The Oxford definition of “strategy” is “a plan of action to achieve a long-term or overall aim”. As a verb, it means “the art of planning and directing overall operations and movement”.
Tackling a company’s payroll strategically is not just clever. It’s essential for the whole system in the company to function optimally. It ensures that everyone knows their part, what actions are required when, and dictates the expected outcome. Synonymously we can call it the Masterplan, the Blueprint, or plain and simple, prevailing sanity. Because let’s face it, if Payroll doesn’t function, chaos ensues, and everyone becomes a little crazier. Not the path we choose to go down.

Instead, strategic payroll is easily accomplished with a little organisational introspection.


Why not to wing it

A Payroll Masterplan helps an organisation to adapt to ever-changing circumstances, on the employees’ side, the company’s behalf, and for compliance’s sake. It future proofs a company to be robust and scalable. So, planning is essential. But where to start?


1. Payroll efficiency

Payroll’s single biggest responsibility is to pay salaries correctly and on time, no matter what. The biggest determinants for success are your payroll employees and the resources they need to function successfully.
Payroll staff must have the appropriate skillset to be good at what they do. Payroll might not entail splitting an atom, but it is a specialized career and requires proper knowledge. Ensure you work with the right internal and external payroll experts, and that you have the right payroll partner, if you outsource. Look at the customer support and the level of local Middle East-specific knowledge offered to ensure you remain completely compliant.


2. Train your staff

Ensure payroll staff stay up to date with trends and changes, but don’t stop here. Accounts and HR employees also benefit from payroll training, especially in the compliance department. Additionally, cross-training creates greater team cohesion and collaboration, improving a company’s payroll process.


3. Invest in technology

If you haven’t yet automated your payroll process, you are losing out. Payroll is time consuming and resource intensive. And if you make mistakes, it costs companies a lot of good money. If you own a rapidly expanding business, payroll automation is a wise investment. Order, sanity. Remember that correlation.

Additionally, investing in cloud-based technology is becoming increasingly the norm, offering secure and off-site management of your company’s most confidential information and processes. With good payroll and HR systems, you expand your analytics and reporting capability, and your knowledge base, especially if your company operates in multiple regions.


4. Outsource

Third-party providers are a dream to work with if you have the right partner. When you outsource payroll, you have a team of experts who know their stuff about payroll in general, but also the UAE specifically. The provider stays abreast of regulatory and compliance changes, train the payroll staff, and ultimately guarantees keeping your company compliant and on track. Although we all know it’s not fairies doing payroll, as some might think, with a competent payroll partner it may as well be. Bring it on, fairytale! Those proverbial headaches will magically disappear overnight too.


5. Scalability

When a business starts out, its payroll needs are small. However, as the business grows, payroll does too. Getting skills on board to take the company to new places means your payroll needs to expand and become more complex. Soon the company spreads it wings into a neighboring country, or further afield. And payroll processes must cope with this, or it will harm the business.

By the same token, the fallout from the past Pandemic proved that companies must be equally flexible to downscale or adjust payroll, depending on where employees find themselves working from, and how to stay abreast of company laws and regulations, as well as labour laws, which might be the same or different.

A good payroll process makes allowance for these scenarios and ensures adaptability.


A little bit of everything

Once you have considered and analysed the factors affecting your company’s payroll processes, you can build your plan. A good plan would include regular day-to-day payroll processes, emergency processes, what-if scenarios, and a healthy dose of optimism. Then the monthly, quarterly, half-yearly, and annually process plans will follow.

A one-size-fit-all approach does not, in most cases, work for payroll processes, which are as individual as the company itself. Therefore, build the payroll process around the specific needs of the organisation. Ensure a healthy pinch of flexibility, draw on internal and external expertise. Outsource some parts of the process or all of it. It is a surprisingly creative and satisfying process to design your payroll blueprint.

If you would like advice or help on how to build a company payroll process or help to restructure your payroll process Get in touch with one of our payroll specialists now for a consultation.

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