How does Pay Automation Work?

Pay automation is a tool that runs your regular pay cycle as programmed without the need to set up timesheets manually for each pay. This article explains how pay automation works in our system.

Updated: December 2023

Setting up pay automation for your pay runs is a useful tool to automate your regular payroll, ensuring that your employees are paid without the need to complete timesheets manually every pay. However, for pay automation to work correctly there are some things you have to know.

Info - Blue Block (1)Pay Automation is not set and forget. It requires User intervention when something happens to disrupt the pay cycle and the pay is prevented from being created as per the set programme, such as when there is an open pay on the dashboard.

*Follow this link if you are ready to activate your pay automation and set up a pay automation template pay.

Pay Automation - What I Need To Know

PayAutomationLoop (2)Think of pay automation as repeating the same pay, with the same pay cycle, on the same pay day, for the same employees - over and over again, in a loop. 

Here is what happens: 

  1. Funds enter the Thankyou Payroll Trust Account and is assigned to your client account - this triggers pay automation (as programmed).
  2. The system automatically creates a default pay run on the dashboard. All employees with default entries in their standard pay row (Employee Profile) are included.
  3. The employees are paid on the programmed pay day.
  4. The system waits for funds to be assigned to your client account to trigger the automation cycle again.

What I need for this to work well:

  • 'Default entries for the Standard Pay timesheet row' completed for the employees I want to pay with pay automation. 
    • Pay automation only creates 'standard row entry' timesheets. It does not add anything else, like custom pay types or regular overtime. For this reason, only employees with their 'default standard row entry' filled in and saved in their Employee Profile can be paid through pay automation.

      ArohaFixedTerm_Default Entries
  • Regular pay day and pay cycle length (weekly/fortnightly/monthly) that is the same for these employees.
  • A pay automation template pay for the automated future pay runs to be based on. This 1st template run will also give you the amount you need to set up as your automatic payment to fund the pay automation pay runs.
    • You can leave this template pay run on the dashboard to be processed after your automatic payment is received. The next pay to be assigned to your client account will trigger the 2nd pay in the automation cycle as planned. 
  • An automatic payment to the Thankyou Payroll Trust Account. As soon as the funds are assigned to your client account, pay automation will be triggered.

Info - Blue Block (1)Thankyou Payroll does not take funds from your bank account to fund pay automation. You have to set up the transfer, or fund the pay through a direct deposit.

*Pay automation cannot be funded by Direct Debit, because we need authorisation to set up each Direct Debit transaction - which you give by pressing the 'Confirm & Debit' button. You do not press the 'Confirm & Debit' button with pay automation.

When won't pay automation work?

  • DepositOnAutomationPayDayPay automation is triggered by funds being assigned to your client account. When your deposit enters our Trust Account on the same day as the pay day, the pay automation process will not be triggered as the funds will not be assigned to your client account in time to trigger pay automation for your programmed pay day. You will have to create a manual pay with another pay day, or request same-day pay of your manual pay at an additional fee.
    • Thankyou Payroll processes pays the night before the pay day, so if the funds were not assigned in time to trigger the overnight pay, the pay will not be created as programmed.
    • This is a risk when your pay day is directly following a public holiday and you fund your pay on the public holiday with overnight processing.

Info - Blue Block (1)To find out more about pay automation and public holidays, follow this link to our specific help article.

  • OpenPay_AutomationFunds asigned to your client account will only trigger pay automation if there are no open pays on the dashboard.
    • So if your automatic payment deposits funds and they are assigned to your client account as planned but there is an open pay on the dashboard, the funds will be applied to this open pay - not triggering the pay automation cycle.
    • This is a risk when you do projection pays and forget to delete them from the dashboard.
      • As soon as the dashboard is empty, the next funds to be assigned to your client account will trigger the pay automation cycle.
  • You can only have one pay automation cycle active at any time. You cannot use pay automation to pay all your employees if you have some employees who are paid monthly and others who are paid weekly. 
    • Pay automation includes all employees with 'default entries in the standard pay row' saved in their Employee Profile. There isn't a way in the Employee Profile to show which must be included, or excluded from pay automation. If they have 'default entries in the standard pay row', they will be added to a pay automation run. You can always remove timesheets/employees from a run after it has been set up through pay automation, but before it is processed.
    • This is a risk when you have employees who are on unpaid leave. You have to manually remove them from an open pay run after it has been created through pay automation, or you can delete the 'default entries' row from their Employee Profile to prevent them from being included in the run in the first place - then add it back when they need to be added to pay automation again. 
      • We recommend that you take a screenshot of their Standard Pay tab in the Employee Profile before deleting the 'default entries row'. In that way, you know what their work pattern was before their period of extended unpaid leave.


Take Care - Red BlockPay automation relies on assigning your deposit to your client account. If your deposit arrives in our Trust Account without your Account Reference Number, assigning the funds to your client account will be delayed until we can allocate the funds to the correct client account. This will disrupt your pay automation cycle.


Helpful tips to know:

  • You can toggle off employees, or add employee timesheets to an open pay run after it has been created through pay automation.
    • Remember to deposit the extra funds needed when adding timesheets to the pay run, as your automatic payment will only cover the original ýou deposit' amount it was set up for.
  • You can edit employee timesheets in an open pay run that was created through pay automation in the same way you edit manual pays. You can add leave, custom pays, or any other changes as needed.
    • Remember to deposit the extra funds needed to fund your updates/changes when changing timesheets in an open pay run.
  • You can still do a manual pay, one-off payment, or correction pay if needed.
    • We recommend that after these kinds of pays, you create your next regular pay by clicking 'Default pay' and check that the pay day and period starting day are both correct. Leave this pay run open on the dashboard and fund it as usual to be processed. The next funds assigned to your client account will trigger your programmed pay automation cycle. 
    • You can use Direct Debit to fund these manual pays, as you can press the 'Confirm and Debit' button for manual pays. Remember: Direct Debiting does not work for pay automation pays.
  • Pay automation can be triggered by unexpected funds being assigned to your client account, such as an IRD refund for example. In this case, you will receive an email asking you to deposit the funds outstanding for the pay run.


Info - Blue Block (1) Thankyou Payroll will notify you via email if your pay automation cycle is disrupted by a public holiday, or if you have not fully funded a pay automation pay run.

Now that you know how pay automation works, you can make your payroll work for you - only minor intervention required.