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DATA MANAGEMENT: HOW TO KEEP YOUR PAYROLL INFORMATION HUSH-HUSH

Shubham Joshi is an experienced content marketer at FactoHR

Why, at the time of recruitment, candidates are told not to share their payroll and other confidential information with anyone? While considering confidentiality at first, many companies also get an NDA – Non-Disclosure Agreement signed from the candidates. This reflects the importance of the security of employees’ payroll information.

And employees’ are not the only responsible individuals for their salary information, but the organization itself possesses the authority to process their salaries and thus maintain the data. But these people already have enough functions to look for on their plate, apart from patrolling the salary information.

But have you (as an organization/employer) stressed the loss of any information. We have seen the increased usage of technology in almost every sector, which includes hacking also. There are specific measures, including the ethical use of technology to protect the data, as the responsibility of the organization.

 

Why Is Payroll Secrecy Essential For An Organization?

Just before I said, that organization and employee signed an agreement describing the matter of payroll secrecy and the outcome of breaching it. But have you ever wondered why people give too much importance to this? Let’s understand this term to an extent.

Let’s take this example. After completion of the monthly payroll process, you have kept tight security for this data. But everyone knows the effect of unethical hacking, which sometimes cannot even be tracked. Using a similar way, your competitor breaches your information and analyzes it. It is just a matter of days where they can call your employee asking to join their organization by giving a high raise. You never know, but you can lose your employee.

Now, assume you have two employees with similar degrees and working in the same department. But due to differences in their experience level, both are given different posts with different salary structures. Now, this is an obvious thing every employer would follow.

Some fine day these two find out the differences between their payments, which is when the crisis is born. You still trust your employees to understand the difference, but what if they are not aware of the employment rules or they are just freshers. This risk is even more significant if employees came to know about each other’s tax implications and benefits received by the government schemes. Thus to reduce such impact of jealousy, contracts have been signed up, and employers keep salary secret.

Scared! Relax cause I have listed here down the various security measures which you can apply.

 

How To Keep Your Payroll Confidential?

After gaining the importance of keeping payroll data confidential, here are the ways to protect it using technology, in no particular order.

Utilize The Technology

Technology, as said, is now penetrated into every sector where a human works. Why not to use it when it can provide data security along with methods to run the administrative tasks rapidly.

SaaS solutions offer organizations to cover their operational tasks, including salary payment, technically and using a cloud-based platform. These solutions also offer the organization with high encryption for the storage of data.

When an employer is using cloud platforms to run and store their information, it gives personally accessible login credentials to authorized users only who can change and manage the data. Other users cannot even access such data, thus implementing role-wise rights distribution.

Distribute Task Duties

One subtle way of securing the payroll is by distributing the tasks needed to be accomplished during the functions to various authorities. The benefit is that if your operations are distributed, the different set of information would be with different persons, and it will be hard for fraudsters to breach into each of the files where the data is stored.

 

Update Your Passwords Often

Using technology that offers data access according to the user, asks for a particular ID and password. Users can set up these passwords according to their needs and willingness. But over time, if the password is not changed, it is easy for the hackers to analyze it.

As the vulnerability of passwords lies in being linked to personal data like birthdate or some special number or something else, it is easy to be cracked. And when the data includes some crucial information like payment, which we are discussing, this step becomes utmost essential. It is thus advisable to change/update these passwords often. Or what you can do is to rotate these passwords within the salary processing team. Ensure not to share your passwords with anyone.

 

Lock Hardware Stored Files

For many organizations, it would still be impossible to make up the mind to invest in the online software. What these organizations use is still the traditional method of calculating and updating in the spreadsheets.

In such cases, it is preferable to lock the files to save the sheets from unauthorized access. Better to apply it to every file, including tax information, monthly salary updates, and employee’ benefits calculation. At last, don’t forget to take the backup of these files because offline storage can give trembles as it can be lost in regular system formatting.

