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With new technology comes new opportunities. Workforces across Asia are transforming. It is becoming increasingly important for payroll professionals to be aware of the upcoming changes, as well as the new technologies available to improve their processes.

Here are some of the things payroll professionals will need to keep an eye on throughout 2019:

AI and chatbots

The adoption of artificial intelligence is expected to drive payroll processing into a new era. AI refers to technology that knows how to learn and ultimately think like a human. For instance, AI software could read payroll data and recommend, on the basis of multiple staff working excessive overtime, that the business would benefit from hiring new employees.

The ability to make decisions means AI is likely to merge many payroll and HR functions. Payroll is likely to be one of the first industries to adopt new technology, as it is a natural evolution of automation, which is already prevalent in payroll. However, this is unlikely to become commonplace in 2019.

Instead, expect to see AI baby steps in 2019. Recent years have seen the growth of AI-powered chatbots, which are able to converse with an employee and either answer basic questions or refer said employee to the right person. These chatbots are likely to grow in sophistication in 2019, becoming more competent at answering a wider variety of queries, and become a standard HR service in big companies.

Traditional pay cycles on the way out

With the rise of the gig economy and more flexible working conditions, we can expect pay cycles to see significant disruption. Traditional pay cycles are becoming restrictive, and in some cases a deal-breaker, for employees or contractors who are demanding greater flexibility. As work is increasingly completed on-demand, workers are calling for "same-day pay" — where they are paid immediately upon the execution of their output/service/work hours.

This concept has the potential to change the notion of pay frequencies altogether. In fact, if a business can provide same-day pay, what is to stop them from being able to run a pay-cycle on-demand, letting employees draw a salary when required?

2019 will introduce improvements in processing speeds and the collection of employee data (such as smart devices to determine when they are on-site) that will open the door for same-day pay.

Open banking will bring new efficiencies to payroll

Open banking is set to shake up the way we bank and opens up new opportunities for businesses. It is based on an open API ecosystem that will help create next-generation value propositions. This concept has already taken hold in the U.K., and we are starting to see adoption in Asia.

What open banking will enable is payments to be made outside of the traditional banking platforms, such as making payments through your payroll software provider. This means eliminating the need to take payment information from one place and moving it into banking systems, streamlining the entire payment process.

It also brings a whole host of other benefits, such as reduced international payment rates, improved control over payroll workflows and holding balances in multiple currencies.

In 2019, expect open banking to not only become prevalent in the consumer space, but to also be gradually adopted by businesses.

So, what does all this mean for the payroll industry?

New technologies, increasing regulations and the continuous changes to the way we work are going to impact how we think about payroll in 2019. New challenges and opportunities will emerge throughout the year, whether it be in complying with new data privacy regulations or automating manual, time-consuming processes.

While it is difficult to predict the impact these trends will have across Asia, it is clear that payroll will become an increasingly important, strategic function of the business. For payroll professionals, it is important to keep ahead of these changes and work out how they can take the lead on these new initiatives.

Those who get on the front foot will deliver innovation to the business, add value and improve the bottom line. 

ARTICLES SOURCES :  https://www.accountingtoday.com/opinion/payroll-is-transforming-what-to-expect-in-2019

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