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An Interview with BDO: the technology challenges in payroll services

Maria Mason MCIPPdip, Director of Employers’ Support at BDO UK, explains why choosing the right software is vital in a payroll services environment, and why PayDashboard is her epayslip portal of choice.

Why is picking the right software so important?

“When managing large amounts of payroll you need the right technologies in place to support the data flow. Time is critical as staff must be paid accurately and on time. Utilising technology to manage payroll functions allows consultants to have adequate time for quality checks and to focus on delivery, ensuring a high quality of service at all times.

But software isn’t just about the ability to process payroll accurately and efficiently – it affects your team as well. We have an excellent team of qualified payroll consultants, who don’t want to spend their day manually updating spreadsheets when tasks are complete, sending payroll reports by email with the risk of them falling into the wrong hands, or resetting login details for users on an epayslip portal. They want to be actively analysing data and advising clients based on their expertise. If your technology stack enables your team to spend less time on administration, and more on doing what they enjoy, they’ll be a happier and more productive team.”

Hear from BDO, PwC, Armstrong Watson and other firms running a payroll services at The Payroll Services Summit in London on Thursday 17th October. It's free to attend. Find out more and register your place here. 

How did you go about picking the right software for your bureau?

It’s essential to pick software that has been specifically designed for a payroll bureau – a product built for in-house payroll is not designed to process hundreds of separate payrolls. Unfortunately, when you compare the options available for companies operating in-house to the software available for payroll bureau – it’s a limited choice for bureau users. Furthermore, a lot of products have been developed by a payroll bureau and then sold as a separate software solution as a new revenue stream.

While there are a couple of providers that offer central payroll software and the ancillary solutions, such as bureau management or online payslips, we found that generally at least one of the three products would feel under-developed or substandard compared to the other two, and so didn’t fully meet our requirements. So we had to think outside the box and look for separate best of breed solution providers that could either integrate their products with each other, or provide software with sufficient benefits or efficiencies that would outweigh any negatives of them not being "full integrated".

In the end, we picked PayDashboard for our online payslip portal, and Payflow (developed by NewOrbit) for our workflow management solution.

Read more about the software BDO use in this case study

Why not just use the online payslips solution that comes with your payroll software?

Our software didn’t actually have a native epayslip solution (i.e. one they’d developed themselves), but we’ve worked with payroll software in the past that does offer both the payroll calculation and an epayslip. Even if our software had offered this feature, we would still go with a third-party solution for payslip delivery. This is because companies that develop payroll calculation software for a bureau are always going to focus on building and improving features around calculating and processing large numbers of payrolls – as ultimately this is the client’s priority concern and main reasoning for purchasing the product. The quality of payslip data delivery is therefore a secondary consideration – so they will invest less time developing this feature, potentially resulting in their native epayslip portal being clunky with a poor end-user experience.

How does a poor quality epayslip solution affect a payroll bureau?

The administration cost to a bureau of maintaining a poor portal is huge. It is a drain on resources and provides a poor user experience for your client.

Even something as simple as having to reset a client password – you have to login, find the client account, pull up the user record, reset their password or find out their password/PIN and then communicate that to them securely. Let’s say you manage payroll for 30 clients and every month just one of their employees forgets their password. If the process to reset a password takes, say, two minutes (and often it takes longer), then you are wasting an hour of your time every month on something that is completely unnecessary – and that’s just for 30 clients!

Why did you pick PayDashboard as your epayslip solution?

We’ve worked with a lot of epayslip suppliers and there is nothing like PayDashboard. Not only does it provide employees with a portal that they control for payslips, P60s etc., but it also provides employers access to all payslips and great analytical reporting. It also simply links with our payroll systems and has great features for a payroll bureau – such as being able to upload payslips in advance of payday and schedule the publication date, bulk upload and publishing functions, as well as delivering employer payroll reports in the same portal as payslips.

In short, PayDashboard demonstrates to our clients our commitment to giving them the best possible service, technology and experience. I don’t know any other portal that delivers to that level.

Read more BDO's thoughts about PayDashboard in this case study

Categories: Payroll Bureaux, Accountants

Tags: Payroll Software

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