 

Last But Probably Not The Least

We came across all these methods, but still, you can have some more effective ways. It might not be the major ones, but these can assist you in little ways.

  • Log-off the system after every usage.
  • Create strong passwords and probably not related to anyone, which the hacker may not think.
  • Check your storage securities often.
  • Set up remote access for authorities processing salary.

 

At The End Of The Day…

We understood that any organization’s wage structure and benefits administration is essential to be secured whatever methods of processing you use. Now that we know its importance and we discussed the measures to protect the data, no one can stop you from being confidential. Just understand which method to apply when in your payment system, and you can crush any threats or breaches that might come in your path.

 

Business

THE EFFECTS OF JOB HOPPING ON YOUR RETIREMENT OUTCOME

By Neli Mbara, Certified Financial Planner at Alexander Forbes

 

Job hopping – defined as spending less than two years in one position –  is a very controversial subject. It can be an easy path to a higher salary but can also be a red flag to prospective employers, not to mention your future financial goals if you are cashing in your retirement fund every time you make a move.

When changing jobs, whether it be once a year or once every decade, one has to make decisions regarding career growth and retirement plans which affect one’s long term financial plans. One of these decisions is ‘what to do with my retirement fund?’

Neli Mbara

For many people, the first thing that comes to mind is using their pension money to pay off their debt. Alexander Forbes Member Watch statistics show that 91% of members do not preserve their retirement savings when changing jobs. As we are living in times where most household income is used to finance debt, most people use job hopping to gain access to their retirement funds, and use this money to pay off debt. However, a quick fix and instant gratification comes at a price, which in this case could be a delay in your retirement plan.

Your retirement savings are simply for that, your retirement, to pay you an income once you stop working.

 

Early access of your retirement fund can result in:

  • Not having enough money at retirement – this is simply because most of us are already not saving enough for retirement
  • Robbing yourself off the compound interest you could have potentially earned from the investment.
  • Never making make up for the lost benefit
  • Creating a bad habit that will delay you from achieving your retirement plan and desired income at retirement

It is easy to cash in your money from a retirement fund at resignation but it is much harder to make up for the lost benefit (capital cashed in plus interest). Calculations show that for you to make up the lost benefit depending on your retirement age and investment time horizon, you will likely need to invest more than double your contributions towards a retirement fund.

Since only 6% of the South African population are reported to have accumulated enough to retire comfortably, without having to sacrifice their standard of living, you will most likely have to invest much more towards your retirement fund to make up for the lost savings.

Therefore, leaving your retirement fund invested and preserved in a preservation fund is the recommended option when changing jobs, as this keeps you committed to your retirement plan.

Changing jobs is a life-changing event, and it is therefore important that you seek advice from a professional financial adviser who will guide you in your retirement planning ensuring that your retirement needs are taken care of, by providing solutions that help you to ensure your financial wellbeing.

 

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Business

DISRUPT TO SURVIVE IN FINANCIAL SERVICES, BUT BEWARE: YOUR TEAM MUST BE IN SHAPE FIRST

Michael Chalmers, MD EMEA at Contino

 

COVID is forcing extraordinary change in the financial services industry. It’s happening fast, already uprooting insurance, transforming payments and changing the way we interact with our customers across the industry.

But for the 4000 UK financial services providers who are at critical risk due to COVID-19, these tales of success should come with a warning. Disruption in the industry certainly won’t come overnight.

Only the most interconnected web of people, technology and culture can produce effective disruption at this critical time. Discover below the key trends we’re seeing in financial services, and how to upskill, empower and equip teams in order to create the organisational impetus for this transformation and disruption, in an industry known for its monolithic ways of working.

 

Top Technology Trends in Financial Services for 2021

As we enter another year of uncertainty, financial services organisations–and their customers–are looking for technology solutions that promise above all, flexibility.

