By Bhavin Turakhia
As we draw the curtains on a financial year marked by bold decisions and major political wins, corporates are pre-occupied with all aspects of year-end assessments and budgeting for the New Year. It’s that time of the year, when the finishing touches to the budget plans are being added.
The clock is ticking, tasks abound and many decisions are to be made. In the midst of a time crunch, here are four things to invest in for the next financial year:
1. Software-based payroll systems: Transitioning to an advanced payroll system offers many merits. They are immaculately designed to keep track of all details concerning the organisation’s workforce. This includes an employee’s work hours, salary calculation, detailed tax deductions, flexible pay, payout dates, as well as managing employment taxes.
In fact, statistics state that transactional tasks will move to integrated business services solutions that use robotics, which will automate or eliminate up to 40% of transaction accounting work by 2020.
This shift means that finance staff can spend more than 75% of their time, up from 25% today, according to Accenture analysis on decision support, predictive analytics, and performance management.
With a cutting-edge software system, corporates need to invest very less time and effort to manage employee payroll. Moreover, the current payroll software systems automatically reflect any changes to tax laws, further simplifying HR functions. As the world is heading towards greater automation and artificial intelligence, a software-based payroll system will further improve the productivity of corporates through its advanced software programs.
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2. Digitised employee tax benefits: Typically, companies are bogged down by several tasks associated with employee benefits. Employees submit paper-based claims and the verification of the same is a time-consuming endeavor.
Traditionally, since claiming employee benefits has always been dependent on a manual approach, the work for corporates is taxing. As per a report by Towers Watson, 2015 Asia Pacific Benefit Trends, 30 per cent of Indian companies spend over 20 per cent of their payroll on benefits. That’s a colossal waste of money.
But, with digitisation, all these mammoth tasks could be completed easily using a single digital platform, especially during such a time.
Tallying bills and calculating tax exemption for employee benefits such as gadgets, car purchases and the paperwork involved is heavy-volume work. By adopting digitised employee benefits, companies could digitally offer and manage benefits such as meal vouchers, reimbursements, and claims of different kinds such as medical, fuel, LTA and so on.
The burden of managing such programmes is removed, and the whole process becomes hassle-free. As a result, the company can save ample time and costs, otherwise spent in several operational tasks.
3. Cloud-based enterprise accounting software: Research by CuriousRubik reported that 58% of businesses use cloud computing for IT-related tasks. And 82% of companies have saved money just by implementing the cloud network in their infrastructure.
The advantages of using cloud-based ERP accounting software are many. Companies can access, store and share company data on a remote server. Such software lets multiple users access information and collaborate to complete tasks sooner. Faster checks and processing of employee claims and taxes are made possible with appropriate accounting software.
All calculations pertaining to employee salaries, taxes, and any other type of payouts could be made effortlessly. With pre-programmed accounting software, the scope of human error is virtually nill.
All checks are done flawlessly, ensuring accuracy and faster processing of employee-submitted documents. CFOs can settle expenses incurred by companies with minimal time by leveraging a cloud-based platform.
4. Book closing and budgeting: Budgeting for the next financial year is an enormous task. Moreover, closing books involves a plethora of quality checks – right from settling all kinds of payments due to vendors and associate agencies, as well as expenses incurred towards employee programmes, to the weightier tasks of review and consolidation of financial statements.
With the availability of an accurate cash flow statement and balance sheet, organisations can better estimate its future financial focus.
This process can be further improved by automating tasks involving financial translation, including exchange rate translations, and department-wise reconciliation. In addition, enabling a standardized template across geographies to simplify calculations and checks.
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While corporates are often looking for ways to enhance productivity, and boost employee morale, advanced cloud-based solutions seem to be a panacea that negates obstacles to efficient payroll processing and budgeting exercises.
These are tools that organisations could leverage to enable accuracy, creativity and best practices, carefully designed for optimum benefit. Ultimately, it’s a win-win for everybody.
(The author is CEO and Co-Founder, Zeta)