Payroll Security Access and Controls

Payroll Security Access and Controls

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Employees’ financial and non-financial information contained in a payroll system is highly sensitive data and confidential in nature. This makes payroll security essential for every business. 

There are two main areas to consider when working to ensure that payroll system access is granted in a secure manner and to keep payroll information safe: access and controls. 


Segregation of duties and alignment of user roles must align to external audit requirements. The custom user roles created may include viewing, adding, modifying and removing permissions across various screens or areas of functionality within the payroll system. An organisation should ensure that payroll access is restricted to only specific users, and that access is specific to just the core purpose of the duties that the relevant employee is required to fulfil. 

A super user or executive access role is a necessity for the management of access rights and the internal users utilising the payroll system. 

Secure login via multi-factor authentication (MFA), single sign-on, or a secure username and a strong password is essential. Use timeout features to log a user out after a specific time period of inactivity.  

Security and password protocols should be in place within an organisation to enforce the regular updating of passwords by employees who login to a payroll system. This, coupled with a standard of strong passwords which include upper and lower case, numbers and special characters, allows for a lower risk of hacking and data breaches. 


At least two people should manage the payroll process to avoid conflict of interest and to reduce the risk of fraud taking place. 

Providing sufficient training to employees who use the payroll system is essential. The result is employees who are empowered to use the system as is designed, and who have a clear understanding of login protocols and how to keep information safe. 

Ensure that employees who leave your organisation have their payroll access immediately disabled, whether it is main system access, employee self-service access or both. This process should be clearly defined within the organisation’s Human Resources and Information Technology policies. 

Clear documentation and an authorisation process should be in place for granting new access or additional permissions for an existing payroll system user, as well as any requirement for an employee to access, view or work with confidential payroll information. 

In Conclusion 

It is essential for a business to have processes in place that endeavour to protect confidential employee information housed within their payroll system.  

From the secure login process of their payroll users right through to disabling access for those who leave the organisation, the protection of payroll information is paramount and the capacity of the security protocols that a business utilises to achieve this is important. 

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