We’ve always known how beneficial our cloud-based payroll services have been to our clients over the past couple of decades. But the pandemic has put an unexpected spotlight on just how much today’s payroll services have to offer. Here are six of those key insights:
1. The value of having a cloud-based payroll
While there are many companies using payroll software, there are considerably less of them using software hosted in the cloud. The 2019 CIPP Future of Payroll report found only 25% of organisations had cloud-based payroll software and while that figure will have risen since then, there’s no doubt many companies are still continuing to use a partly manual payroll and technologies that need an on-site presence.
It’s highly likely they will have found themselves in a very difficult situation as the pandemic unfolded and the first lockdown began. In contrast, companies with cloud-based payrolls in place, often via an outsourced payroll, will have found themselves in a much better situation. They can access their payroll from literally any location as long as it has an internet signal.
As more companies realise the resilience benefits that a cloud-hosted payroll offers, alongside factors such as greater efficiency and easy scalability, we predict many more will start looking to change the way they operate their payrolls.
2. How vital it is to have rapid software upgrades
When the first lockdown was announced, one of the major challenges was how to cope with the onslaught of changing payroll rules resulting from the pandemic. And that situation’s continued for many months now.
Management by spreadsheet has always been risky. And with the unprecedented amount of fast-paced pandemic-related change, payroll professionals have faced a time-consuming and complex task to implement it all accurately.
In contrast, cloud-based payroll software has been ideally placed to enable the fast implementation of vital upgrades needed as emergency measures like furlough were rapidly introduced. As well as lifting a large burden off the payroll, it also ensured organisations and employees did not face the additional stress of errors being made due to manual processing mistakes.
3. They enable an effective information flow
With so much ongoing disruption, it’s very easy for communication channels to break down. Yet it’s also been a time where the effective flow of information has been vital. Payroll had to make sure employees were being paid correctly depending on their circumstances.
Employees needed to have confidence that they knew what payments they would be getting in order to manage their finances during this extremely difficult period. Cloud-based payroll services made this considerably easier to achieve, with self-service options in particular really supporting a smoother flow of information in both directions.
4. The benefits of mobile functionality
One aspect of that information flow was realised through the benefit of having mobile functionality. Mobile phone use continues to grow and people use apps in their everyday lives all the time – and are increasingly expecting it in their working life too.
We’ve been technically innovating via the development of mobile payroll technology delivered by a smartphone app. And that is something that has paid dividends for our clients during the pandemic. When employers found themselves suddenly having to operate remotely, this kind of functionality enabled key payroll information to be uploaded on the go via a single app.
At a time when disruption was so great, employees were in the position to use a technology they were comfortable with. Our clients had a great deal of stress taken away from them – even things like gathering in timesheets was made far simpler.
5. Payroll services can support future moves to homeworking
The pandemic experience revealed how much better placed companies were if they already had cloud-based services in place. From a payroll perspective, we had clients telling us what a huge relief it was, and how the pressure was eased by knowing they could remotely run an entire payroll on time and accurately – from home in many cases.
And there are many indications showing that, due to the pandemic, the majority of employers now believe homeworking is set to increase. This recently released research from the CIPD found that 70% of employers expect to allow regular home working, compared to 45% pre-pandemic. And 40% of employers expect more than half of their workforces to be regularly working from home.
It looks like the need for companies to be set up for remote, and very probably home, working is going to grow. That means they will need to consider how best to operate many aspects of business going forward – including payroll.
6. The value of having payroll support
Hopefully, we will never face a period of such sudden disruption again – but organisations never know what’s around the corner. That’s why they need to make sure that the processes they have in place and the systems they use are as robust as possible in a whole range of scenarios.
Our clients have shared with us how much they’ve valued our support and expertise during this time. And with cloud-based payroll software and outsourced payroll services offering so many benefits even when life is rather more normal, it makes a lot of sense for companies to think about whether they could help them too. For further information about our services, or to organise an initial chat with one of our CIPP accredited team, please contact us here.