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PAYROLL PROBLEMS: "We're going to try and do the payroll project with our internal staff only."

In our monthly ‘Payroll Problem’ series, we explore common problems that Australian enterprises face when they are planning, scoping and undertaking payroll projects.

If you have a payroll challenge that you can’t solve, submit your question to the team at AgileXperts and we will focus on it in upcoming months.

March 2021 Payroll Problem:

“We’re going to try and do the payroll project with our internal staff only”

Major enterprises require large scale and complex payroll transformations to keep up with legislative, technological and financial demands of their business operations. Often businesses underestimate the scale and reach of their payroll and human capital systems, therefore, will try to run complex payroll transformations using internal staff only. This leads to burnout, project failure, cost blowout, compliance issues and employee payroll issues.

Some of the key ‘red flags’ you might see if you’ve tried to DIY your payroll project:

  • The Project Manager or person co-ordinating the project is often uncertain or lacking confidence in making decisions.

  • There are key stakeholders are left in the dark, including the Executive, Legal and Human Resources teams who are wondering the status of the project.

  • Key project milestones are being missed without any great explanation. There are also frequent emails requesting deadline extensions for a variety of reasons.

  • Project budgets are almost at their capacity, or project team members are already requesting more budget.

  • Project team members are exasperated, frustrated or looking burnt-out. You can observe this in a project team meeting and identify whether team members are engaged or not.

  • Documentation is lacking or rarely available.

  • IT teams, project team members and stakeholders are not aligned on objectives or priorities and there are multiple work streams in place that have no correlation.

  • Project roles, accountabilities and responsibilities are undefined.

So, if we’re already at this stage – how do we fix it?

A simple and easy solution here is to garner the project team to understand HOW off-track the project is. This will give you a gauge on the criticality and where you need to fix.

It is at this time, often, that businesses consider bringing in an external payroll project specialist to remediate and realign the project back on track.

Is this a value-for-money solution?

Yes. Payroll Project Management is the application of specialist payroll experience, knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques applied to project activities to meet the project requirements. Note: this is not just ‘standard project management’ skills. Payroll project management specialists have deep subject matter expertise on specific payroll compliance, payroll technology vendors, human capital management structures and stakeholder management across all the disciplines that payroll affects.

A person like this will bring methodologies and frameworks to remediate existing project issues, or design a successful project programme from the start.

You can throw the problem at them, and they’ll fix it…

You can generally expect the Payroll Project Manager will act as an insurance to delivering the project on time and on-budget. This person will control the project and has two primary responsibilities; control the project to ensure a successful conclusion (ie the first payroll payment cycle) and keep stakeholders informed on progress through the project lifecycle.

They are responsible for:

  • Managing payroll scope across legal, administration, finance, human resources and operational,

  • Controlling costs including technology licensing, technical implementation, integration and engineering costs, compliance costs and testing costs.

  • Breaking the work down into manageable tasks, then scheduling and assigning resources to deliver these tasks so that the next series of work can seamlessly commence.

  • Build, maintain, and manage stakeholder relationships across multiple stakeholder groups including Executive Leadership, IT, Finance, Legal, Payroll, Human Resources and Operations. Additional stakeholders include, the project sponsor, assigned team members, vendors, and impacted non project team members such as employees.

  • Applying specialist expertise across payroll technology, Fair Work Australia compliance legislation and various project management methodologies that apply specifically to payroll, human resources, operational and finance departments.

For further information on this topic, join us at our upcoming webinar on Tuesday the 30th of March at 12pm Brisbane time. Register Here

Businesses can email or call 1300 287 213 for free first-step advice on how to ensure your payroll processes can safeguard your payroll compliance. Follow us on Linkedin or sign up here to receive our articles direct to your email inbox.


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