Is there magic in tidying up your payroll processes?

This article is also published in the NGA Payroll Magazine, read the full magazine here

You must have noticed a clean-up phenomenon, fueled by best-selling author and star of a hit Netflix series, Marie Kondo. Her books have inspired more than six million people to purge tons of clutter, to organize, and keep only what matters most.

She promises transformational results. By applying the Konmari Method in business, we could see similar success in the de-cluttering of global payroll.

Is it coincidence that her publishers placed an image of the sky on the cover of her book? Was this a nod to the power of cloud technology for payroll? Possibly.

There are more parallels to payroll inside the book. Read on for supporting evidence below.

“Hold each item in your hand and ask: Does it spark joy?” Marie Kondo

Sparking Joy = Sparking Value

Kondo’s criterion for keeping things, is that they must speak to your heart. This is easy to understand.

The equivalent for payroll is keeping things only if they spark value. Depending on your business situation, the value of payroll might be the peace of mind in knowing that your payroll systems are accurate, compliant and agile enough to allow you to respond to changing market conditions, legal requirements or respond to company growth requirements. Let’s never forget; global payroll is complex.

Or, if you’ve already solved for the basics, value could be an integrated and simple employee experience, like mobile access, user friendly screen and inputs and helpful visual analysis of your payroll data.

“The lives of those who tidy thoroughly and completely, in a single shot, are without exception dramatically altered.”

Taking Careful Inventory

To begin, Kondo asks each client to aim for perfection. She instructs them to gather all clothing from each drawer and closet in every room.

Once all clothing is together in one spot, clients are surprised and overwhelmed at the sheer volume. Among the deep piles of clothes, they find some items long forgotten, clothes that are worn-out, in need of repair or simply outdated.

Likewise, payroll consultants take a deep dive to examine everything from payroll calendars, through compliance to resourcing. The review is critical to streamline for efficiency and for an honest assessment if it makes sense to do your own payroll or to look to payroll specialists who could tidy things for you based on industry best practices.

Your payroll inventory many also uncover:

  • Unorganized, redundant and unnecessary payroll tasks
  • Custom reports that produce data that is duplicated in other standard reports
  • Multiple pay cycles that could be consolidated
  • Regulatory compliance that might not be updated
  • Absence of a business continuity plan

“To truly cherish the things that are important to you, you must first discard those things that have outlived their purpose.”

Discarding with Gratitude

The organizational ninja reassures clients who struggle to discard items. Whether it is because an item was a gift or something they have owned for a long time, she encourages clients to let items go with gratitude. On her Netflix show, she bows her head, respectfully, and thanks inanimate objects with sincere parting words.

From a payroll perspective, the goal is to eliminate all poor payroll practices, like late and manual inputs and off-cycle processing and replace with best practices.

Doing payroll processing yourself or perhaps looking to source it differently, will take some change management, but the benefits may far outweigh the investment.

It’s healthy to say goodbye to some of the ways you have done things in the past and accept that it is not part of the efficiencies of your future including:

  • Increased accuracy
  • Improved compliance
  • A reduction in pay cycles
  • Streamlining and automating payroll inputs via automation

“Dramatic reorganization causes correspondingly dramatic changes. …In fact, it changes the future.”

Visualizing the Future – A Beautiful View

Once the volume of belongings is edited down, the task of organizing begins.

The Konmari Method dictates that visibility is key. For this reason, stacking clothes in a drawer is not condoned. Instead of stacking, she suggests folding each shirt in a way that they all stand up on-end, so nothing is hidden at the bottom of the stack.

Organizing data is every bit as important. Payroll data that is translated into meaningful HR analytics and delivered in easy to read dashboards, makes the information actionable.

With multi-country payroll services, understanding where the costs are and what is driving costs within each department or country, enables a leader to make better decisions. When overtime or salaries outside of the norm are not hidden at the metaphorical bottom of the stack, a leader is given the opportunity to react and correct quickly.

Clients of the Konmari Method report more clarity, better decision-making abilities and improved quality of life. They feel more confident and gain a sense of freedom to embark on new adventures.

Applying this method to your own payroll processing can result in peace of mind, time savings, lowered risks and minimized administrative burden. This leaves more time to focus on core business objectives to generate revenue and serve customers. Maybe in the end, it isn’t magic but it is certainly something that can really “spark joy”!.

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