of their data and manage their updates, this saves time for payroll departments who no longer need to input this data into their systems. A secondary benefit is the limited risk of human error leading to incorrect information being input into the system.

For employees, the benefit of having access to these systems is that they have visibility and control of the data held, and the ability to access payslips, P60s and other payroll data without having to wait for information to be sent to them or printed on request. Again, this saves time and improves efficiency within organisations overall, not just the payroll department. It is particularly useful for employees when making mortgage applications where printed payslips are required.

Another real benefit of self-service pay systems is in relation to annual leave. Employees can often view their annual leave entitlement and balances through the system, reducing the enquiries and requests into the payroll or HR departments. Some systems also allow for employees to put in annual leave requests directly through the system which will trigger notifications for approval, and will automatically deduct leave from their balance upon approval.

Of course, as with any self-service, there are considerations to be taken into account to ensure that these benefits are realised. A self-service pay system will only be as effective and efficient as the employees using it. Should employees not know how to update their details, then they will not do so, which will lead to inaccurate information being stored within the pay system or continued requests being received into the payroll department. So effective training and communication are essential.

Vickie Graham is business development director at the Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals