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In the age of the gig economy, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence (AI), payroll systems are constantly evolving. The rise of non-salaried workers demands more flexible, real-time payroll processing, while the shift to a global workforce comes with its own unique challenges. As payroll becomes more integrated with human resources (HR) and other sectors, it faces an increased workload, leading to the risk of employee burnout. Furthermore, the shift to remote working and the use of new technology has revolutionised payroll processing, emphasising the need for adequate training to cope with the changes. These two challenges — burnout and lack of training — are putting payroll on the back foot, preventing businesses from realising their full potential.

1. Increased workload and burnout

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, workplaces have experienced a profound transformation, significantly impacting payroll professionals. According to the Australian Payroll Association (APA), a staggering 55.7% of payroll professionals have seen their workloads surge, resulting in longer work hours, with 48.4% clocking in an average of 41 to 50 hours per week. This accelerated pace not only hampers job satisfaction, it also poses a risk of burnout. In fact, an alarming two out of every five payroll professionals are suffering from the symptoms of burnout.

Payroll responsibilities are also gradually transitioning from finance teams to HR or people and culture departments. This shift, while necessary, exacerbates the workload for many staff members. The reason? A bulk of HR-centric technologies and tools implemented during this transition are not designed as comprehensive payroll systems, creating additional work for users.

While navigating these issues, many organisations are also facing the so-called ‘war for talent.’ As businesses strive to regain their footing in the emerging post-pandemic world, competition for securing top talent has intensified. Retaining staff requires more than just attractive salaries; it necessitates creating an environment that fosters professional growth and overall wellbeing, especially in the face of increased workloads and burnout risks.

2. Lack of training

Payroll managers frequently find themselves with limited opportunities for further learning and growth, often due to a lack of resources necessary for training. As a result, they might not have the tools they need to keep up with the latest rules and systems for managing pay. This can make it hard for them to do their job well.

According to APA’s 2023 Australian Payroll Survey, only 17.1% of payroll professionals have a nationally accredited payroll qualification at certificate or diploma level. The survey also revealed that these professionals had experienced an average of only 1.6 days of specialised payroll training or professional development in the previous 12 months.

Without access to continuous professional development, payroll managers may struggle to navigate complex tax regulations, labour laws, and changing employee types. This lack of knowledge and skills can lead to costly errors and inefficiencies in the payroll process. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of payroll management demands continuous learning to adapt to new requirements and leverage emerging technologies that can streamline and optimise the process.

Using technology to alleviate burnout and enhance payroll performance

Technology is changing the payroll landscape for the better, and it’s important for organisations to consider adopting tools that can help alleviate burnout while meeting complex payroll requirements. This means combining the expertise of an external service provider with your internal payroll team. By doing so, you can benefit from specialised resources that ensure accurate and compliant payroll processes while freeing up your team’s time to focus on strategic initiatives.

A supported payroll service gives you access to a team of professionals who can provide expert advice and support, helping you reduce workloads and burnout. This flexible option lets payroll managers drive their organisation’s payroll operations forward while having access to the level of involvement and assistance they need. Ultimately, it helps you ensure the long-term success and effectiveness of your payroll operation.

How Affinity Payroll can help

Affinity Payroll has more than 35 years of experience managing payroll operations for organisations with 200+ employees across Australia and New Zealand. Our team of accredited payroll experts understands the unique legislative challenges and requirements in both regions, providing sound advice and support to increase compliance for the businesses we partner with.

For more information on how Affinity Payroll can help your business, get in touch with us today at



For over thirty years, Affinity has been a trusted partner for mid-market and enterprise businesses in Australia and New Zealand, empowering them to transform their payroll operations. With a focus on turning payroll from a cost into an asset, we have established ourselves as industry leaders in delivering innovative cloud-based payroll software and exceptional payroll services.