Choosing a Self-Service Payroll System

18 August 2016


For many businesses, payroll outsourcing offers an attractive and valuable alternative to in-house processing. Choosing a payroll provider correctly offers a less expensive, more efficient and simpler means of ensuring your employees, HRMC and NI are paid correctly on time, every time. However, choose poorly and your payroll process can result in a full-blown financially induced migraine.

Companies often initially process payroll in-house for a number of reasons with the primary reason being they consider in-house manual processing to be the cheaper, more cost effective option.

In truth, many ultimately discover it’s not all that cheap – especially when you factor in the time spent managing the process. Without the proper knowledge of the payroll process and access to the right payroll software, it’s easy to make mistakes including, employee’s not being paid correctly or on-time.

Many providers are offering web-based self-service payroll software and this is fast becoming the top choice for managing payroll. Designed with an organisation's whole business in mind these fully integrated workflow solutions enable your staff to interact with your business system whenever and wherever they are.

The success or failure of any payroll system will ultimately be judged by employees as well as the taxing authorities and the ability to address new legislative requirements is vital with the potential of non-compliance becoming an increasingly expensive risk for companies.

Choosing a provider

Besides offering the service you require, a payroll service should offer a high level of customer service. Unlike some other business services, you will need to communicate regularly with your payroll provider. Choose the right provider who can provide the right platform for your business and the overall and combined benefits of payroll outsourcing are wide-ranging - and don't just include cost savings for the company. Three of the main advantages any provider should be offering are:

  • A robust self-service solution to empower employees to manage transactions including updating addresses, bank details and requests for annual leave. 
  • A single platform that enables your HR and Finance Departments to work together to input the data required for payroll, removing the potential requirement for manual intervention to get the right data into multiple systems. 
  • Reduced investment required in IT and software to support your payroll function with the added benefit of increased reporting

Questions to ask

Whilst the first question that you will want to ask any payroll provider is “how much will it cost?” it is imperative that you are not purely driven by cost. Asking questions about the features of the services offering will ensure that you partner with the right provider who understands your business and have the capabilities to grow with you:

  • What does your standard service include?
  • How quickly can you re-run a payroll if there is a mistake?
  • How long does the average client stay with you?

In conclusion, watch out for providers that offer low base processing rates with expensive add-on features. Partnering with a provider who understands your business will ensure you and your management team have the time to concentrate on building your business, allowing for your admin team to be utilised correctly and cost effectively allowing for improved business performance. In the meantime, if you're looking at other cost savings your business can make, you should check out the AAB Employer's Guide to Cost Savings. Practical tips and advice for businesses everywhere.

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