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Outsourcing your payroll

Choosing your outsourced payroll provider

We know how it usually goes - a trawl through websites narrows down a number of providers. The websites vary in design, some are more attractive than others, but essentially they will all end up saying the same thing - detailing what jobs have to be done and boasting how good they are at doing them.

What tends to happen is that the decision is then made on price. The most expensive is disregarded and possibly also a very low one but it's likely that the lowest remaining cost is then chosen. But that's a dangerous basis for a decision because it doesn’t test the key objective in choosing a payroll provider which is to achieve the required quality of service and reliability. Far from saving you money a poor service could end up causing you expensive headaches.

So how to choose?

Check independently. Nobody wants anything to go wrong with payroll, otherwise the pain is strongly felt. The only way to measure the quality and reliability is to speak to client references, otherwise it’s just fancy words.

To prove our claims of quality of service and reliability, contact us and we will provide a fully detailed list of 100 current clients you can phone or email for a reference. This is the only way of independently checking your key requirement. We’ve split these references equally across all our 13 payroll staff so it’s unbiased. Is another provider as open as we are?

How accurate are outsourced payroll providers?

It will probably surprise you to learn that over the last three years no less than 45% of payrolls we inherited (43% from outsourced providers / 48% from own running) had faults, some of them serious and involving breaches of the law. Often the auto-enrolment pension is set up incorrectly, or employees have been missed off (sometimes for years) which causes compliance issues and serious staff dissatisfaction.

Look for quality

When you consider the modest cost of running an outsourced payroll we would suggest it’s worth a small premium to obtain the best service.

Case Study

This is an actual email concerning a new payroll we inherited from an outsourced provider. Apart from the names, it’s exactly as was sent to the new client.

Hello new client XXX,

I've been sorting through your payroll this morning, and have the following things to share with you:

  • I have set up an account on Pay Dashboard, which is our secure portal, and you should have received an email invitation to set up your access.  Once you have done this you will be able to find any documents I have sent you in the Documents Inbox.
  • The first thing I have sent is a revised P32 for Month 8, November.  Sam Xxx had been left on the NI coding for 21 year olds, but had actually turned 22 in the month.  Previously you would not have been paying Employers NI for him, but that should have started when he reached 22, so I have amended him and submitted the change to HMRC.  Your liability for the month will have increased by £49.54, which will need to be paid this month.  I will let Nicky know as I believe she is arranging the payments for you.
  • I have sent over the payslips for the fortnightly payroll on 22/12.  It all seemed straightforward but as it is the first one I have run I would appreciate you giving it a thorough check, as I can only go from what was sat in the system from the previous run, so if anything was changed there I wouldn’t know it was wrong. 
  • Christopher Xxx has not been paid since November 2016 as far as I can see.  It looks as though he was sick prior to that, but I just wanted to check if he should still be on the payroll as there is no holiday pay in the interim years to indicate he is still employed?
  • I have run the monthly payroll as well, but have a problem with Paul Xxx.  He is being paid monthly, but for a number of hours which seems to be for the working days in the month, as it varies.  If I’m understanding it correctly he is paid for 4 hours per day.  However, in June and July he was not paid correctly and was short of a day in each of those months, which I can correct it you are in agreement?  Also, he is being paid at a rate of £8.60 per hour, but National Living Wage went up to £8.72 per hour in April.  Are you happy to correct this and calculate the arrears owed?
  • Finally, Paul xxx is likely to be auto-enrolled this month due to his holiday pay and bonus taking him over the threshold.  As he does not normally earn enough to be enrolled, you have the option of postponing this enrolment to the following month so that when he returns to normal pay he stays out of the pension.  Unfortunately, the settings in the system that tell me whether this should be applied have not been completed, so could you let me know if this is something you want?

Sorry for all the questions, but once this is all ironed out it will be much smoother going forward.  Please let me know if you have any questions at all.

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