In my last blog I used examples from a customer that highlighted some of the points that should be considered when moving from paper payslips to e-payslips.
How can an organisation encourage the take up of electronic payslips?
An autocratic decision would be to adopt electronic payslips and then tell employees that as of a specific date they will no longer receive paper payslips.
However, you can increase the take up of e-payslips by adopting some or all of the following:-
Use the current payslip to promote the idea of moving to e-payslips and provide a feedback forum which makes employees feel they have a say.
Use the paper payslip to promote the idea of where they can read it. Unlike paper payslips, employees have to wait until they receive the payslip to view their take home pay and deductions. E-payslips can be read anytime anywhere as long as there is an internet connection.
Employees don’t need a computer to view e-payslips they can also be viewed on a tablet or smartphone
As soon as the payroll team has approved the payroll run, employees will be able to view payslips instantaneously
You can still print paper payslips if needed. With employees payslips stored in one place, copies that are required for a loan or mortgage application can easily be printed off in exactly the same format as the paper payslip.
E-payslips can be formatted to look the same as the paper version and the employee will be familiar with the look and layout of the form even though it is in an electronic format
Global smartphones are likely to total 1.75 billion in 2014 (emarketer.com) and with almost half (47%) of mobile phone owners now using smartphones, this is expected to increase to 55% in 2014 (YouGov.co.uk) the use of mobile technology away from home and work makes e-payslips an affordable and effective way of distributing payslips and improving employee engagement.
Being able to access documents on the go is now a natural progression of mobile technology and with more employees working remotely having access to your payslip either as S-A-A-S (software as a service solution) or through a mobile version will only serve to improve take up of e-payslips.
What do you think?
Do you prefer to receive your payslips mobile or a paper pay slip?
With the growth of the economy in reverse mode and the Chancellor exclaiming that it’s going to take longer to recover from the financial crisis (although the national debt has reduced) companies will be striving to look at ways of streamlining their operations and improving efficiency.
There’s an argument that suggests the more economically challenged the economy is the greater opportunities there are to be exploited.
Only the strong succeed, losers need not apply spring to mind. Therefore our business objectives need to include a strong will, being well prepared and persistence.
The companies who include the above in their business objectives are likely to survive the global doom and come out on top on the other side.
Recently one company/manufacturer with a turnover of £10 million+ told me “we’ve tried everything, we’ve exhausted every possibility, the business is as solid as it can be given the current climate but no-one is buying anything. You can’t sell if people can’t buy because they haven’t been given a budget.”
Are you keeping a close eye on your profit? All well and good looking at the cash value in the bank but are you making a profit. There is always something companies can do to make sure they are running a tight ship and are as efficient as they can be.
There is no magic wand to fix the erring global economy and for many businesses survival is making it from one month to the next; one week to the next.
The companies that win are those who lead, take the initiative and are not afraid.
Businesses that remain focussed use initiative and aren’t afraid will fare well in 2013.
Here are some points to consider:-
1. Rely on on no one – does this sound cynical? Success will not happen until you accept that no one thing or no one person is the cause of your problems and only youcan make your goals happen.
2. It’s unlikely that the economy is suddenly going to do a u-turn anytime soon so its important to make sure we are aware of any industry changes that might have an impact on our business or us personally. Make yourself invaluable to your company (as an employee) and to your customers by being visible and offering solutions even if they are not in the frame of mind to consider it. At least it demonstrates entrepreneurial intent and that you have the customers best interests at heart.
3. Be more pro-active. Just when you think you’ve exhausted all avenues talk to other businesses, colleagues, associates and customers. Find out what they are doing, how are they generating business, what marketing initiatives have they deployed that you might not have done yet? Set small goals and tick them off when they are done. It could be a change in the workflow process that can make all the difference to increasing your profit margin.
4. Be upbeat – at the start of this year the majority of businesses we spoke to were. There was a sense of optimism in the air, sales were being done and and then along came the greek crisis and kicked everyone out of touch. Nothing like a bad bit of economic news to knock businesses. Being upbeat and optimistic separates us from the rest of the “done-in” crowd.
Each day our world is rocked by events that are either unplanned or completely unexpected by staying focussed and working to a plan keeps us calm and less stressed.
5. Be ever present everywhere. Now is not the time to live in obscurity. Let potential customers know you are there. Have a social media strategy, showcase your company with up to date content on your website, tell your companies success stories and share your success openly.
