how to automate payroll
how to automate payroll

Want to make payroll a breeze? Discover our guide on how to automate payroll with your favorite business management platform in this article.



Integrating payroll into your business management platform for time entries does have its challenges.  Other organizations may not even live in a platform that contains inventory, records time, and mainly relies on emails and time clocks. 

Businesses that invested in modern tech for managing your business’ daily operational activities are most likely using an ERP, EHR, POS, PSA, or KFC (JK on the last one) or some other business management platform for recording time entries of your resources employed at your organization. We created a general overview of how this payroll integration might be achieved and some of the steps involved.   


Identify Payroll System 

First, your business management platform needs to identify the payroll system or time tracking platform they currently use or plan to implement. This could be an in-house payroll system, a third-party time tracking platform provider, or a cloud-based payroll software solution.   Before we discuss how to automate payroll, you might also find your time tracking platform under one of the following categories: 


Mom and Pop Payroll Provider 

You will find these time tracking platforms anywhere in the USAThey do the obvious stuff: Cut checks to your employees, payroll filing of taxes, and hopefully provide amazing customer service to make up for their lack of tech. 

Why does payroll need “tech”? 

Adapt or die, right?   There are so many time tracking platforms in the cloud now that provide a whole suite of offerings or perhaps niche-like bookkeeping.  Perhaps, you are that old construction firm working with a good old boys’ network built on relationships formed from a bygone era that still exists but may be not hip enough for the times. 

This exclusive club may not have the need or inertia to move their organization in the 21st century until revenues start to slow and competition heats up.  


A Few Options for Time Tracking Platforms 

Do either of the examples above sound like the payroll provider you’re working with? Are you struggling to keep up with new demands but not sure how to automate payroll to get the upgrade you need?  

If you’re looking for a little guidance on other time tracking platforms that could be the upgrade you need, here’s a list of ideal platforms we like to integrate payroll services with: 

Gusto Payroll  

At a glance, what makes this platform different from other time tracking platforms is its modern interface.  It is hands down way more intuitive to use than its old stodgy competitors.   Gusto came onto the scene more recently as a platform to compete with the big boys in tech. It makes it a pretty easy decision to migrate away with the mom and pops payroll companies in your region with zero tech. 

 With this platform, you can manage basic payroll as well as employee benefits, payroll for contractors, and more. Plus, they can integrate with plenty of other time tracking platforms. 

However, the big things to note with Gusto is that it just doesn’t scale well as businesses grow in size, and that there are many limitations to their lower tier plans, i.e., time tracking.  This is not a concern for most businesses under 50 employees and does not have major compliance concerns. 


SurePayroll is another affordable option for those looking to save on investments in time tracking platforms.  It’s under the Paychex umbrella, the # 2 payroll company in the US.  It is obvious attempt to go over the Gusto small business market, but the UI comes nowhere close to being as intuitive or modern looking as Gusto.   

What is also important to note about SurePayroll is that you’ll have to pay more for their full tax filing services. With that said, their customer support is the best in the business. 


The two heavyweights are Paychex and ADPTheir main focus is Fortune 500Many businesses stick with them because the relationship can be so sticky that it’s hard to migrate away. A clean migration away from Paychex or any platform is the first of the year. 
Do yourself a favor and look at other payroll services besides Paychex. Even though they claim to offer automated payroll services at an affordable price, there have been many complaints about money being taken from clients without delivering the services promised.  

ADP Payroll 

ADP Payroll’s claim to fame amongst other payroll services is their customization. The platform aims to make everything payroll-related that happens in a business transparent and easy to manage for whoever is in charge of payroll. Their report builders make analytics and report building quick and simple.  Getting quality customer service can be challenging at times, but their Fortune 500 features in the areas of API integrations and compliance are tough to match if you want to integrate payroll services. 

Thinking about switching over to ADP Payroll? Already use it but want to know how to make it even better for your business? Check out our other articles on ADP Payroll: 


Check: Do the platforms have integration capability? 

Now that you’ve identified your payroll service, you’ll want to make sure whether it’s even possible to integrate payroll services. Since integrations are more common than before, there are a lot of platforms that offer integration capability. However, you’ll still want to do your due diligence and check to see that the payroll system you’ve chosen/are using can be integrated with the business management platform you’re using. If not, you may want to reconsider switching to a different payroll platform that will be able to do the sync. 


Setting Up the Integration

So, you’ve figured out that integration is possible between your two platforms – what next? Three things will need to take place: First, the settings will need to be adjusted between the two platforms. Second, a secure connection will have to be established in order for the platforms to exchange data. Third, data mapping setup will be required to integrate payroll services properly. 


