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Modern payroll systems have come a long way from the historical payroll records that have been discovered and, like all digitized functions, they will keep evolving as time goes on. To better predict how payroll systems are likely to change in the future, it’s helpful to have a good understanding of where they’ve come from.
This guide covers the history of the payroll system, which offers an overview of everything that’s been involved in this important process so far.
Also discovered was that in the fifth century, the ancient Greeks of Athens used a payroll system to keep their business books in order. Evidence suggests that clerks or treasurers kept financial records, including pay details, by chiselling the information into stone.
The earliest recorded payroll systems used bartered items or assets rather than monetary pay; these could have been grain, salt, other foodstuffs, or clothes and land. It wasn’t until later that, to denote money, they used paper notes and coins.
Since these ancient times, the next known considerable change to payroll systems in the UK came with the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century and specifically the introduction of income tax in 1799. The then Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, announced that all incomes over £60 per year would be taxed between 1% and 10%, with those earning over £200 per year being taxed 10%.
The introduction of income tax meant that employers and employees needed more comprehensive and reliable documentation to keep track of payroll because the Industrial Revolution resulted in mass production and consequent mass employment. This meant that all stakeholders relied on the financial documentation that came with payroll systems.
Also, during this time, banks were becoming increasingly more accessible to the masses, meaning people could save, spend, and record what happened to their money more easily than before. As both businesses and individuals demanded accurate financial data records, this went hand in hand with developing payroll systems.
During the 20th century, payroll legislation in the UK changed frequently. All employers then faced growing demand to document all outgoings, including pay. Accurate and reliable payroll systems became necessities rather than luxuries.
Until the 1950s, payroll systems were reliant on pen and paper. However, this year, the first computerised system – Lyons Electronic Office (LEO) – was introduced to provide businesses with assistance for clerical tasks (including payroll).
Over time, as with all digital services, payroll systems have seen many developments. Today, companies can choose from a multitude of software.
The Staffology origin story reveals that our innovative thinking kept us one step ahead over the years. Starting in 2004, founder Duane Jackson wanted to find user-friendly accounting software for his business. After an unsuccessful search, Duane identified a gap in the market and created KashFlow – the UK’s first SaaS accounting application.
When cloud-based software started to gain traction, other companies soon began marketing competing software. But since then, Duane has used his expertise in SaaS and web development to create a new piece of software; Staffology.
Staffology is a web-based payroll software that boasts a comprehensive API, meaning you can use it seamlessly with other accounting software, including Sage and Xero.
In the future, having evolved from stone tablets to cloud-based software over thousands of years, payroll systems are likely to develop even further.
The most modern payroll software, like Staffology, allows for automated payroll processing. This means there is no need for reams of data to be manually input each time you need to pay staff. That’s not to say that company payroll teams will become obsolete, but they will have a new focus on the business, its employees, and overall goals. Payroll teams won’t be any less busy, but they will be more productive. As well as saving time, automated payroll processing also means fewer errors, and the overall process is more accurate than ever before.
Looking to the future, as new technology is built, processes could become even smarter. Whether this is with more helpful integrations or with the incorporation of AI technology, we are eager to wait and see what’s in store.
Would your company benefit from the latest in payroll system software? Don’t let your payroll become outdated – bring your systems up to speed with Staffology’s modern payroll solution. Talk to our team today to find out how the design of Staffology will help your business.Duane Jackson, May 18th, 2022