Jon Baker, business coach and sales trainer encapsulates all the above in his great blog here. And I recommend you read it.
It defines the importance of keeping focussed and why we are actually in business and these things are sometimes forgotten when we are in the thick of things.
6. What if you’ve lost that va va voom; the passion you need that gives you the reason to get up in the morning. I think Jon sums up it up beautifully here.
If you no longer enjoy what you are doing then its time to take a good look and understand why.
If you’re not enjoying what you are doing then you need to take a long hard look at the reasons why.
Be honest with yourself and if the job or the business is not working and you’ve exhausted every avenue; if the passion has gone completely and you are not motivated to continue, then its time to take a long hard look and make a decision about whether you continue.
Could it be there is no longer a market or niche for your products or services in which case is it time to cut your losses and ship on out. Sometimes things happen for a reason and events are out of our hands.
This is not being negative its being a realist. Too many companies bury their heads in the sand and think the next week or month will be better when the profit and loss sheet tell a different story.
What do you think?
How are you keeping ahead of the economy?
What tactics have you employed to get through the downturn?
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There are tangible benefits in outsourcing for the SME and I have talked about it here and here.
Small businesses face constant challenges and are often looking for ways to streamline some of their processes and enable them to focus on their core business skills.
Why Payroll Outsourcing?
Payroll is of paramount importance to the smooth running of any sized business because it is concerned directly with a companies primary asset – its personnel. The mechanics of running a payroll in-house has become more complex over time with frequent legislative and changes in taxation.
Outsourcing Payroll Services
Payroll outsourcing has become a cost effective way of overcoming these difficulties coupled with the de-centralisation of finance departments into task specific i.e. AR, AP and Credit Control makes Payroll ideal for outsourcing.
1. Outsourcing once the sole preserve of the corporate is now just as cost effective for the SME’s who are increasingly benefiting from outsourcing their payroll and payslip printing.
Processing your payroll can burn a hole in your proverbial coat pocket particularly if your company has fewer than say 30 employees. Work out the hours your employees are devoting to payroll activities and then work out the costs for printing and distribution of the payslips?
2. An SME payroll can be a time consuming process particularly where you may have an employee who spends a certain amount of time a month on this very specific task and upon completion of the task returns to their preferred job or skill set.
3. In-house payroll can only be as reliable as the people doing the work. Utilising a payroll service will result in increased output, speed and quality will be consistently accurate.
4. Speed – as payroll service providers are specialists with technical resources and industry knowledge; payroll bureau can impart to you their advice and knowledge without you having to spend £’s.
With access to vast resources they can also handle any changes in your personnel and accommodate seasonal fluctuations without you having to worry about upgrading or changing systems.
5. A good payroll service provider will have the inside edge on up and coming legislative and tax changes likely to have an impact on your business and can implement whatever changes are required with minimum fuss to you.
6. Outsourcing mitigates the responsibility to a third party so any delays, paperwork inaccuracies or mishandling its down to the payroll service provider to ensure the issue is resolved.
7. Outsourcing ensures that as your company grows so do the payroll service company tailoring the service to fit with your company growth.
8. Lastly and often overlooked is SECURITY how do you ensure that there is no payroll abuse i.e. time and rate?
Use a checklist to make sure your payroll service company delivers what you want!
Checklist for using an outsourced payroll supplier
Can the payroll service company tailor the service according to your needs i.e small, medium or large payroll
Do they have a proven track record with your type and size of business
Can they supply weekly/monthly/bi-weekly payslips and provide weekly, monthly and annual returns (this is going to change in 2013 with the introduction of RTI)
Ensure that the charges for setting up the payroll system, printing and e-slip viewing if required are transparent
Make sure the administrative charges for managing the system are included in your monthly/annual fee
Do their charges allow for making all the types of deductions
Are there any additional fees
How scaleable is the service if you expand and take on more employees
Is the software they use HMRC accredited and is it compatible with software you use
Agree that they’ll calculate tax and deductions accurately from the information supplied
They’ll make these deductions to your timescales
Ensure mandatory requirements are completed or met within the regulatory timescale
Stipulate reimbursement for any resulting penalties
Specify they’ll keep necessary records of any taxes and deductions as required by the HMRC
Transparency of any additional charges you might incur
SLA (service level agreements) to ensure that your timescales and deadlines are adhered to
But most importantly ensure the payroll service company provide you with up to date reporting, hold regular review meetings with you and deliver the service they commit to from the outset.
