2022: How to prepare your practice for the next challenge

6th Dec 2021
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In the second quarter of 2021, the UK economy grew by 4.8%. This was no surprise as many pubs, resturants and other businesses were reopening for the first time in months. And while things may have improved since this time last year, there is a feeling of uncertainty, and many businesses will feel they have a long way to go until they fully recover from the long-term effects of the pandemic.  

While thankfully, the days of keeping up with Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme changes and calculating furlough pay are behind us (for now, anyway), it is important that businesses don’t let their guards down and that we use what we’ve learned from this crisis to safeguard the future of our practices. So, what problems may practices have to contend with in the coming months and how can we prepare for these obstacles, or even better, turn the adversity into an opportunity? 

Insolvency Increases 

As of October 2021, tax returns filed for 2020 found that 52% of companies would struggle to pay their bills in the next 12 months. As government supports ended in September, many companies are left with no other option but to close. This had led to a loss of clients for accountants and payroll bureaus. As well as this, if you were charging clients a fee for processing furlough claims, you no longer have this revenue source. This loss, together with the client loss suffered during the height of the pandemic has meant that many practices now need to rethink their business plans. 

There are steps which can be taken to help payroll processers acquire new clients while ensuring you retain the clients you have. These include: 

Offer additional services to meet your client’s new needs 

As remote and flexible working has become the norm, your clients will find themselves with additional business needs which they may not have had before. Through BrightPay Connect, a cloud add-on to BrightPay Payroll Software, you can now offer your clients access to an online dashboard where they will be able to perform a number of functions, anytime, anywhere, helping them and their employees to adjust to remote working. These include: 

  • View amounts due to HMRC and run payroll reports. 
  • Online access to payslips and the ability to share payslips with employees through an employee app. 
  • Upload documents to be shared with employees through an employee app. 
  • Manage annual leave requests that employees have requested through an employee app. 
  • Approve requests from employees to update the information the employer has on file for them (eg. address, phone number). 

As well as helping your clients adjust to remote working, offering this new service to your client can help you improve your bottom line. With BrightPay Connect you only pay for what you use. Our price per month, per employee ranges from £0.10 per month to £0.50 per month, depending on the number of employees you have using it. Because  BrightPay Connect is so reasonably priced, it can open up a new revenue stream for payroll processers. See our BrightPay Connect pricing page for more details. 

Download our free hybrid working white paper

Automate payroll processes to save you time allowing you to take on new clients 

When you choose a payroll software that automates payroll processes, it can be the difference between spending hours or just minutes on a client’s payroll. Some of the functions of BrightPay Payroll software which allow you to automate your payroll processes are: 

  • Sending outstanding RTI & CIS submissions, finalising the current pay period and checking for coding notices for multiple or all clients in just one click. 
  • Sending payroll information directly to HMRC from the BrightPay. 
  • Sending the payroll journal directly to your accounting software 
  • Paying employees, HMRC and sub-contractors directly through BrightPay. 
  • BrightPay will notify users of auto enrolment duties, automatically generate auto enrolment letters and pension data can be sent directly from BrightPay to the pension provider. 

To learn more, check out our blog 3 Ways to Rebuild your Payroll Client Base

Labour shortages 

In 2021 we’ve seen a 12.6% increase in businesses who are choosing to outsource their payroll to professionals when compared to 2020. This could be partly due to the labour shortages which have affected almost every business sector. Businesses who may have once processed their payroll in-house, are now finding themselves overstretched and needing to help out in other areas of the business. This can be an opportunity for accountants and payroll bureaus to help businesses by taking the task of processing payroll off their plates.  

However, as clients are dealing with labour shortages, your practice may have found themselves having to deal with the same issue. You may not feel you can afford to turn down new clients but may also feel it is unfeasible due to skill shortages in the accounting industry brought about by the pandemic. One way of insuring you retain talent is by allowing your employees to work flexibly, which may involve working from home. To cater for this, you must be using a payroll software that includes full working from home functionality.  

BrightPay payroll software’s multi-user functionality allows up to ten activations to cater for multiple users if shared access is required. And if you use BrightPay alongside our online add-on BrightPay Connect, it means that all payroll data is automatically backed up online every fifteen minutes and every time an employer file is closed. This means once a user has finished working on a client’s payroll from one location, if another user in another location wants to work on that same file, any changes that were made have been synchronised. If you are short-staffed and feel that processing payroll is taking up too much time, choosing a payroll software like BrightPay and BrightPay Connect  which automate tasks can help speed up the process, ensuring that taking on these new clients won’t over burden you. 

Register now for our upcoming free webinar Optimising your payroll offering to improve profitability to find out more about how BrightPay can make payroll the quick and easy process it should be. 

BrightPay Connect mobile app

Cybersecurity Concerns 

Since employees began working from home during COVID-19, cybersecurity concerns have become more prevalent for businesses. During the pandemic, there was an 82% global increase in cyber-attacks. Remote working is here to stay, and the risk of cyber-attacks are expected to remain a worry for businesses in 2022. So how can you keep your payroll data safe? 

To keep sensitive payroll information safe, you should always back up payroll data on an external drive or on an online file storage provider. However, using these methods takes extra time and you may sometimes forget to manually back up your data. Because BrightPay Connect backs up payroll data automatically for you, you never have to worry about remembering to backup payroll data again. 

BrightPay Connect allows you to grant different users access to payroll information and the administrator can decide who has access to what information. Another feature of BrightPay Connect is our two-factor authentication. This adds an extra layer of security for BrightPay Connect users as you will need to confirm your identity by entering a security code which is sent to users by email or text.  

See our blog Ensuring client payroll data is protected as we continue to work remotely to learn more about how BrightPay Connect helps keep payroll data safe. 

To learn more about how BrightPay and BrightPay Connect can help safeguard your practice against future threats and help turn those threats into opportunities, book a free online demo today or download your 60-day free trial.