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89% of Australian SMEs Back AI to Reduce Payroll Pain, Finds Employment Hero

Troubleshooting payroll errors, chasing clients for payroll data and dealing with complex legislation have all proved to be significant challenges for SMEs in Australia. However, AI and automation could provide the ‘silver bullet’ to ease these pains according to the employment platform, Employment Hero.

For 73 per cent of SMEs in Australia, it takes longer than 24 hours to complete a pay run, Employment Hero revealed following a survey of 535 SMEs in the region. It also found that for 95 per cent of respondents, payroll takes up to three days and for some it can take five days or longer.

In response to ongoing payroll pain, many SMEs are looking towards AI as a potential solution. Eighty-nine per cent would find it somewhat or significantly appealing to cut down payroll processing to minutes through the use of AI or automation.

Phil Bernie, GM of payroll at Employment Hero
Phil Bernie, GM of payroll at Employment Hero

Phil Bernie, GM of payroll at Employment Hero, discussed the issue: “It’s madness that in 2024 it takes days to complete pay runs for Australian businesses. With the software and automation available, running payroll should be a matter of hours. Using technology to free up this time allows accountants and bookkeepers to put their skills and experience to better use – something that our data showcases they’re keen to do.”

Overall, 81 per cent of respondents expect that the use of AI and automation will somewhat or significantly increase across their organisations over the next 12 months.

As AI and automation advance, 51 per cent of respondents see it as an opportunity to improve their data analysis skills and 45 per cent to enhance their payroll expertise – 41 per cent believe it could increase opportunities for professional development.

Automating employment management

Bernie added: “At Employment Hero, we envision a future where running payroll is largely automated leaving humans to apply their knowledge and skills to areas where they can provide most value. This includes offering support, advice and consultancy to their clients and customers.

“It’s heartening to see support for AI and automation among Australia’s business owners, bookkeepers and accountants. We know that a lot of fear and reticence are often felt in the face of increased automation. However, as we continue to see the benefits of AI and automation in our daily lives, I think we’re beginning to appreciate how it can also truly revolutionise how we manage employment.”

Employment Hero boasts a suite of cloud products that remain up-to-date with new payroll legislation, and integrate payroll with other functions seamlessly. It hopes these will reduce the double-handling of data, minimise the need to check different applications to ensure they’re ‘talking to one another’, and ensure businesses are complying with the latest rules and regulations.


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