Organizations that fail to implement HR technology continue to experience avoidable losses in time and efficiency. But what does the lack of self-service software cost an organization?

Every piece of technology used by an organization as part of its operations is an investment. However, simply knowing there is a return on that investment is not enough. The ROI must be understood clearly, in terms of real numbers. It must be measurable.

The technology associated with HR functions is no exception. This leads us to an examination of the trend toward complete digitization being led by the most forward-thinking HR and payroll software providers. One of the more salient features of this trend is a movement toward self-service software, the goal of which is to empower employees to complete their own HR-related tasks.

For HR professionals, the savings in time – and, by extension, efficiency – are well established. According to a 2016 nationwide study by, self-service tech saves HR teams an average of seven hours every week, freeing them to turn more of their attention toward areas of greater importance to their organizations.

The obverse is equally true, in that organizations that fail to implement such technology continue to experience avoidable losses in time and efficiency.

But there’s still a missing piece of the puzzle, something accounting professionals understand perhaps better than anyone else: What does the lack of self-service software cost an organization?

In other words, when an HR department remains stuck in outdated ways of doing its job, it operates with a heavy reliance on manual processes. Intuitively, business owners and C-suite executives know this costs them something – but how much, exactly?

They may look to their accounting teams for answers. Accounting, in turn, may experience an initial puzzlement. After all, the idea of employees making greater use of technology may seem to be an unmeasurable abstraction.

Fortunately, this no longer has to be the case. Thanks to research by EY, we can now attach a specific dollar amount to manual HR processes – that is, the average cost of a single entry of data, which includes not only labor, but also incidentals like printing, copying and posting.

When the research was initially released in November 2018, that number was $4.39.

In December 2019, the same figure was adjusted upward – to $4.51.

Keep in mind this dollar figure represents an average. For some particularly vital HR tasks, costs will run even higher. For example, every instance of completing a Form I-9 (required for each new hire) incurs a cost of $8.54, according to the same study.

For organizations incurring these costs, the groundbreaking EY results matter for a couple of reasons. First, their leaders, HR teams and accounting professionals are now able to know what’s being lost in terms of not only time, but also money: $4.51 becomes an amount to be reduced, if not avoided altogether.

Second, the 12-cent increase in 13 months’ time, seemingly insignificant when viewed as a single number, is monumental when you remember the total represents the average cost per data entry. Not only do those costs add up, but the economic reality of inflation suggests an even higher expenditure of capital in the very foreseeable future.

This brings us back to the cost-saving importance of digital technology. As an example, consider a relatively recent addition to Paycom’s single software of digital tools: Direct Data Exchange™.

Utilizing the numbers from the EY research, Direct Data Exchange automatically monitors employee completion of HR tasks and generates analytics that provide dollar values and costs associated with each task performed, all of which can be easily viewed on a comprehensive dashboard. Direct Data Exchange not only provides a reliably accurate picture of employees’ usage of their organizations’ technology; it also enables HR and accounting to identify wasteful tasks that negatively impact the bottom line.

For organizations that implement this revolutionary technology, the result has been steady, mutually reinforcing improvements in operational efficiency and ROI – improvements that can be constantly and accurately gauged, dollar by dollar, cent by cent, placing the value of each actionable task of HR tech into an easily understandable perspective.

This article originally appeared at