Payroll Runs: Will We Be Talking to Software in the Future?

One of the selling points of online payroll is technology. As Dallas-based BenefitMall explains, online payroll takes software environments out of the local office and puts them in the cloud for greater efficiency and better management. So it stands to reason that future technologies will make online payroll even better. Could it be that the future will have us talking to software to initiate payroll runs?

The idea of talking to computers has fueled our collective imagination for decades. Who hasn’t dreamed of being able to interact with all sorts of computerized devices simply by talking to them? Well, that is exactly what was presented at the HR Tech Conference in Las Vegas last month.

Human Resource Executive Online reports that the October conference was especially heavy on voice recognition technologies that attendees believe will transform everything from payroll to home computing within the next couple of years. If conference presenters are right, payroll staff could be processing payroll in entirely new ways in less than a decade.

Interaction Replaces UI

One of the speakers at the conference specifically talked about user interfaces being replaced by user verbal interaction. Right now, companies that design payroll software are still dependent on the old paradigm of clicking through menus, entering data into boxes, and so forth. It is the user interface (UI) paradigm the world has been using since Microsoft introduced the first commercially available GUI.

Experts in the field of voice recognition say the days of the GUI are numbered. They say we are moving ever closer to the day when mouse clicks, menus, and keyboard inputs are a thing of the past. Even now, software developers are working on technologies that will allow humans to interact with computers in the same way they interact with other humans: by speaking.

They see a day when HR staff will be talking to software packages as though they were having conversations with other staff members. Just by speaking they will be able to navigate through payroll software to enter time tracking data, change employee information, and instigate direct deposits.

It’s All about AI

Incorporating voice recognition into payroll processing may not seem like a big deal in a culture that already interacts automated phone systems and smartphone personal assistants like Siri. However, there is a lot more to running complex software packages than navigating through a basic phone menu.

Voice recognition systems utilized by phone systems and personal assistants work fairly well because only a limited number of voice commands have to be accounted for. Once you get into something as complex as payroll processing, the number of commands increases exponentially. In addition, the different kinds of information required for payroll processing, and the volume of that information, makes voice recognition much harder to achieve.

As it turns out, the solution to many of the challenges of voice recognition is artificial intelligence (AI). It is AI that will make it possible for voice recognition software to correctly interpret and apply what it hears from human workers. Artificial intelligence is that which will make it possible to receive data from HR personnel and transform that data into usable information for payroll purposes.

AI will also further automate payroll processing in the future. Software packages will be able to anticipate what’s coming and automatically initiate tasks to ensure maximum efficiency and accuracy.

Technology has already transformed payroll from an in-house process to a cloud-based enterprise. If the experts are right, voice recognition and AI are going to take payroll processing to the next level within just a few years.

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