This can only happen if you are absolutely clear about which components of the payroll you intend to outsource and have committed the process to paper. in a detailed brief. Both you, the company and the payroll service company are clear on what is going to happen, by when and by whom. It also provides a valuable document by which both parties can refer to in the event of any discrepancy or disagreement.
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For more information on Payroll outsourcing please fill in your details here and one of our advisors will call you.
We’ve recently been discussing RTI with our Payroll Manager customers and what impact they believe it’s going ot have on their business.
Comments range from “really unsure how the HMRC are going to be ready to take in such a potential mass of data each month or week”; “what about data integrity?” to “We don’t know how its going to impact our business”; and what additional administrative tasks will be required?”
What is RTI?
Real Time Information is a new system that is being introduced by the HMRC to fundamentally improve the operation of PAYE (Pay as You Earn) Currently PAYE return process is a manual procedure that happens annually; it is prone to error and inaccuracies – employers only find out at year end if they have deducted the correct amount of tax during the year.
RTI will result in this information being collected regularly when employers submit their payroll submissions.
Why is it changing?
The current PAYE system has been in place since it was introduced in 1944 making it 68 years old; operating unchanged and is the method used by employers to pay income tax and national insurance contributions (NIC).
Employers deduct payments from employees’ pay each week or month and for a large part; the current system works for the majority of employers and employees.
However, it has become prone to error, fraud and inefficiencies making it difficult for the HMRC to identify errors and assist employers and employees’ to resolve problems in a timely manner.
The RTI system will require employers to send data about PAYE, NIC and student loans every time they pay their employees rather than with their end of year tax return.
Why introduce RTI?
Simple. RTI should enable HMRC to respond to errors, improve the accuracy of payroll and reduce the probability of fraud.
Benefits of RTI
The government wants transparency of financial status and RTI will consolidate and automate tax reconciliations for individuals. It should reduce administrative costs of PAYE by phasing out annual employer returns and removing the need to submit P45 or P46 forms.
RTI will prevent identity fraud, reduce errors and overpayments in the current benefits and tax credits system which will ensure that individuals are taxed correctly through PAYE.
Concerns of RTI!
Small businesses will struggle to implement real time reporting the Public Accounts Committee has warned the HMRC; who must or will have to find a way of supporting businesses that do not have electronic payroll systems in place.
Approximately 94% of employees receive earnings electronically but small businesses without electronic payroll systems and self-employed don’t submit monthly data to HMRC. How the HMRC intends to manage these employees is yet to be worked out.
How will it affect you?
Instead of submitting information once a year at Payroll Year End, employers will submit information electronically to HMRC for PAYE, NIC and student loans every time employees are paid.
When will it come into effect?
RTI will be phased in from April 2013 and will be mandatory for all employees from October 2013.
The system is being piloted from April 2012 and the current timetable published by the HMRC is as follows:-
March 2011 – technical specification to be issued
Oct 2011 – test system available to solution providers
April 2012 – pilot customers submitting RTI (complete by Oct 2012)
April 2012 – Large employers (25o+) to start RTI
April 2012 – Medium employers (50 to 249) to start RTI
Aug 2013 – small employers (<49) to start RTI
Oct 2013 – all employers submitting RTI
What do I need to do?
To get your software right you will need to ensure your payroll provider is compliant so you can submit additional RTI information required along with Bacs payments.
Small companies will have access to the HMRC’s basic PAYE tools which will work with RTI free of charge.
Ensure your data payroll is right ensuring that the payroll details for your employees are fully up to date and in the right format for RTI:-
Name must be your full name and official forename(s) surname; no initials and in the correct order. Date of birth must be given in the format “DD/MM/YY”. National Insurance Number (NINO) must be given as two letters, followed by six digits and end with a letter which will be either A,B,C or D.
With every business in the UK expected to commence migration to RTI between April 2012 and October 2013 it makes sense to prepare your business. Taking control and adopting RTI early will enable you to understand what the impact is likely to be on your business and its payroll practices, ensuring that you continue to pay your employees and HMRC on time.
What do you think of RTI? How do you think its going to affect you? Who will pay for RTI?
Is RTI the Government’s way of getting much needed revenue into the treasury quicker than the current PAYE?
Drop by and leave a comment in the comment box below; we love to hear your opinion!
