Moving from your existing payroll provider is a major decision and can be a daunting experience.
It’s not a move that you are going to choose to make without having good reason, or you may find that your existing provider is closing down and you have no choice.
There’s a lot at stake, you need to migrate all of your employees’ details and history; build up a trusted relationship with someone new and you will need as much reassurance as possible that they are capable of processing your payroll accurately and on time, every time.
Where do you start?
I’d suggest that you ask yourself some questions and create a list of what you are looking for in your new payroll provider. Maybe it’s also a good time to take a look at added extras that you haven’t been getting before.
1. Should I meet with the person who’ll be looking after my payroll?
If a personal relationship with your payroll provider is important, and you want someone who understands your business and the way that you work, it’s a good idea to arrange to meet face-to-face, or at least have a Skype call. This will help you build a relationship and create the reassurance of trust.
If you are looking for a service where you supply figures by a strict deadline and your payroll is produced without any further interaction, then a standard less personalised service will probably suit you.
2. Would I like access to a dedicated payroll specialist who I can pick up the phone to, or email with ad-hoc questions?
If it’s important to you to have answers to those one off tricky payroll questions without the worry of being billed, (it can be surprising what a difference those few minutes can make over a year) then ask your payroll provider if they cover ad-hoc questions as part of their monthly fee, as many do not.
Some providers charge on a time spent basis for enquiries and if you are not careful you could find yourself with an unexpected bill for a few phone calls.
3. Will I sometimes need to add leavers and joiners mid-payroll run?
If you have people joining or leaving in the middle of a payroll period, would you like to be able to calculate and run their payroll without any fuss and without paying an exorbitant fee? Ask a new payroll provider how they process leavers and joiners, their charge and how quickly they can make it happen.
However if your workforce is very constant and you have no movement from one month to the next, a basic payroll processor with no interaction may be all you need.
4. Do my employees need BACS payments directly into their bank accounts?
If your workers are paid directly into their bank accounts you will need a BACS approved payroll provider who has the necessary security processes and accreditations in place.
If this is a facility that you would like to offer, it might be a good time to look for a payroll provider who offers this service.
5. Do I want to be kept up to date on any changes that might affect my payroll or employees?
If you want to be informed about changes to legislation that affect your workers and be able to answer your people if they come to you with any concerns, ask a new provider if they will keep you posted on what you should know. As an employer your people will be reassured that you care about what’s important to them by you taking the time to find out the answers.
6. How can I be sure I am compliant with by pension obligations as an employer?
If you would like the reassurance of knowing that you are fully compliant and what you need to do to remain that way, it’s important to ask your payroll provider if they have ready access to financial advisors who can guide them through the complexities of their clients’ obligations. Fines for non-compliance are punitive and this is an area that you cannot afford to get wrong.
If you are confident that you can handle it yourself without any risks and are totally confident that you do not need any additional advice then a standard payroll processor that provides no added value or interaction will suit you.
What do I do next?
If you are thinking about changing your payroll provider, or if you have no choice, and would like to talk to an experienced payroll specialist please give me a call, I’d be happy to talk to you about your payroll needs, the service you are looking for and discuss how my team and I are able to help you.