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The big benefits of payroll automation and digital capture for schools

A note from Cole School Experts: This post is part of a series of blogs that focus on getting your school’s payroll sorted. Read more about getting your school payroll sortedavoiding payroll risks and keeping your payroll sorted.

As the Great Resignation continues to take its toll on businesses around the country, many school teams are operating with fewer staff and a higher workload. At Cole School Experts, we’ve witnessed major transformations when schools embrace the power of automation to optimise business efficiency by streamlining time-intensive tasks.

One of the best places to start is in your payroll processes. Not only are payroll processes complex and repetitive, they are also prone to human error: a huge challenge for payroll teams. By automating payroll processes, staff can not only take back valuable hours in their day; they can also mitigate and even eliminate the risk of payroll error. 

In this post, we’re going to look at the big risks of not automating your payroll, and then provide you with a clear plan of action to start streamlining your payroll tasks — today!

Risks from manual payroll procedures

Unfortunately, when schools rely on written forms or timesheets to calculate staff pay, you’ll often find that your team has accidentally recorded their hours worked incorrectly. Another risk is illegibility — when your team can’t clearly understand a staff member’s handwriting, it can result in errors in interpretation and, therefore, incorrect pay. 

Paper-based time tracking can also be misplaced, misfiled or held up by an approver. Even the best payroll processes can have vulnerabilities, leaving pay runs delayed. 

On the other hand, automated payroll forms allow your team to:

Create an inbuilt workflow procedure

Scan and store all data for each pay period

Save all contracts, letter variations and relevant payroll forms to DOCMAN or electronically within the College server (providing both People and Culture and Payroll access)

Remove human error when calculating hours worked and final pay amounts.

Deciding whether payroll automation is right for your school

If your payroll team is feeling overburdened, you’re likely looking at implementing one of two options: 

1. Hiring new team members

2. Eliminating manual processes through purchasing new payroll or workflow automation software (or making better use of the software you’ve already bought).

Both options are an investment for your school, so it’s important to understand the costs and benefits of each before making your decision. To do this, you’ll need to understand how much each new hire will cost — including salary, superannuation and benefits, along with recruiting, onboarding and training costs. 

On the other hand, if you invest in software, there are ongoing subscription fees, plus an additional implementation cost that might include engaging a consultant to set up your systems, and team onboarding and training. However, there are also huge savings (both in terms of budget and staff time) to be made through the efficiencies of an automated process.

When evaluating both options, it’s important that you don’t just look at the upcoming year, but rather consider the investment years into the future. While the costs of hiring a new team member will increase year on year, the costs of investing in software will likely decrease as your team implements efficiencies and becomes more comfortable with the system.

How to get started with systems automation

If you’ve decided that automating your systems is the best course of action, you’ll first need to consider whether you’re going to implement it yourself or engage an expert to oversee the process.

Engaging a consultant can save your school plenty of time and resources, as they are immersed in the world of software and can get you up and running — fast. Your consultant will also be able to provide you with unbiased advice about the best system for your unique situation.

From there, you can engage them to set up your systems and onboard and train your staff while documenting their processes as they go. This gives you a clear and up-to-date handbook to follow, which will give your staff the best chance of being able to maintain the systems after the consultant finishes up. 

If you’re looking for strategic advice and expertise in the field of school software, consider working with Cole School Experts. Our team has extensive experience in working with payroll teams to get their systems up and running smoothly, along with customised training and regular software health checks. If you’re planning the installation of a new software system, call our Software Professional Services team. We’ll discuss how we can help you with your new project and the benefits of the different options available. 

Contact Cole School Experts today!

The big benefits of payroll automation and digital capture for schools