One of the most crucial aspects of any business is payroll.

And we know that business HR and finance teams may find it difficult. Payroll needs a lot of labor, time, and commitment to be successful each month. At the highest levels of numerous organizations, the transition from a paper-based manual payroll system to a cloud-based payroll system is still being discussed.

Currently, the manual payroll technique is inefficient and presents the greatest risk of human error. Payroll contains important information, making security a problem when outsourced to third-party service providers. Businesses today must keep on top of their game to gain an advantage over rivals in the competitive business world.

A consolidated payroll process enables businesses seeking excellence in their operations to do so. An effective payroll system eliminates payroll processing risks by enabling HR executives or administrators to manage payroll operations smoothly and error-free.

But, in an era where payroll software is accessible, secure, practical, and accurate, it is difficult to justify doing payroll by hand. Let’s discuss the drawbacks of employing a manual payroll system.

What is a Manual Payroll System?


A manual payroll system is a method of calculating and processing employee payroll using paper-based records and calculations. This system tracks employee attendance, calculating hours worked, calculating taxes and deductions, and issuing paychecks manually. It does not use automated software or electronic systems to record and manage payroll data. Small businesses typically use manual payroll systems with a limited number of employees who do not have complex payroll needs. However, they can be time-consuming, prone to errors, and may require significant effort to maintain accurate records.

Disadvantages of Manual Payroll System


Manual payroll system management can be very challenging. It becomes challenging to distribute payrolls to each of your employees when you operate for a large company with many employees. The term “manual payroll computation” describes the task of manually computing and processing payroll. When manual calculation is required, the payroll representative is responsible for totaling all salaries and deductions by hand. There are several disadvantages of using a manual payroll system, including:

 1. Human Error:

Businesses that manually process payroll must deal with the tremendous frustration that comes with these manual interventions. Repetitive tasks like documentation and frequent cross-checking under a manual payroll processing system overwork the HR and Finance departments. Human mistake is also likely to occur, resulting in late or inaccurate payments. Some employees’ convoluted wage structures necessitate gross-up computations to guarantee correctness. The inaccurate estimation of leaves presents another opportunity for human mistakes.

 2. Absent employees:

When employees leave the office, you could also run into another problem. Employees occasionally take sick or vacation days off, which makes the business more prone to mistakes. In addition, you will need to hire temporary employees that can start all work from scratch and comprehend the work when employees are gone. It takes time and is stressful.

 3. Security:

Protecting personal employee information in paper copies or on excel sheets is not at all secure. Workers have high expectations of their employers, and protecting sensitive employee data is essential to meeting those expectations. Payroll processing by hand increases the likelihood of information falling into the wrong hands. Such information leaks may wind up harming enterprises.

 4. Cost-consumption:

Hiring employees will require a significant financial investment to purchase computers and software. You may save money by outsourcing payroll and put that money towards expanding your company. If you opt for something different, you must set aside a sizable sum of money.

 5. HR productivity declines:

Payroll data must be manually entered, which is tedious. Employees in HR and finance are put under a lot of time pressure because of it. Although it’s a vital duty and unquestionably falls under the authority of HR teams and financial professionals, there are other duties to which these teams may devote time and effort to advance the company. However, burdening your employees with repetitive activities that, if not completed correctly, could put the company in danger can lower employee engagement and increase the likelihood that you’ll see higher turnover.

 6. Document problems:

In managing so many employees’ documentation, you can run into issues. Sometimes paperwork is lost, which can cause issues when it comes time to distribute money. Maintaining every piece of information organized becomes challenging while handling payrolls manually. Also, all the documents are typically saved at times, and issues arise when the documents are frequently lost. Consequently, manually distributing payrolls produces a great deal of chaos.

 7. Non-Compliance:

Important legislation developments necessitate particular care with manual payroll processing. You could be subject to harsh fines or other consequences if you don’t follow any of the statutory laws. Numerous legal requirements must be met for Indian payroll, including minimum wages, TDS deductions, ESI finds, PF deductions, gratuities, EDLI, and more. Each of these requires special consideration. That takes time, but it’s important to keep up with all the rules and regulations, and it’s typically the last thing on people’s to-do lists.

