How Covid-19 Changed the Way Accountants Manage Payroll for their Clients
We have all witnessed or experienced perfect examples of Darwin’s survival theory in the past few months. By this, I am referring specifically to those businesses that adapted to the pandemic and the subsequent government guidelines to ensure their very survival. For some, it meant adapting their entire operations - I am thinking here of restaurants that switched to serving takeaway meals - for others, it was moving their business online. For accountants, especially those who manage payroll for their clients - it was imperative that they responded with alacrity and innovation. Accountants in this role are all too aware that many people depend on them to ensure they can pay their bills and buy food for their family.
How accountants rose to the challenge of COVID-19
While I am sure each business owner has their accountant story, we have compiled a list of behaviours that demonstrate the remarkable ways accountants took it to the next level of professionalism to ensure companies paid their employees accurately and on time.
- Introduced cloud access - Responding to the orders to cease going to the office and work from home (WFH) initially left a lot of people wondering how they were going to continue to provide their services. However, most accountants adapted and made the transition to storing payroll information in the cloud. By embracing this technology, it enabled them to access their work and their clients and continue business as usual. This accessibility ensured there was no delay in services, and employers could continue to pay their employees uninterrupted. Looking to the future, having all your data in the cloud provides security and expands the capabilities as now they can access their data from any device at any time.
- Built a better brand - In times of uncertainty and flux, people look to a calming and steadying presence or voice. Accountants became this as employers struggled to understand all the implications of the lockdown. There was a constant rush of new legislation, tax amendments, employment benefits, and other subsidies. Employers and employees alike had to wrap their heads around the difference between getting laid off or being furloughed. Having a reliable source, someone to depend upon, was essential. From having dedicated sections on websites to regular communications, accountants became the conduits for all the latest government updates. All of which helps establish and promote the critical role accountants play in helping SMB’s complete their payroll runs.
- Provided financial advice - Payroll is a significant expense, and the pandemic made meeting this obligation quite tough for many SMBs who saw their revenue plummet in a matter of days. Figuring out how to cover operational expenses and staffing while managing a dramatically reduced cash flow to continue to make the pay run was challenging. However, here again, accountants were able to play a pivotal role. They could provide their clients with all the details and information around all the financial help that is available and offer advice and recommendation regarding the offers on the market.
- Expanded service for clients - For many employees, one of the greatest impacts of COVID-19 was the shift to working from home. Apart from the many practical challenges that this presented, it also meant that now when they have any question around payroll or benefits, they had to send emails. To alleviate the burden this placed on employers, many accountants set up payroll self-service capabilities for employees. Now employees can access their data, their employee records, and update any information, saving time and improving efficiency.
How BrightPay is doing its part to help keep the UK getting paid
BrightPay Connect, our cloud add-on that works alongside BrightPay Payroll can benefit your payroll bureau. Automatically store payroll information in the cloud, with online access anywhere, anytime for you, your clients and their employees. Find out how you can enhance your payroll bureau service offering with a free online demo.
To further help accountants and employers navigate these perplexing times, BrightPay has offered a series of highly informative webinars. We’ve covered topics such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), paying furloughed employees, the Job Support Scheme, COVID-19 related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and remote working. All of these webinars are available on-demand, and each offers resources and downloadable templates.
We also are running a new webinar on November 18, New Job Support Scheme Explained. Register today to book your place.
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