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From Rations to Real Time: A History of Payroll

09-05-2023
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As we celebrate National Payroll Week, we here at Viventium want to thank all of you who spend time each and every week ensuring that everyone gets paid. Without you, the wheels of the professional world would come to a halt.

When you boil it down to its core, payroll is what runs the world. Without a reliable way for workers to receive compensation, businesses would struggle to grow and – of course – nobody would want to work! In the modern world, receiving a paycheck on time is something that most of us take for granted. It’s a routine occurrence that we don’t think much about, but the journey of payroll, and those who manage it, has its own story. From humble beginnings to the cutting-edge systems of today, payroll has never looked better. In celebration of National Payroll Week, let’s take a look back at where payroll has come from so we can fully appreciate where we are today.

The Dawn of Payroll

The actual concept of paying workers for their labor has existed for thousands of years. We don’t have any records of who the first civilization or group of people were to begin running even the simplest form of payroll, but we do have a pretty good idea of what it looked like. In ancient Egypt, the laborers who built the pyramids, working for hours in the grueling heat to build incredible structures that still amaze us to this day, received compensation in the form of rations of food and other essential goods. Although this is about as far away as you can possibly get from the payroll of today while still kind of calling it payroll, it was a transactional arrangement between employer and worker, with the employer providing compensation for work provided.

The Rise of Bookkeeping

As societies progressed, so did payroll. One of the earliest payroll management systems that began to look like what we use today emerged in Europe during the Middle Ages by guilds. These were essentially associations of skilled laborers, like craftsmen and merchants, who would group together and provide their services to others. Guilds kept detailed paper ledgers where they recorded hours worked, tasks completed, and wages earned, ensuring that workers received exactly as much compensation as they were owed. This system established the fundamentals of how we run payroll to this day with accurate recordkeeping and an agreed upon and routine payment of a set wage based on skill of the worker for time spent performing work.

The Computer Revolution

By the 20th century, humanity entered a truly unprecedented era with the invention of computers. Before computers, payroll calculations were beyond manual, requiring deep knowledge of tax codes and deductions, not to mention good old math skills. With computers, companies were now able to handle much larger amounts of data processing while also improving accuracy by reducing the chance of human error. This made payroll more efficient than ever before. And in addition to processing, recordkeeping became easier too. Instead of having to sift through stacks of physical papers, payroll admins could now access all of this data electronically.

Welcome to the Future

While computers may have overhauled the world of payroll less than a century ago, it’s been one of the most turbulent periods in all of payroll’s history. Modern technology has supercharged the evolution of how payroll is done into a streamlined, software-based operation. Automation tools handle complex calculations, taxes, and deductions, reducing the risk of errors to record lows and leaving more time for HR to spend on culture, strategic objectives, and a plethora of other productive tasks. Computers have shrunk from massive mainframes into something that can fit into our pockets, allowing for employees to interact with payroll information in unprecedented ways. By logging into a mobile app, employees can access pay stubs, track hours work, and request time off, promoting transparency and giving workers greater control of their compensation. Admins can record and analyze thousands of data points without even thinking about it, enabling more informed decision making and strategic planning. And we aren’t even talking about how employees get paid – today, employees can access their wages even before payday with the click of a button.

What’s Next?

The evolution of payroll management is an ongoing journey with lots of excitement ahead. Tied closely to the advancement of technology, payroll will only become more efficient over the coming years. While we may not be able to say exactly what’s in store, we can say that with payroll advancing faster than ever before, it’s now vital to have a cutting-edge payroll solution that’s committed to keeping up with new technologies.

As amazing as the changes in payroll methods have been over the past thousands of years, the one thing that remains consistent is the need for remarkable payroll professionals. At Viventium, we understand the impact that great people using great payroll software can make within an organization, which is why our payroll software is specifically designed to bring payroll admins in the post-acute care space to the highest level of payroll efficiency. Reflecting on the journey of payroll from handing out food rations to the highly sophisticated systems of today, we are truly thankful to be a leader in such an important part of our world.

Forever in it with you.

 


This information is for educational purposes only, and not to provide specific legal advice. This may not reflect the most recent developments in the law and may not be applicable to a particular situation or jurisdiction.

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Overtime Shuffle - Lyrics

Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 1
In the world of work, there’s a tale to be told, About overtime hours, and the payroll gold, A consistent paycheck, that’s the worker’s dream, But when it comes to overtime, it’s not as easy as it seems.

PRE-CHORUS
Oh, Susie worked hard in San Francisco town, But the rules around overtime, they had her feeling down, 42 hours this week, she gave her all, Now it’s time to calculate, let the numbers fall.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

VERSE 2
Exempt or non-exempt, the title they hold, Where they work, where you’re based, it’s all in the fold, California or New York, the laws they diverge, For payroll admins, it’s a never-ending surge.

