2019 State of Payroll

Kronos State of Payroll Study:

Does the C-suite Recognize Payroll’s Strategic Value?

LOWELL, Mass., National Payroll Week, Sept. 4, 2019 — According to the “2019 State of Payroll” conducted by the American Payroll Association (APA) on behalf of Kronos Incorporated, the majority of payroll professionals do not believe C-level leadership recognizes the strategic value the payroll function is capable of delivering to the organization.

The “State of Payroll” study surveyed 651 payroll professionals from North American businesses off all sizes and across all industries to understand what they are doing to raise their strategic profile and deliver critical business insights to support the employee experience and drive better business outcomes.

News Facts

  • Payroll pros work hard to shake paper-pushing, button-punching reputation.
    • More than three-quarters (78%) of payroll professionals view payroll as a strategic business function that can provide critical insights, engage employees, and support organizational goals.
    • However, payroll pros feel they lack senior support as they say just one in five C-level executives (22%) view payroll as capable of being a catalyst to support strategic business growth.
  • Legacy technology and outdated processes limit payroll’s ability to act more strategically.
    • Nearly half (45%) of organizations say their payroll solution is at least six years old, while more than a quarter (27%) report their payroll solution is 10 or more years old.
    • Processing payroll takes more than an entire day at three-quarters (72%) of organizations, while half (50%) of payroll professionals say they still do not track key performance indicators, virtually unchanged since last year’s study.
    • One in 10 (10%) payroll pros say they don’t know basic performance metrics like the cost of payroll per employee, further perpetuating the myth that payroll is a back-office cost center.
  • Empowering the modern workforce is the #1 goal for payroll.
    • The top must-haves in a new solution according to the study include security access options based on user role (94%); on-demand reporting (89%); frequent compliance and regulatory updates (85%); real-time reporting and analytics (84%); and employee self-service (82%).
    • To improve data quality, eliminate duplicate data-entry, and achieve real-time visibility, nearly two-thirds (60%) prefer a payroll solution unified with time and labor management and/or human resources.   

Supporting Quotes

  • Martin Armstrong, CPP, DBA, vice president, payroll shared services, Charter Communication; advisory board member, The Workforce Institute at Kronos

“The payroll function is primed for disruption. With modern solutions now automating many of the previously manual, time-consuming elements of each pay cycle, payroll professionals have an opportunity to transform into data analysts, strategic consultants, and even educators. Organizations that empower their payroll teams empower their entire organization.”

  • Stacey Kervin, senior manager, HCM practice group, Kronos

“Savvy payroll professionals are ready to contribute strategically right now. They’re sitting on a wealth of data that can inform business decisions, but it’s nearly impossible to analyze without the proper technology. Their HR colleagues are focused on delivering a great employee experience to boost recruitment and retention, but employees are perpetually frustrated trying to access and understand pay data or update critical information like their tax withholdings. By unifying payroll into a single solution with HR and workforce management, organizations will elevate payroll pros into strategic contributors that play a key role supporting the modern workforce.”

Supporting Resources

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works.


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Dan Gouthro

Kronos Incorporated

+1 978.947.7310