PayrollServe is the Payroll and HR Administration Services division of Stone Forest, the sister company of RSM. PayrollServe’s cutting-edge solutions and team of experienced professionals are highly regarded as being Singapore’s leading provider of cloud-based and fully managed payroll/HR services and solutions.

We speak with Director of PayrollServe - Vina Toh on how automation can positively shape the payroll industry and why collaboration is key in the future of payroll.

Tell me more about PayrollServe and your role in the company

I head the E-solution and Business Development division at PayrollServe. This involves reviewing our technology based on our clients’ needs and trends in the industry to ensure that we’re helping our clients efficiently. I also am responsible for opening up new markets and reaching out to clients.

What do you prioritise as a business when serving clients?

It depends. Some clients know what they want so we’ll work according to what the client needs. But there are clients who are new to the outsourcing world, so we’ll go in and understand what their current processes are, and we’ll then advise if it would be better for them to outsource payroll or just utilise our software to run payroll in-house.

What are the most common challenges in your industry when it comes to payroll?

Singapore payroll is technically simple and straightforward. Anyone who wants to do payroll just needs to know how to compute CPF. The challenge is some of the HR rules by the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) may change each year so it’s important to keep yourself up to date with the changes.

In saying that, the Singapore government tends to announce any changes early on so it gives you time to get your system up to date. 

If the outsourcing company is just doing payroll processing then it’s pretty straightforward. However if you wanted to adopt a more advisory role such as helping clients who are helping their staff to plan their retirement then that requires more work.

What is your view on technology in payroll? 

There are a lot of aspects of payroll which can be made simpler through automation. Humans are still a key factor for services because we all need human relationships. 

Even with things like chatbot, I feel like it should be managed rather than a robot asking the same questions over and over again.

I don’t think we’ll do away with humans, but it’s more about how we can allow automation to help the person win more by improving the way they manage their portfolio. With automation you may be able to do five times more than what you could previously do and add more value to clients. If companies position it that way, then staff will jump on board more with the process versus companies that may focus on purely using it to cut staff.

What do you think is the future of payroll in Singapore?

I think it will shift more and more to digitalisation. With branding through e-wallet loyalty schemes for instance where smaller companies can come together to form an all in one financial solution for the company as well as the employee. 

I also think moving forward, you don’t have to create all the solutions for clients within one company. Collaboration is key. For instance if you have a strong payroll offering, you could collaborate with a software with an efficient workplace training offering and easily push data across platforms because of the Open API. So I would say the future of payroll would see a lot more integration between companies, and formation of friendly competitors where we link up our businesses because we can leverage our strengths and work together. 

It would be interesting to see if we can deliver payroll in a way that the lifestyle of an employee is enhanced and incorporated more into their financial planning from day to day. At the moment, everyone is only being paid after their service is provided to the company. But instead of a once a month payment, what if staff could manage how much of their monthly salary they could access in advance should they require extra funds? Sort of like an advanced payment system where they advance their own pay if they require money and the balance can be computed in payroll. Of course the company may reserve certain rights as there is a risk that staff may overspend but it’s an interesting thought!

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