Technology v Expertise: who’s the winner?

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Technology and software developers have reinforced the message that by systemising certain functions they can be left to set and forget. This post is about the impact over-reliance on technology can have on payroll and more importantly how dangerous that can be. While not everyone has a business the size of Woolworths or Wesfarmers where payroll errors amounted to around $315 million dollars, it does highlight the danger of automating something as complex and broad as payroll. Most errors found were generally caused by incorrect system setups and decisions made by people who were untrained or unqualified in the complexities of payroll. These errors - if left unchecked - tend to snowball into a very serious problem like staff underpayments and the like which generally gets picked up when it's too late. There's a fallacy that systems and technology can replace functions previously performed by people. What we need to understand is that technology operates within a set of guidelines and rules and will continue to do so until instructed otherwise. Most software isn't designed to know when something is or is not right. This is where expertise is invaluable. Because that person has the knowledge to identify if something is or is not accurate and recommend a course of action to rectify issues that arise. Don't get me wrong, I'm an advocate for making things easier, but it is imperative to have the right people on the tools. There's a saying I've heard about technology that always resonates with me: to err is human, but for real chaos you need a computer. So if there's anything I'd like you to take away from this post, it's that I hope you remember how important and valuable you are. Do not let technology diminish you or your expertise. Yes, people can make mistakes, but we acknowledge them, learn from them and ultimately fix them. Can your software do that?