Payroll For The Modern Business Part 2: The Market and Solutions

22 March

Jamie Allen

Following on from the last article, I wanted to take some time to offer my thoughts on the current solutions available on the market to solve payroll-based inefficiencies.

Before delving into the payroll area specifically, I wanted to take a step back from the actual creation of the final payroll numbers but how these numbers are generated. Particularly for those on hourly pay. 

Going back in time, I remember when I was a Temp worker for a financial services business and the level of sophistication at that time was a paper timesheet manually filled in, signed by the in-house manager, then e-mailed to the agency. I can only imagine that then, some poor soul had to type those hours into payroll so that I received my salary.  

Luckily and hopefully, times have moved on for most and businesses will have introduced a proper rota system or a cloud-based system so employees can enter their hours or simply clock in and out at their place of employment. From working with our franchise client base, we have predominantly seen this in practice with Bizimply. 

I am sure there are other providers but in terms of our experience, this seems to offer a good way for part-time staff to clock in and out, plus it is integrated into a range of payroll/accounting systems, so these details can then be passed automatically monthly to the payroll system, saving these from being entered manually, which seems a good way to go.

Moving onto the actual payroll solution…

I have spent a reasonable amount of time with my bureau recently, looking at potential payroll systems as this seems to be an emerging area in the cloud SAAS market. The heavy hitters in the accounting space, such as Xero and Quickbooks, will have their own payroll systems and for ease, many businesses will probably just use these. It seems that from an accounting perspective you can also allocate employees to departments and the posting in your accounts will reflect this which is a nice feature. 

Not being a payroll professional, I am not sure how they integrate with pension providers and technical capability but word on the street is there are however some bits missing and this can be a danger with companies who try to cover all the bases as the focus is not on any one area.

In the Integrated App space, there is a whole raft of options including Staffology, Paycircle, Key Pay, BrightPay and I am sure there are plenty more. These will all have their own integration sets in terms of accounting and operational systems and, together with the bureau that helps me, we have looked at all the above. From our perspective, none truly nail this area, but the investigation continues! BrightPay is not true cloud which holds it back and others stills seem to be developing useful functionality such as:

  • An employee Portal
  • Financial Control and review process.
  • User-friendly interface
  • All pension integrations
  • Required reporting for billing purposes. I.e. the number of payslips issues or employees.
  • Accessible pricing for what is a low margin industry.

If anyone reading this has any opinions on the above, I would really welcome their input as well. Our current path seems to be taking us towards Staffology as we use accounting systems to which they integrate, and they now have deeper pockets since IRIS acquired them. We are waiting to see their development plans.

In terms of the market and takeaways from this, I would encourage all businesses to seek a solution that is integrated into their accounting, makes the process more efficient and has the financial controls in place to ensure there are no mistakes. It is very easy to ignore this area as part of the wider perspective but when it goes wrong it is always a headache so let us know if you would like to seek a more robust solution.

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