Partnerships between retailers and payments companies that can deliver greater flexibility for consumers as well as increased reliability for retailers will boom in 2021. Even before the pandemic, we saw the flourishing of partnerships between retailers and Klarna, the ‘buy-now-pay-later’ online payment processing firm. With the impact of the downturn likely to continue well into 2021, add-on services that offer more options to support merchant resilience will be essential.

Many companies have embraced ‘fluid’ payment ecosystems capable of handling multiple digital payment solutions but only those capable of capturing data insights to drive their product innovation and sales strategies will reap the full benefits. Real-time user profiles, fraud anomaly detection and personalisation, are all enabling marginal gains for payment providers that will differentiate them from competitors in 2021.

 

But don’t run before you can walk

Before businesses can jump on new technology trends however, it’s critical to ensure they have an innovative culture in place. This will form the foundation for effective disruption. Here are my four tips for building a solid foundation.

1)    Focus on data, with the customer at the centre

Customer experience is the central element to all disruption in the financial services today. Respond in real-time to customer queries. Better still, anticipate the customers’ next need before they’re even aware of it. All of this is made possible through a connected view of data.

Businesses should continue to embrace technologies such as AI and ML to harness customer insights and respond to customer needs–whether that’s approving a loan or recommend a new offer.

From answering customer queries and personalising banking experiences to revenue accounting and trade settlement dashboards, advanced data capabilities will continue to be critical.

 

2)    Be realistic about what your team can achieve–and up-skill if need be

In my own work, I’ve seen that digital transformation is most effective when it factors in the abilities of the existing team–but that doesn’t mean leaving them on their own.

First, collaboration is key. IT and data teams must form internal partnerships in order to get plugged into the business side of things. Critically, they must be present in the boardroom. For many years, those with technical skills have been left out of planning meetings. But their knowledge is absolutely critical, especially when it comes to choosing the right tech stack to enable innovation.

If it becomes apparent that the team is lacking in the necessary tech capabilities, outsourcing is extremely valuable. But beware: it is essential to focus on building up internal capability in order to create long-lasting change–and scrimping on the upskilling for cost reasons will only result in greater expense. Bring in fully trained teams to both implement tech and upskill to foster stronger teams internally.

 

3)    Enable innovation in a worry-free environment

In order to remain competitive in the modern marketplace, and to ensure long-term survivability, financial services organisations must transform their business models to focus on digital innovation and customer expectations.

It’s no secret that the cloud enables organisations to innovate at speed and scale. However, before teams can get stuck in, it’s crucial to ensure they have safe cloud environments in which to explore and innovate.

Developers must be given the freedom to evaluate new technologies and to make any necessary changes to enable rapid creation of business value. Having this flexibility and foresight when implementing and rolling out your public cloud solutions means that ideas can truly come from anywhere in the organisation.

 

4)    Don’t just get the cloud, get the cloud right

The adoption of cloud is now widespread, but those who can optimise it will be reaping the rewards in speed, efficiency and, ultimately, customer satisfaction. Cloud shouldn’t just be a platform to build in–it should help to inform decisions and facilitate new ways of working, ultimately producing something greater than the sum of its parts. Building out cloud-native engineering, culture and operating models will future proof the capability of financial services organisations.

Finally, cloud capabilities should be rolled out right across the organisation. Contino research shows that, while 77% of organisations have adopted the public cloud, only a tiny proportion have actually scaled this out across the organisation. To do so means you’re able to share data across every department, to every person, creating a data-driven culture which will hugely benefit all decision-making going forward.

 

Prepare the ground and seeds will grow

Disruption is achievable for every financial service organisation in the UK market today – yes, even legacy brands. But the saving grace for those that are struggling at the moment needn’t be the debut of an exciting new product or pipping a competitor to the post with a partnership. It will be the construction of a collaborative and creative culture from which innovative ideas can grow – without being choked by unavailable data, the fear of upsetting day-to-day operations, or restrictive team structures. Innovation is what will pick today’s struggling financial services providers up and get them out of danger.

 

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