Data Element Mapping 

Having an integration is all about having access to accurate data that is synced in real time. In order to establish accurate data transfer of all information when you integrate payroll services (such as hourly wages/pay rates, records, benefits, etc.), you will need to map your chosen payroll platform and Wellsky’s data elements.   


Perform Detailed Integration Tests of the Automated Payroll Integration

You wouldn’t put a new model of car out on the freeway before it’s been tested, right? Before calling the payroll integration a success, developers will have to put the integration through testing. In these tests, they want to make sure that the data transfers accurately and correct any errors that may show up.   


User Training for the New Integration 

After all of the steps above have been completed, training should be given to any employees who will be involved with the newly integrated platforms. Ideally, users will be able to perform all their normal payroll and timekeeping tasks and also know how to solve basic issues on their own.  


How to Manage Your Integration for Automated Payroll 

It should go without saying that it’s important for businesses to expect to be working with their chosen API developers (if it’s a non-native integration) and all other organizations involved (i.e., software companies) to make sure that everything is working smoothly and all needs for the integration are met.  

 Once it’s up and running, the automated payroll system will help your business achieve greater efficiency in whatever your process for bookkeeping and payroll is. Aside from that, it’ll also safeguard you against human errors typically made in these departments.  

To continue reaping these benefits of having automated payroll, make sure that you keep an eye on how your platforms are communicating with each other especially when there’s been an update to either platform. If you experience any issues, reach out to your developers so that they can make any necessary tweaks or reconfigurations. 


Additional Automated Payroll Integration Resources

What does your typical timecard interface look like? 

As discussed above, you have plenty of options when you really look at how to automate payroll services.  However, it must have either a native API integration or, at the very least, an open API for developers to integrate between your payroll service platform and your business management platform. 

Below is an example from ADP Workforce as to what individual timecards look like within the ADP platform.   Ideally, those hours are populated from your business management platform.  You then must decide where to keep the master record.  Is the time tracking platform you integrate payroll services with or is it your Business Management Platform? 

ADP Workforce now specifically gives you the ability to choose exactly who handles timekeeping and how time is approved and edited. Whether it’s the managers of the employees that will be responsible for approving and reviewing those timecards, or if you have time and attendance supervisors, those individuals can have access. Additionally, timecards can be approved from wherever you’re accessing the ADP Workforce Now portal, including from a mobile device. 



How to Automate Payroll Services with Time & Attendance? The Nuts and Bolts 

Time entries have automatic provisions set in place for potential human error. See the following examples below of common mistakes that occur and how they can be solved with payroll integration. 

  • Employee forgets to clock out 

  • The automated payroll services integration can feature a clock overrun notification rule that can either 

  •  Provide the ability to correct it 

  • Automate clock out on their behalf.  Though, this is not ideal with reports not matching up. 

  • Time entry adjustments 

  • Select the name to pull up their timecard.  See the third column of the illustration below. 

Integrating your payroll services are flexible regardless of what processes you have in place or business management platform you are using.  They simply need a robust API like ADP Workforce Now.   

The discovery meeting is when you layout all your concerns and challenges.  After that, a three-milestone guide to successful deployment will be created for you to demonstrate how to automate payroll services with your organization.  Then, the API for integrating your payroll services will allow for any real-time updates or changes to your employee timecard time if that time is not up to date. 



Which platform is the primary source of information? 

Once you integrate payroll services with your business management platform, either system can be chosen as the primary source and then an alternative system can be created. No matter what schedule your business is running on, the automated payroll integration can be customized to whatever schedule you’re using. 


How to Automate Payroll – What Payroll Automation Looks Like in Action 

Timecards will be auto populated or synced from time tracking platforms to the payroll services you are integrating such as ADP Workforce Now, where the management team can adjust time if necessary.   It will come up in the to-do list for the supervisor if time by the employee is missed. These can be done either on the business management platform or whatever platform you integrate payroll services with. 

In summary, employees punch in their time on the business management platform then it magically pops up in the platform you integrate payroll services with.  In this case, ADP’s time and attendance is the example timecard platform for ultimately approving and running payroll.  ADP’s ruleset will be applied as time and OT populates. 



Payroll Worksheets for Hourly Employees 

Hourly employees’ time will appear in payroll worksheets once you roll out the automated payroll integration with your API development.   NOTE: Exempt staff do NOT keep time in your business management platform because of the dynamic of their relationship. 



How to Automate Payroll Services:  Why Your Business Needs Modern Tech to Compete Summary 

Once you’ve learned how to automate payroll services with your business management platform, there’s simply no looking back. Automated payroll serves as a guard against human error and the resources it can cost a business to fix those mistakes. To ensure a successful payroll automation, you should expect to work hand-in-hand with your developer and all parties involved so that you can lay out your wants and concerns and create a plan for automated payroll 

Curious about what our integration developers can do for you? Reach out to us today! 

Leave A Comment