If all this all sounds like too much hard work or worrisome then contact Digital Print Management for independent and impartial advice on how to outsource your payroll.
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I ‘m a strong advocate of the benefits that can be enjoyed by outsourcing a component of your business whether its print, payroll, billing I.T or customer services to the outsourcing of a complete department of an organisation as long as it’s a strategic fit for the company and there is utmost transparency in the way an organisation manages the process.
Traditionally when people think of outsourcing they associate it with big corporations who have the infrastructure and the resource to benefit from a large scale re-deployment of one of their business components.
But this is not the only way that outsourcing can be used effectively. Small to medium businesses can use outsourcing to their advantage. Sections 382 and 465 of the Companies Act 2006 define an SME that has a turnover of not more than £6.5 million, a balance sheet of not more than £3.26 million and 50 employees; a medium sized company with a turnover of not more than £25.9 million, a balance sheet of £12.9 million and 250 employees.
I’ve talked about the benefits of outsourcing in the past with particular reference to payroll and billing here!
The same principles can be levied for any business component you are considering.
6 great tips on why companies should outsource
Here are 6 things to consider when outsourcing:
What business aspects are you struggling with? Where can your company outsource to make cost savings and streamline the organisation processes for example it might be marketing, web design, payroll printing, invoice processing/printing. All of which are important to a company but are time consuming and manually intensive.
Outsource as much as you can but not the core elements of your business after all that was the main reason the business was established unless it’s some manufacturing element that you are considering.
Dont be afraid to use the same company for many different things the more services that an outsource provider does for your business in relation to outsourcing the more you are likely to see volume savings. In the same way you see in the supermarket buy two get the second for free. If you are looking to automate your accounts systems such as AR/AP or outsource your invoice processing/printing make sure the provider can manage the distribution element for example you may print, mail and electronically send your invoices so make sure that the company you choose can manage this process for you and more importantly they know what they are talking about and can demonstrate success criteria.
Investigate the market place and evaluate who you think best accommodates your requirements. Don’t think short term, think medium term at least otherwise if you get it wrong it might be painful to get of and you may well end up by repeating the exercise again six months down the road.
Don’t be swayed by the cheapest option or choose on price alone if you do you will shoot yourself in the foot. There isn’t such a thing as a free lunch! When you see something cheap what’s the first thing that springs to mind “what’s wrong with it?” or “that sounds cheap”! “What does everyone hope for but rarely gets? A great deal?” You get what you pay for and often a company that offers a service cheaply is trying to win your business with a view to a serious price hike three months later or they haven’t understood your requirements. In which case you will find yourself in trouble and the cheaper service could have a detrimental effect on your business. Can you afford for that to happen?
Finally, know what area or business function of the business do you want to outsource? Why do you want to outsource? Be realistic about your expectations. Set a time limit to achieve your objective and most importantly work with a company that has the expertise and knowledge and can offer sound, impartial advice!
Digital Print Management are leading advisors in the outsourcing process. We are committed to ensuring our customers get the right solutions for their business which in turn results in cost and efficiency gains.
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By taking your p60 datafile we remove the pressure to generate and distribute p60’s ahead of the annual deadline.
Once printed, we collate the p60s using our verification mailcare system ensuring that individual forms are checked and inserted accurately prior to despatch.
Outsourcing P60s; P45s; P11d’s can all be outsourced whilst you continue to manage and maintain the payroll printing internally.
Managing the processing and printing of P60s takes the responsibility away from you and places it firmly and squarely on the shoulders of the company fulfilling your P60s.
How does the process work then?
From the outset, we discuss with you your requirements, the layout and specific timescales and agree a time and date for you to send us a datafile.
In the first instance we receive a test file from you for us to evaluate. Upon agreed specification; proofs are created for you to sign off and approve. When you are ready and on the prescribed day, you forward a P60 datafile; which is proofed, signed off by you the customer and then the P60s are printed and despatched following our pre-agreed timescales.
I’ve never done this before, who will help me and what about security?
No need to be concerned! Our expert specialists will guide and keep you informed every step of the way. All data files are managed in a secure ISO27001 accredited facility with C&CCC (Cheque & Credit CCClearing Company) compliance.
Using a secure method of transmission (SFTP) a full audit trail is generated for each file and all the relevant and important steps are put in place to ensure compliance and data integrity.
I have data from different systems, how will you manage it?