PRE-CHORUS
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CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

BRIDGE
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VERSE 3
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PRE-CHORUS
Oh, California says, hours past eight, Are overtime-eligible, don’t underestimate, Now Susie’s owed $900, that’s the decree, In this overtime puzzle, you gotta set it free.

CHORUS
Overtime, oh, it’s a complicated game, Different rules in every state, it’s never the same, Multiply by 1.5, but there’s more to see, In this overtime equation, it’s not that easy, you see.

OUTRO
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ENDING
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Retroactive Rhythms

Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 1
In the world of care, where time slips away, Caregivers dedicate, every single day. But when the hours are missed, in the daily race, Retroactive pay, steps up to embrace.

PRE-CHORUS
A caregiver tired, at the week’s end, Forgot to log hours, a mistake to mend. Admins face the challenge, calculations to make, To set it right, for the caregiver’s sake.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

VERSE 2
Manual calculations, prone to a flaw, Dealing with shifts, odd hours, and the law. As your business grows, the cost takes flight, Automated solutions, shining bright.

PRE-CHORUS
Compliance is key, with FLSA’s might, Calculate and compensate, get it right. Avoid the audit’s gaze, fines and the cost, Retroactive pay, no longer lost.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

BRIDGE
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VERSE 3
Star caregivers, valued and strong, Retention and recruiting, where they belong. Automated solution, a total pay dance, Establish your business, a work-life romance.

PRE-CHORUS
A self-winding watch, Viventium’s grace, Optimizing payroll, in every case. No more struggles, in the payroll game, In it with you, time and time again.

CHORUS
Take back time, like a winding clock, Retroactive pay, mending every block. Calculate the hours, with precision and grace, In the world of care, in this payroll space.

OUTRO
As your business grows, in the hustle and fight, Viventium by your side, making it right. No more worries, in the payroll chain, In it with you, time and time again.

In the Arms of Geo Tax - Lyrics

Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, we all aim to thrive, Year after year, our dreams taking flight. But as we soar higher, we start to see, More money, more problems, just like B.I.G. Outgrowing our shell, it’s an exciting phase, But it brings with it some challenging days. Solutions we had, now show their flaws, As we push the boundaries, breaking through the walls.

CHORUS
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VERSE 2
Employees across states, in different localities, Tax laws aplenty, creating complexities. Our old software’s limits, we’ve begun to see, Scaling up our business, we need to break free. Calculating pay and taxes, where it all begins, Errors in this process, lead to countless sins. Employees rely on us, trust in our might, To withhold what’s needed, get it just right.

CHORUS
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BRIDGE
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VERSE 3
CPAs may struggle, and admins too, Keeping up with taxes, what can they do? The rules keep changing, it’s hard to keep pace, But Viventium’s here, in this challenging space.

CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

OUTRO
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REPEAT CHORUS
Geo Tax, oh Geo Tax, our savior in the night, Guiding us through tax laws, shining a bright light. No more payroll worries, no more sleepless nights, With Viventium’s help, we’ll be alright.

Payroll Grid Serenade - Lyrics

Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 1
In the world of admin tasks, where changes often arise, There’s a tool that’s been a savior, under office fluorescent skies. With flexibility and precision, it eases their daily strife, Let’s sing about this feature, it’s the pulse of our work life.

CHORUS
Configurable Payroll Grids, a helping hand in sight, In the realm of admin life, where details are rife. With custom views and filters, they navigate through the night, Let’s celebrate this feature, it’s the heart of our work life.

VERSE 2
Admins wear many hats, in their daily grind, Sometimes they need to adjust, leave no errors behind. Adding extra hours, bonuses, or fixing pay, They need a simple method, to make it all okay.

CHORUS
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BRIDGE
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VERSE 3
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CHORUS
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OUTRO
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Automation Anthem - Lyrics

Rule-Based Automation, it’s the name of the game, Less manual toil, less stress and shame, With policies and standards, we’ll pave the way, To automate your chores and brighten your day.

VERSE 1
In the world of payroll, a daily task we face, Admins work hard, in this complex space, They handle policies, with attention and care, But there’s a solution that’s beyond compare.

PRE-CHORUS
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CHORUS
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VERSE 2
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PRE-CHORUS
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CHORUS
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BRIDGE
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VERSE 3
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PRE-CHORUS
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CHORUS
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OUTRO
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The Data Groove - Lyrics

Oh, the Report Library, it’s the heart of the show, Where numbers come alive and insights start to flow. With Viventium’s aid, it’s a breeze, can’t you see? Reporting made easy, for your company to be free.

VERSE 1
In the world of business, it’s a complex game, With factors and figures, it’s never the same. Decisions are key, they’ll determine your fate, So listen up closely, don’t be a bit late.

PRE-CHORUS
Gather your data, don’t let it fade, In the depths of spreadsheets, don’t let it cascade. Your HCM software, is it up to the task? To capture and store, to help you unmask.

CHORUS
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VERSE 2
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PRE-CHORUS
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CHORUS
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BRIDGE
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CHORUS
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OUTRO
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