SME Clinic

Q My events company has 19 full-time staff and about 85 part-timers. My human resource employees process the payroll for permanent staff by manually submitting instructions at a bank branch, while part-timers are paid with cheques. They say it takes up to three hours before bank staff can attend to them during peak hours.

Writing cheques is time-consuming and incurs bank processing costs.

How can I make payroll processing more efficient?

A Businesses that perform their payroll process in-house and manually typically require a great deal of paperwork and this can create an administrative burden for HR staff.

Inaccuracy in data entry, for example, results in a delay in salary payment. This can be resolved by using robust payroll software, allowing you to lower administrative costs, enhance overall efficiency, save time and have a greater degree of financial detail.

Features of such software include computation of staff payroll based on different working hours, staff allowance, overtime, levies, Central Provident Fund contributions, IR8A/IR8S submissions as well as printing of itemised payslips.

Typically, payroll software can be integrated with your bank's online banking platform.

In other words, you would be able to upload the payroll file directly from the software, which is then submitted to your bank for processing. This will reduce turnaround time and costs as the instruction can be submitted to the bank online at any time.

Your employees will receive timely advice, generated and sent by e-mail, once the instruction is processed successfully.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that might not have the scale for a dedicated HR officer to deploy and manage such a system could outsource their entire payroll function.

Spring Singapore has appointed a common pool of HR service providers to offer SMEs shared access to HR systems and services, including advisory services. This allows companies to outsource some of their HR operational activities and use technology to enhance their systems and processes.

•This answer was provided by Mr Ian Teo, who is business banking head at Standard Chartered Bank (Singapore)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 12, 2017, with the headline 'SME Clinic'. Print Edition | Subscribe