Penney will be speaking at the conference, held on June 5 and 6, at The Chelsea Harbour Hotel, London.
Reward Strategy (RS): What do you think has been the most visible change to the payroll and HR industry in the last year?
Karen Penney (KP): “In the UK the dominant topic in the past year has of course been Brexit, its impact on the European workforce in the UK, as well as regulation and international payroll.
“In addition to Brexit; PSD2 and GDPR have both raised challenges and potential changes required. Data quality and integration are big preoccupations, especially with the increasing use of cloud technology. The more automated payroll becomes, the bigger the challenge to ensure data quality.”
(RS): What do you think are and will be the biggest trials facing payroll and reward professionals?
(KP): “Particularly, in the current economic climate with Brexit in the UK, worries about the Eurozone economy and global trade tensions are key. Technology has been a massive enabler to the sector but at the same time it has presented new challenges, particularly around data security and privacy. This means that payroll departments have to ramp up their digital skillsets, but also their compliance processes and resources. The reporting burden is also likely to increase.
“Growing complexities around local legislation and compliance are always ongoing challenges. Despite the size of the industry, and continued growth, there are surprisingly few comprehensive global payroll management solutions.”
(RS): What is going to be the biggest area of investment for your payroll function in the next 12 months?
(KP): “Digital transformation is certainly high on our customers’ agenda and will continue to be an area of investment. As a provider of financial technology, we work closely with clients to make sure that our technology delivers for their employees.
“Compliance is another area that will continue to be particularly important, and as a payments provider we apply the most appropriate levels of diligence around our platforms to maintain resilience and data security."
(RS): Without giving too much away, what two things will delegates learn from your session?
(KP): “Given the current economic environment and the regulatory changes that are certain to impact the payroll function, we will talk about the importance of holistic payroll policies. The payroll function is core to any organisation, therefore it’s crucial that it attracts and retains the best talent as this is essential for a business’ reputation.
“We’ll also be discussing the nuances of how payroll functions and impacts across international borders and the impact of word of mouth on your payroll function.”
(RS): Which categories do you think we will see at the Awards of the future – say in five years?
(KP): “In terms of new categories, it would be great to see an Innovation Award to support creative thinking as the industry evolves. A Compliance Award would also be wonderful, given the increase in regulatory requirements.”
(RS): What piece of payroll software that you currently use is most crucial for your function?
(KP): “Western Union’s global reach, 130 currencies and 200 countries, makes us a global leader in cross currency cross border payments. Our tech platforms support our customers 24x7 and we constantly improve them to continue to deliver innovation and simplicity. That is the most crucial aspect of our work and that of our payroll clients.”