Survey Results by Wise Consulting Associates

Payroll Operations Confidence Index Survey

Thank you to all who participated in our Payroll Operations Confidence Index survey. Wise Consulting developed the survey to help you understand how your Payroll Operations Confidence measures up against your peers.  Here is a summary of the final report.

Having confidence in your payroll operations is the result of:

•    the quality and utilization of the tools and HCM,

•    the commitment of the people, and

•    consistent process delivery.  

What is the confidence level of the payroll team?


  • 30% of the respondents indicated a risk of qualified backup for the current payroll team
  • 70% were somewhat to very confident in their backup capabilities if the payroll team was suddenly not available.
  • Companies with less than 1,000 employees are 2x more confident with their backup plan than larger companies. 
  • Interestingly, while 70% are confident in the backup capabilities of the payroll department. 
  • 35% of the respondents said they experienced problems or errors as a result of payroll staff turnover.  Perhaps the backup capabilities were enhanced because of the problem or error!

How are system maintenance and testing performed?

  • 43% of the respondents said they have a team for upgrades and maintenance.
  • 75% indicated that payroll processing documentation testing has occurred within the past year. 
  • That still leaves over 50% of respondents that are not even looking at, let alone taking advantage of, the system upgrades which are very likely included in their fees!

How much of the features and functionality of your HCM are you currently utilizing?

  • 44% felt they are “not really” leveraging the full functionality while 56% believe they are.  However, only 10% of those that believing they are think they are “thoroughly” taking advantage of the tools.
  • Regarding utilization of your HCM, 58% of the organizations that participated in the survey have had their HCM in place for 5+ years and half of those believing they are leveraging their system functionality fall into this category. 
  • Also, 75% of the organizations recognized using payroll data for strategic decision making, which therefore makes it very important to continually focus on the accuracy of payroll processing for both compliance and business decision making.

Would you keep your current Human Capital Management system?  

Results BAsed on all responses

  • 25% said “absolutely” and most of those were companies with less than 1,000 employees. 
  • 68% indicated that considering a change would be dependent on budget, time or capabilities of the system.  Interestingly, 2/3 of these respondents said that making a change to their current HCM is based on the features, capabilities and how it fit their business needs. 
  • 7% of the respondents said they would not keep their current HCM and do want to change it.
  • Of the 25% population that said “absolutely” to keeping their current HCM, the clear majority of them are taking advantage of most, and in some cases all, of the features provided. Reinforcing the value of utilizing features that are provided, 22% of the organizations with high utilization of features are opting to retain their current HCM solution. 
  • Coincidentally, for the 7% of the respondents that do want to change from their current HCM, they are “not really” utilizing very much of the functionality in their current HCM. 



We thank everyone who took the time to respond.  We hope this report assists you in determining how you may improve your payroll operations confidence level and in learning what steps others are taking toward that same goal: thoroughly tested documentation, a system they like and are fully using, and backup for critical payroll positions.

Payroll accuracy depends on regular training, procedure validation and process controls to identify potential errors early on.  It is also dependent upon a well maintained system to take advantage of fixes and improvements. 

The work associated with paying employees lie squarely with you, the employer.  Based upon survey results a well-educated and highly-trained payroll team paired with a highly useful and functional HR/Payroll system, is clearly the ticket.

Ready to elevate your payroll confidence or discuss improving your system utilization?  To discuss your unique situation with one of our payroll operations experts, please contact us directly at 800-654-4550, extension 3902 or through our Contact page on


Kind regards,

Jennifer Wise

President, Wise Consulting


Wise Consulting Associates is a leader in implementing and using technology to support Human Resources and Payroll Management. Since our founding, Wise Consulting has partnered with firms in all industries, offering specialized, diversified services for implementation, outsourcing, technology support, vendor selection, and strategic HR Support. • (800) 654-4550
Solving HR/Payroll Technology Challenges. Taking On Payroll Staffing & Complexity.




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