 8. Manual payroll is not accurate enough:

While managing Manual Payroll System, accuracy issues could arise. Because of the stress and burden of all the work, you can send the wrong money to the wrong people. If the issue is not fixed immediately, late paychecks may negatively affect employee morale and cause employee attrition.

 9. Time-consuming:

The main consideration is time. Payroll administration takes a lot of time when numerous employees are on the payroll. Many businesses outsource payroll processing, meaning the outsourced service providers will take on all your payroll-related duties. You can save time and have a simpler job due to outsourcing service providers.

 10. Attendance and Timing:

Payroll includes manually tracking and calculating each employee’s leave each month. This takes a lot of time and is prone to significant errors. Maintaining track of mountains of paperwork that includes manual time and attendance tracking for employees is inefficient and annoying. Due to calculating errors, employees may receive less or more than they are legally entitled to. This may be unjust and lead to lower levels of employee satisfaction.

 11. Employee Performance:

Employee data, including leave requests, reimbursement requests, requests for overtime pay, and the like, are often manually recorded or uploaded when using legacy payroll systems. A lot of management is needed when using Excel spreadsheets with extensive data. Complex computations can be upset by even the smallest modification in a formula, leading to inaccurate payouts. Employee productivity and morale can be negatively impacted when they are forced to spend valuable time performing repetitive, boring jobs.

 12. Additional employees must be hired:

To manually distribute payroll, the business will need to hire more personnel because no individual can complete the task if you have many employees working for you. As a result, you’ll need to spend far more money than you anticipated. That can potentially cause issues with your company’s finances.

 13. Slow Data Evaluation:

The data won’t be accessible instantly. This is because it requires more manual labor and more data transcription work. The availability of reports might not be immediate. Any analysis of the reports will demand focused attention and time. Yet, since it is up to individuals to carry them out, a larger range of studies is feasible.

 14. Anxiety & Burnout:

The key to manually calculating payroll is to double-check everything. HR managers experience stress and burnout due to worry about non-compliance and payroll accuracy. Also, they struggle to find time for other crucial business tasks.

All of these impact their general involvement and productivity over time.

 1. Absence of Remote Access:

Since you don’t have to calculate and process payroll, working from home is great. First and foremost, working remotely makes retrieving payroll and attendance data extremely challenging. Second, in a WFH paradigm, accuracy frequently takes a backseat.

Overall, manual payroll system calculation should be avoided when working remotely.

 2. Plenty of Resources Are Needed:

A single individual cannot handle every aspect of the payroll process because numerous procedures are involved.

As a result, hiring is frequently a consideration for businesses. A business can save time by hiring new resources but not money. It might be expensive for employers to hire numerous individuals for a single task.

 3. Limited reporting capabilities: 

Manual payroll systems do not provide advanced reporting capabilities, making it difficult to analyze data and track employee information over time. This can limit the ability of businesses to make informed decisions about their workforce.

 4. Inefficient: 

Manual payroll systems require significant manual effort, making the process inefficient and potentially costly for businesses. This can be especially true if a business has a high turnover rate or many employees.

 5. Difficult to maintain: 

Maintaining a manual payroll system can be challenging, especially as businesses grow and more employees are added. This can result in a lack of consistency in calculations and reporting.

 6. Misclassification:

Even small businesses may employ a combination of full- and part-time workers, temporary workers, and independent contractors. Misclassification can result in major issues for the company and the personnel, such as wrongly classifying an employee as a contractor. For instance, while contractors typically lack certain rights, employees may be eligible for company benefits and unemployment insurance. Ensure you are familiar with the guidelines because misclassification can result in severe penalties.


To avoid these disadvantages and other payroll problems, many organizations outsource their payroll processing to a payroll management company or by deploying automation software for their internal HR team. If you want to move your HR department in a more modern direction or if your company and workforce are expanding to the point where a manual process is no longer necessary, automating or outsourcing payroll operations may be a route.

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