Limits to kiosk usage

PAYROLL specialists are encouraged by the increasing usage by business of payroll kiosk-type systems and the resultant easing of payroll officers’ face-to-face time with workers.

These kiosks allow workers to update their own personal details, such as contact numbers, addresses and even bank account numbers, and also check on things such as sick leave and annual leave owing by going directly to the company’s computer system and bypassing the payroll officer.

Managers can also use these systems to assist with staff planning, particularly regarding leave entitlements.

In theory the kiosks are supposed to free the payroll staff from constant interruptions over things such as sick leave entitlements and requests to change personal details.

However, some payroll sources report that, while the kiosks do reduce some of the more routine questions, staff members are now asking more involved questions about the system.

Advocates of the system say the key to introducing these systems is to do it slowly so workers have a chance to adjust to the new order.

The Association of Payroll Specialists executive director Ken Low said interruptions from workers were the bane of a payroll officer’s life.

“If you can put things like updating contact numbers onto the employees and make them responsible for it, it can make the payroll process much more efficient,” he said.

Mr Low said a lot of companies were starting to adopt the payroll kiosk systems, including Wesfarmers Landmark, St John Ambulance, Epic Energy and TiWest.

“They represent a good return on investment for a company, particularly those with workers in remote locations,” he said.

Payroll kiosk providers include Frontier Software and National Payroll Systems.

Frontier Software business development manager Dorinda Sullivan said the price could vary considerably for these kiosk-type systems. Prices are often based on a flat rate plus a fee-per-employee basis.

Ms Sullivan said to call the systems a kiosk was misleading because there were few true kiosks available.

“These systems tend to work best where workers have a computer on their desk and the company has an intranet,” she said.

“Also, a lot of workers tend to access these sort of systems from their home computers via the Internet.”

Ms Sullivan said the scope of information available on the systems was limited to what the company decided to make available.

“We’ve actually had some requests to close down access to certain information,” she said.

Mr Low said companies should limit the system to allow workers to update things such as contact details first until they fully understood how it worked.

“If somebody makes a mistake when they’re changing their bank details it can really mess up your payroll system,” he said.

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