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September 24, 2023

EY’s New Payroll Chatbot Just Has to Be Slightly Less Sucky Than HR to Be a Success

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No doubt proud of its partnership with a massive professional services organization that is mostly prestigious unless some scandal or embarrassing internal falling out is afoot, Microsoft has written a long and complementary blog post about EY’s new toy the ‘EY Intelligent Payroll Chatbot‘. Speaking of EY and payroll, the great “just kidding!” payroll snafu in which everyone’s paychecks were reversed without warning was almost a whole year ago, can you believe that?

When this fancy new bot was introduced in March, EY said the technology was built “to understand the anatomy of an individual’s pay slip and to link regulatory compliance elements with company policies.” The Microsoft post gives some specific examples:

An employee in Hungary asked if having twins would impact his parental leave. A worker in Spain wondered whether the bonus of $20,000 euros she received would be taxed. Another employee asked what requirements he would have to abide by if he went to work in a United Arab Emirates country as a foreign national.

The bot, leveraging Microsoft Cloud and ChatGPT in Azure OpenAI Service, uses a large language model that analyzes information from pay slips, tax regulations and employer policies and then bypasses the step of a human Googling these to find answers to obscure and/or hyper specific payroll questions. Said Microsoft, when EY began developing a proof of concept for the chatbot they uploaded data from a range of sources into the bot and asked its payroll consultants in various countries to share questions employees had recently asked, then used that information to train the model.

The hope is that the bot will give people answers to their pay questions which in turn creates warm and fuzzies in employees. EY teams “anticipate that the technology will be able to answer more than 80% of payroll questions” and could save employers more than half of current costs associated with answering these complex questions. Not mentioned: preventing several gigabytes of frustrated employee emails.

“Payroll touches employees more than any other function,” says Sheri Sullivan, EY global payroll operate leader. “Employees around the globe currently have a very poor experience when it comes to getting answers to their payroll questions. And employers struggle with that.”

Research has shown that employee attraction and retention are directly proportional to workers’ experiences on the job, Sullivan says. And pay is central to that, she says — not only the amount, but also employees’ perception that they are being paid fairly and understand payroll policies.

Of course the ultimate goal here is to bill for this technology. “There is interest from clients in the largest countries to be part of this pilot,” Sullivan said. “The interest is through the roof, because this is such a pain point for them.”

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  1. Great that EY operates payroll for other organizations. Meanwhile, EY employees in the US don’t have basic functionality, like the ability to split their paycheck into multiple accounts (like $300 to savings and reminder to checking).

    They have been “working on it” for 15+ years.

  2. Alot longer than 15 years, try back in the ninetys. The solution was to set up a auto transfer from your main account to wherever. Worked there for twenty nine years.

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