5 Steps Getting To The Root Cause Of Payroll Errors

Payroll errors are inevitable. After all, humans are known to err and payroll miscalculations or even system errors occurs. However, that does not mean that there is no way to resolve such payroll problems.

One proven effective way to identify and prevent common payroll errors is to use root cause analysis.

Broadly defined, root cause analysis is a method of problem solving that emphasizes on gathering and examining data. From a payroll manager point of view, this involves identifying gaps between expected and actual performance of payroll personnel, systems or even payroll processes.

Essentially, there are five key steps to performing root cause analysis to resolve payroll processing problems.


The first key step is to identify the problem. Detail how undesirable the current payroll situation is as opposed to the desired or expected payroll situation.


It would be particularly valuable to collect payroll data that indicates how long each component of the payroll problem has been in effect. For instance, if the payroll system has been inaccurate in computing employees’ allowances for the past consecutive three months, draw out data that is as old as the past three months while concurrently collecting the current allowances figures as well.


After collecting your data or “evidence”, the next step is to make sense of it. Essentially, the key here is to draw out possible patterns or factors that could have contributed to the manifestation of the payroll problem. For instance, were some of daily allowance not multiplied by the number of days in a month?


After evaluating the data and identifying the contributing factors, the next step is to assess the contributing factors to identify the root cause or causes of the payroll problem. Could the miscalculation be due to a failure to update a certain component of the payroll system? Or could it be that your payroll vendor has failed to provide you with a system upgrade?


The final step after identifying the root cause(s) of the problem is to provide recommendations to the relevant personnel, be it to your staff from the payroll department or your payroll vendor. After working with the relevant parties to determine which recommendations would be the most viable in tackling the payroll problem, it is time to implement that recommendation.

There are plenty of tools that you as a payroll manager can use as part of your root cause analysis. Visual tools include flowcharts and fault-tree analyses. Of course, if you are using your preferred root cause analysis tool but it does not help you find the solution to your payroll problem, perhaps you might consider using a different tool instead.

5 Tips For Managing Payroll In M&A

Mergers and acquisitions are part and parcel of the business world. However, as with all mergers and acquisitions, this can then have significant impact on internal processes.

While most of the responsibilities lies on the top management to ensure a smooth transition with the organizational changes, the HR department also has a key role to ensure that employees are kept up to date with the changes as well.

In addition to the human aspect of mergers and acquisitions, payroll can also have a major impact on how success a merger or acquisition will eventually turn out in the long run. The key here is to ensure that any changes in payroll should be in line with organisational changes. Here are some ways to execute payroll during a merger or acquisition without overlooking due diligence.


A merger or acquisition need not be a messy or complicated affair. Instead, understand how the payroll process is like for the organisations involved. There could be a chance that the organisations involved might be using the same payroll software. Additionally, with the advancement of payroll tools and cloud-based payroll software, merging employees’ data or payroll information together might not seem as nightmarish as before.


Tasks will not be completed without a timeline in place. Ensure that there is a payroll execution plan, with specific deadlines and timeframe to achieve a certain task at each time. At the same time, ensure that everyone involved in the payroll execution or migration plan is aware of these timelines.


The last thing you want is to surprise the organisations involved in terms of the management of payroll processes or number of payroll vendors. Having a payroll representative in the merger and acquisition team is a great way to ensure that the organisations involved are aware of the potential costs involved as well as the need to manage the expectations and contracts with these external vendors.


Given that payroll data will be migrated and merged, it is imperative for every data to be backed up before integrating it with the involved organisations. Alternatively, organisations can engage external vendors to help with the data integration, to ensure that important and confidential payroll information is not lost.


The last thing that organisations should do is to keep employees in the dark. After all, mergers and acquisitions are likely to impact employees the most and there are bound to be a lot of insecurities within the organisation. Help the management team to ensure a smooth transition by keep employees informed on successful milestones, regardless of whether they are minor or major ones. This can help to build confidence and trust within the employees at the same time.

Mergers and acquisitions are bound to create tension and certainty within the organisation. Additionally, with the integration of multiple processes ongoing at the same time, due diligence and compliance issues may be overlooked at certain times. Given that payroll is also a crucial part of the integration process, it is imperative to have a plan in place to ensure a smooth transition and contribute to the organisational growth in the long run.

5 Tips To Negotiate Your Salary

Suppose you sailed through an interview and finally landed on that dream job which you have always wanted. But as the HR runs through with you your compensation package, you realise that the starting salary figure is not what you had in mind. Or worse, it is significantly lower than what you had expected. What should you do then?

Undoubtedly, most of us would have been caught in a situation as such. While it is only natural to want to negotiate for a better starting pay, we are also aware of the risks associated with questioning the potential employer on the lower than expected salary – a negative first impression, a seemingly calculative new hire or worse, revoking of the job offer. As such, we tend to feel compelled to accept the job offer. After all, a job – albeit one with a lower starting pay – is better than no job right?

Wrong. In fact, as a job applicant, you can and definitely should negotiate for a better starting salary. Here are some ways to negotiate for a better starting pay smartly and without burning the bridges with your potential employer.


Even before you go for the interview at the prospective company, you should have already done your due research on the company and job that you are applying for. Have a clear understanding of the roles and responsibilities that the role involves as well as the appropriate market compensation package. There are plenty of online recruitment websites that publish pay ranges for certain jobs. While you might not be able to determine the exact market compensation package for a particular job, the pay ranges should provide you with a good gauge of how much other companies are compensating their employees for a similar role.


Being offered the (dream) job can be exciting, particularly if you have been job hunting for some time. However, that does not necessarily mean that you have to accept any job offers that come along straightaway. Regardless of how generous the job offer might seem, request for time to consider it properly.  Most people tend to worry that asking for additional time to ponder over the job offer might result in the company withdrawing the job offer. However, that is rarely the case.


To get the salary that you desire, you will need to convince your prospective employer why you deserve it. When making your counter offer, list down your accomplishments and experience to make a strong case as to why you deserve a higher pay than the offer on paper. Demonstrate clearly how your experiences and skills can bring value to the company.


Salary negotiation include more than the dollars and cents. Do remember to address other components of the compensation package – higher paid vacation leave, flexible hours, medical coverage of dependents or bonuses. Instead of merely asking of the sake of asking, justify to your prospective employer why you need this additional benefit. Could it be that you have to pick up your five-year-old daughter from daycare at 5:00pm every alternate days? Emphasize to your prospective employers at the very start that these are benefits which are important to you. Even if the answer is no, your prospective manager may eventually be open to granting you that flexible work schedule if you make a strong case about your situation.


Once you have reached an agreement with the HR and your prospective employer, be sure to get everything on the contract before you sign it. This is to avoid any nasty surprises once you start your new job.

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