We regularly receive data files from different I.T. systems or software even data files sent from multiple locations. As long as we are aware of this at the start of the project this can be integrated into the implementation process and managed appropriately.
How will you get the P60’s out to our employees?
You tell us what you want. We can either post them out or have the documents boxed and securely returned to a Head Office address. Or, we can post out and optimise the best postage discounts available; post to multi-branch locations for internal distribution.
But we process our payslips using pressure seal?
Again no problem you can have either format. If your employees are use to receiving pressure seal type payslips then we can send the same format for your P60s. Alternatively, if you prefer your P60s to be A4 and then inserted into envelopes we can manage that as well.
How do I know I can rely on Digital Print Management’s expertise?
Quite frankly you don’t and we can quite understand that you might be taking a big step into the unknown.
We understand the concerns and issues associated with outsourcing any project that is why we specialise solely in OUTSOURCING.
We are committed to ensuring that our customers get the right solutions you might say that it is a passion of ours making sure the customer gets what they want!
To make it easier we’ve written a few articles for you to browse which should help make selecting the right print partner easier!
You know what your monthly fixed cost for the operation is
Allows you to focus on the area of business you hope to succeed in
Allow experts to manage the process
Reduce the cost of internal errors
Speed up the process
Benefit from your providers’ technology without having to make the investment
Flexibility – you’re no longer reliant upon people to manage the process in-house
Secure in the knowledge that any disaster that affects your organisation it’s business as usual for your outsource provider
You’ve now taken the unprecedented decision to outsource your payroll function.
What happens next?
The next step is to find a payroll provider that can faciltate your requirements?
Not so, when you are unclear or uncertain as to what you are looking for and what you need to look out for!
Where do you start?
You only have to google payroll bureau and a whole host of names pop up from the small to the large service providers and that’s where it gets sticky because do you have the time to search, research, evaluate, tender, set up visits to establish creditability then make a decision.
All told, the process might take you anything from 2-6 months and that is a conservative estimate.
Here are a few things to consider when outsourcing your payroll:-
Small (1-50), medium (50-150) or large (150+) employees on your payroll will help determine the type of bureau you select to work with.
Expertise – does the payroll provider have relevant industry expertise to manage your payroll efficiently?
Flexibility – can they offer solutions tailor made to fit with your requirements and not a box that comes pre-packed and one you need to fit in?
Technology – can they offer online pay slips, paper slips or a combination of both? Can they manage multi-channel distribution?
Does their system offer the flexibility to integrate with yours?
What reporting functionality are you likely to get with each payroll run? Ask for sample reports and payslips both on and offline so you get to see the quality of the output. If you have a need for both paper and online slips how are the paper slips being printed – pressure seal (without envelopes) or A4 folded and inserted into an envelope establish the quality.
Find out if the cost of postage is included. There are a host of mailing discounts available via the Royal Mail and DSA (downstream access) which your payroll bureau should be able to offer.
One final thing – let your payroll team be instrumental in the project after all they will be the people managing some or all of the process going forward.
What type of payroll services will you need?
A fully managed payroll system
How do you then manage the process?
Project management is paramount. Any business process that integrates with the payroll function needs to be considered such as HR and Finance. A pay calendar or schedule is imperative for the bureau to determine cut off times and when data will be made available to the bureau for processing.
This must include BACS transmission dates, pay dates and the physical distribution of the pay slips.
During the migration phase the payroll system will need to be tested to ensure data integrity, compliance and accuracy with the current system.
This process is usually tested over a 2-3 month period where parallel runs will be done by the payroll bureau and measured for accuracy against the current system.
Digital Print Management are independent of any manufacturer, I.T. solution provider and print supplier.
As a solutions and print management specialist emphasis is on understanding the customers requirements and not trying to sell them something which doesn’t cut the mustard in the long term.
Put simply we offer a free consultative, no obligation approach to helping customers who are overwhelmed by the prospect of outsourcing any business process.
Processing and printing or the complete function of a department.
We are here to help so please do call us or leave a message and one of our consultants will be in touch.
To keep up to date you can follow us on twitter, facebook and pinterest or connect with us on linkedin and google+
Businesses face enough challenges on a daily basis and being able to streamline some of the internal processes is advantageous. One of the key areas is by outsourcing either payroll processing or payroll printing, or both because it affords the following benefits:
Reduces the workload of the payroll department
Reliability – outsourced payroll processing and printing will speed up the process providing paper and electronic distribution of payslips
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