AI has been around for a long time but has recently gained public notoriety on social media and news outlets over the last few years. This is because there have been improvements made to AI that make their functions more widely usable. AI systems are being utilized by companies everywhere, including Facebook, Google, and apps like Snapchat. It begs the question: what is the role of AI in my company and how do I get the best use out of this tool?
What Is AI?
AI stands for artificial intelligence. Essentially, AI is a machine’s ability to perform cognitive functions usually performed by human minds. This includes reasoning, learning, interacting with the environment around them, problem-solving, and creativity. AI has been around for a while, as we can see with smart devices using the voice-activated Alexa and Siri. AI has also been used in less public-facing ways as a core part of Google’s search algorithm and in software.
Additionally, there is a sub-genre of AI called applied AI, which concerns real-world problems. This has allowed businesses to benefit from AI by using it to assist in certain aspects of their work. This has allowed companies to focus on more human-related problems (interacting with clients, being out in the world, etc.) rather than spending hours doing data entry and other small – albeit necessary – tasks.
How Does AI in Payroll Processing Work?
Today, downloadable software systems have already begun automating payroll processes. Payroll is predominantly data-driven, meaning that there are many ways AI can further automate the processes of payroll.
There are AI bots that can complete many of a business’s payroll tasks. They can sync data across integrated systems, directly transfer any necessary documents or payments to banks or other companies if necessary, and help employees answer any payroll questions. All of these tasks were previously done by humans, taking up precious time that can be used to enhance their skills in other areas and provide higher levels of performance.
Common Payroll Processes That Use AI Support
With so many processes under the payroll umbrella, it’s important to target the processes that benefit the most from AI support.
Data Aggregation & Validation
Manual data transfers between multiple branches, departments, and companies can lead to various mistakes in the data. Sure, errors can be corrected after processing, but inaccuracies and mistakes can lead to delays as well as other problems. This also will require even more time for employees to sift through to data to find the mistakes.
AI automation enables companies to schedule automatic data transfers. Tasks like these are usually done manually by payroll professionals, oftentimes when requested by HR personnel. This eliminates the need to manually insert the data into an Excel spreadsheet. Secondly, these automated transfers can be paired with rules-based data validation systems, allowing the AI to cleanse any outdated data automatically. This results in more accurate data that can help with analyzing payroll reports.
Payroll support is essential but may be one of the least utilized proponents of a business. Oftentimes, payroll professionals can be too busy with other tasks to handle payroll support questions or status updates. This could lead a company to outsource their payroll support to third-party vendors or other colleagues within their organization, which, in turn, could lead to sub-par support and human error.
The implementation of different AI support chat-bots has increased over the years. You can go on almost any company website now and be met with a chat bubble with an AI asking you, “How can we help you today?” This can be beneficial for employees to have access to. You can program your AI to answer the most common questions they may have about payroll, and leave the more specific questions for the professionals. Fielding out the easier questions to be immediately answered can free up the professionals to handle other, more important, tasks.
When it comes to different processes and techniques, especially in the payroll department, businesses tend to stick to the idea that “we shouldn’t fix what isn’t broken.” In other words, if the process is working fine now, why change it? This can lead to businesses looking for the best payroll systems that reflect the way they run processes now, preventing any form of change or growth.
This lack of growth can cause businesses to have a blindspot around their payroll performance and how it compares to industry trends. Implementing AI systems can help employees pinpoint weak points within their payroll system and have the AI essentially “fix” these processes. They do this by identifying data irregularities, recognizing odd patterns, and implementing corrective rules and processes.
What Are the Benefits of AI in Payroll Processing?
Automation in a business can create fruitful benefits. These benefits can go on to help strengthen a company and the relationships between the workers.
Automating Manual Tasks
Taking away monotonous tasks will allow your employees to focus on learning and developing skills. This isn’t to say that there will be no human interference in payroll processing. There has to be human input to ensure that the systems are running correctly and all the necessary information was put into the system in the first place.
The AI, however, can take over tasks that are often repeatable and follow a clear set of guidelines. These processes can take a massive amount of time and effort to complete because of the different data that’s included. No matter how big the company is, payroll processing still requires a lot of attention and time. This means that an employee could be spending ⅓ of their work day just inputting payroll data. With AI, these hours can be freed up and can allow the business to focus on higher-value activities.
Accurate Data Input
When an employee is assigned to sift through payroll documentation and data, the tasks can become repetitive. Even if the employee stays engaged with the data, human error is always possible. Mistakes happen and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. The goal of integrating AI is to help enhance your own skills, not replace them.
Implementing an AI doesn’t completely get rid of the risk of mistakes, but it greatly decreases the frequency of human error. Additionally, studies have shown that automation through AI and software systems has greatly decreased data mistakes altogether. Once the data is completely inserted and processed, all the employees will have to do is look over for inaccuracies and incomplete data.
There is only so much time in the day. and payroll processing tasks can take a lot of time. In order to help your employees get through these arduous tasks, integrating AI software can help. Combining the skills and knowledge of human employees and the quickness and machine learning of AI software, payroll processing becomes much easier to handle.
AI can improve your data collection and help with your analysis. It’s capable of learning your payroll processes, identifying irregularities, pointing out patterns that could be harming your company, and automatically implementing new practices that will work better. Having an AI polish up your payroll processes can be beneficial for the company as a whole, especially when companies aren’t updating their processes frequently.