Payroll in 2021: How your practice can thrive in a post-Covid world

24th Feb 2021
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The past year had been a turbulent and challenging time for the whole business community. The impact of the Covid pandemic has been far-reaching, nowhere more so than in the world of payroll. The Government’s furlough scheme increased the workload for many payroll providers, adding an extra level of complexity to the average payroll run – as we found out in our recent interview with James Toulson from One Less Worry Payroll.

With the furlough scheme now mooted to be extended until summer 2021, now is the ideal time to look at improving the efficiency of your payroll service, using all the time-saving features of BrightPay to create a more streamlined payroll process.

The impact of Covid on payroll

The Covid pandemic has changed the way we work, with many of us still working from home, or trying out the benefits of a hybrid working model – with a mix of office and home-working and a more flexible approach to working hours. So, what does this mean for payroll? 

This evolution in working practices is likely to mean a less standard working week, fluctuating hours for employees and, for the immediate future, the continuing impact of the furlough scheme for furloughed staff.

This will mean: 

  • Employees still on furlough – the continued extension of the furlough scheme means you’ll still have the intense administrative burden of dealing with clients’ furloughed hours, getting all the relevant information from them and all the associated calculations that go with this process.

  • Employees working more flexible hours – the 9-5 work pattern is dead, with many homeworkers now working an extra two hours every day, compared to pre-Covid numbers. With working hours likely to vary considerably, this could mean more complex timesheets and a less predictable payroll run – and more work for you. 

  • Less oversight of hours worked and expenses – with so many people working from home, business owners have far less oversight of the time their employees are working. As such, timesheet errors are likely and getting payroll sign-off could get tricky. 

  • Additional expenses – although travel expenses should have decreased, it’s possible that other additional expenses will increase. For example, broadband costs, mobile phone costs or higher utility bills. Employees may choose to claim an additional expenses allowance from their employer, adding to your admin burden.

Streamlining your payroll process

2021 is looking to be an equally busy year for payroll bureaus and accountancy firms. So, if you can take some proactive steps to streamline and automate your processes, this will have a hugely beneficial impact on your productivity – and your profitability, in the long term. 

Having BrightPay at the heart of your payroll business helps in a number of ways.

For example:

  • Integration with your client’s accounting software – you can integrate your payroll journals with a number of accounting packages, via the BrightPay API integration.   Connect with Xero, Sage One, Quickbooks Online, FreeAgent, Kashflow, AccountsIQ and Twinfield to send the payroll journal directly to the accounts software, without any of the usual fuss of CSV files and uploads.

  • Seamless batch processing – BrightPay allows you to batch-process multiple employers at the same time; a huge bonus when working on several payrolls at once. Finalise payslips, check for coding notices and send outstanding real-time information (RTI) and Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) submissions to HMRC for multiple employers, all at the same time.

  • Integration with pension providers – coping with auto enrolment pension payments can be time-consuming. With BrightPay, you have direct API integration with NEST, The People's Pension, Aviva and Smart Pension. This is a huge time-saver and lets you submit the client’s workplace pension data to the pension provider from within BrightPay. 

  • Automated cloud back-ups – backing up your payroll information can be a tedious and time-intensive task. BrightPay Connect, our cloud portal, offers you a secure, automated and user-friendly way to backup and restore your payroll data on your PC or Mac.

  • Cloud-based client portal – BrightPay Connect also has a web/mobile-based self-service dashboard for your clients and their employees. Employers can log in to the cloud portal to check payroll data and employees can request annual leave, or even update their personal details. This can all be synchronised back to BrightPay on your PC or Mac, once the client has approved the payroll – greatly reducing the admin workload.

Aim for efficiency through tech

With the payroll workload showing no signs of slowing down, now is the time to upgrade your tech, rethink your processes and embrace the real power of cloud and automation.

BrightPay is the ideal platform for busy payroll bureaus and accounting firms that offer an outsourced payroll service, bringing you efficiency in the simplest ways possible.

Start a 60-day FREE trial of BrightPay and see the difference it makes to your payroll process.