From XU Magazine, 
Issue 39

Transforming Payroll for Accountants, Bookkeepers & Payroll Bureaus

Leveraging Technology to Overcome Time & Profitability Challenges while Enhancing Accuracy

Payroll; the repeating underpriced process you are doing for clients. One you wish to automate and provide more added value.
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UK SME’s Employ 16.7 million people (61%), with small businesses alone (employing under 50 people) representing 99.2% of the business population.

These employers, due to their small size and the inherent complexity that was added to payroll over the years, do not have the necessary expertise to run and operate payroll in house. They rely on professionals like yourselves to pay their staff accurately.

Yet payroll remains a much-undervalued service, seen very much as a commodity, where I’ve heard prices from as low as £4 per payslip.

Equally the criticality of payroll within the service provider space, be it a bookkeeper, an accountant or a payroll bureau is rising. Messing up payroll doesn’t take too much, however what we found was that once employees start losing trust in getting paid on time and correctly, this starts eroding all their relationships.

Studies show that 44% of employees consider leaving a job once they are not paid correctly, pushing up turnover within small businesses which can be significantly detrimental. This further drives a strain in their relationship with their trusted accountant or bookkeeper; encouraging them to look elsewhere.

Yet, when margins are extremely tight, how can you elevate your service to ensure better accuracy and less workload on your already stretched teams?

The key to improving payroll profitability and quality lies in understanding the types of clients that you serve and the technology that you can leverage.

Payroll clients largely fall into three buckets:

  1. The Payrolls that never change, largely director only.
  2. Salaried Payrolls that have some staff turnover; and require Holiday Pay and other absences
  3. Employers who are heavy on Time and Attendance, where holiday pay is at its most complex and are generally heavy on computation requirements.

Most accounting firms we work with prefer people from the first and second group, where the complexity is reduced. Yet, they spend significant amounts of time doing data entry, (repeated data entry) with little time left to add value.

That’s where key technology partners come in.

Having identified three key issues; there is no one-size-fits-all solution for these businesses. Yet the first step that the industry needs to make is to empower the collaboration between the service provider and the client.

Streamlining Payroll Review

The easiest first step to enable collaboration is the payroll review stage. To date; this largely happens through email communication or WhatsApp messages. Approvals done online through an auditable system can ensure there is no delay between the final approval and the team’s payout. A key area to ensure timeliness.

Integrating Data Entry & Absence Management

The next natural step for employers with Salaried Payrolls and employers requiring Holiday Pay, is the ability to notify their partner of starters, leavers and all absences. An integrated absence management system can give the edge, especially when calculating holiday pay. More interestingly, most businesses see this as being external to payroll, and may happily pay over and above for the ability to use holiday management software

Empowering Employers with Hourly Workers

For Employers that are heavy on time and attendance; this could mean using the same payroll solution to track and store the related data, or else leverage a solution that can integrate into the Payroll System. Top-tier payroll systems can convert raw working hours into accurate pay elements, based on working locations, roles and even time of day.

That leaves our first group, the payrolls which are always the same. What can we do there?

Following much consultation and discussions with professionals in the industry our team presented EverRoll™ the first fully automated payroll designed for service providers.

So what’s EverRoll™ about?

Imagine setting up your payroll clients which require little month-to-month hand-holding going into a system that can draft up the payroll, send it for review and once approved email payslips to all the staff, file RTIs, pay to staff through an integrated partner and even send that Journal to your favourite accounting software. All this while giving you oversight of the whole process and running like clockwork on a fixed schedule.

The best part is that if clients play ball, the system can handle Holiday Pay, and those Time and Attendance calculations we mentioned earlier for complex clients.

Does EverRoll™ need human oversight?

Like any AI or technology system, you want to ensure the payroll is correct. While there can be automated controls, nobody knows your client better than yourself. So you’d be ideally placed to identify data quality errors within the process. Furthermore, if you’re looking for that value-add, we hope that by the time you win through automation, you can give back to your client, driving up your worth to the client and increasing stickiness.

Why would they need us if tech can do it?

Through AI and a little bit of knowledge these days you can do a lot of things. Why do people still hire a plumber if they can get step-by-step instructions, and have the materials delivered? It’s because they don’t want to run the risk of doing it wrong. If you’re leveraging automation, this should give you more time to communicate with your client, understand their plans and add value. SMEs, regardless of technology and the evolution of AI will still require their trusted advisors.

Profitable Payroll

Offering high-quality, profitable payroll services without driving your payroll team mad, is possible. Start today by understanding your client base and think of how you can involve them in your payroll process.

Why leave it there?

To discover the power of Cloud Payroll designed for Accounting Firms

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