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$4.51: The Not-So-Magic Number

In a July 2021 updated report, Ernst & Young found the average cost per manual data entry made by an HR professional increased from $4.51 to $4.70. See this post for more information.


In 2018, an Ernst & Young (EY) study examined the costs associated with not using employee self-service technology for HR-related tasks. The result, averaged over dozens of key tasks: $4.39 per single entry of data.

More recently, the same organization ran the numbers again. As of 2019, the new average cost of manual HR data entry comes to $4.51.

To put this increase in proper perspective, we knew we had to speak with HR experts. Jennifer Kraszewski, Paycom’s vice president of human resources, and EY researchers Joe Callender and Ken Nagle certainly fit that bill. Here are just a few of the insights they shared on episode 78 of the HR Break Room™ podcast.

Small costs add up

Viewed out of context, $0.12 – the amount of the increase – doesn’t sound like much. For that matter, even $4.51 might seem insignificant. However, when you consider this figure is per data entry, it becomes easier to imagine the sheer financial enormity involved. And thanks to the economic reality of inflation, it’s safe to assume these costs will only continue to rise over time.

HR analytics

As Kraszewski explained, each data-entry point – one after another, day in, day out – translates into “thousands of changes that can result in thousands and thousands of dollars.”

And that’s not even factoring in the increased risk of error in manual HR paper-pushing processes!

Payroll icon

But solutions exist

Fortunately, HR departments do not have to bear the burden of these rising costs alone. For many professionals still tied to the old ways, adopting the right HCM tech is the best path forward.

Giving employees more control over their own data creates a beneficial ripple effect, giving HR more time to focus on their own initiatives, in turn boosting the efficiency and ultimate value of the organization as a whole.

Employee Self-Service

Consider Paycom’s Direct Data Exchange® tool as a means of measuring these savings in real numbers – numbers HR professionals can easily present to their C-suite leadership. And in light of EY’s updated report, Direct Data Exchange is more relevant than ever.

For more of Kraszewski, Callender and Nagle’s insights – including background on the methodology behind the study – be sure to listen to episode 78 of HR Break Room, “Sticker Shock: The Growing Costs of Manual HR Tasks.”