Payroll, redundancies and the lessons learned from Covid-19

27th Oct 2020
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Getting your clients through the tough final quarter of 2020 is not going to be plain sailing. Although government financial support is still available, and the new Job Support Scheme has been introduced to replace the furlough scheme, we’re still likely to see redundancies and job losses as the autumn and winter takes hold.  

The announcement made on 31st October in line with the second lockdown means that businesses can receive grants covering 80% of wages throughout November and the JSS implementation has been delayed to 1st December. The employer must pay for all the employer’s NIC and employer’s minimum workplace pension contributions on those wages and the grant will be for time not worked, up to £2,500 per month. Find out more who can claim the re-instated furlough scheme.

How will the increased impact of Covid-19 on your clients affect the firm’s payroll workload? And how can you give clients the best possible advice and support in these challenging times? 

Dealing with the impact of an ongoing crisis 

A lot of pressure has been put on small business owners since the pandemic first started. The Government may be offering some support, but there’s also an expectation that business owners will keep employees in a job, contribute towards the Job Support Scheme (JSS) costs and keep their businesses trading so the economy can recover. It’s a big responsibility for your clients and it’s causing high rates of stress and worry. 

48% of owners said that COVID-19 has had a ‘severe impact’ on their small business, according to recent research. And a survey by WorkLife revealed that 29% of small businesses worry about the mental health impact for their employees. Ensuring that a business can survive the crisis is no walk in the park, and accountants are having to shoulder the burden of providing essential advice, becoming business key workers during the pandemic – and not always being paid for the extra work that this involves. 

We spoke to Jonathan Gaunt, founder of the Bristol-based accounting firm FD Works, to ask what he’s seeing out in the market when talking to owners and business leaders, and how this is impacting on the firms workload: 

“It’s a real mix. Some companies are struggling, and some are doing ok as a result of the crisis – and that’s really down to which sector you’re in. There’s more pressure for owners, more stress for accountants, and more worry for employees too.  

On the whole, the government has done a great job of supporting employees. But has it done enough to support business owners? Not really. It’s tough running a small business. You take on a lot of risk without a lot of benefits, but with the uncertainty we’ve got at the moment, some owners will be asking if now is the time to stick to your guns or to think about an exit.” 

Running payroll in challenging times 

If clients are struggling to keep on top of managing their finances, and are facing the complexities of calculating JSS payments and complicated payroll runs, now’s the time for your firm to step up and offer a helping hand. 

Having a flexible accounting platform and innovative payroll software at the centre of your practice helps you support your clients at this time.  

For example, you can: 

  • Provide cashflow forecasts, revenue projections and management information 
  • Advise on the viability of the business, both in the shorter and longer term.  
  • Run the JSS calculations and help payroll run smoothly in these challenging times 
  • Help manage staff job losses, redundancy payments and ensuring protocols are met. 

A solid payroll foundation at the heart of your firm 

Being in control of clients’ payroll systems, and having the right numbers at your fingertips, has never been more important than in 2020.  

For Jonathan Gaunt, having BrightPay as the core payroll platform at FD Works has made the the pandemic payroll challenges easier 

“We’ve been using BrightPay for three years now. We had a basic payroll application, but as we grew we wanted something a bit more grown-up. BrightPay is great because it gives us a portal for collecting information, with all the GDPR boxes ticked, and helps us to streamline all of our payroll processes. It’s made us appreciate how important payroll and good payroll systems are to our practice and to our clients.” 

With the new support scheme for jobs kicking off in November, the time is right for streamlining your payroll services and putting the best software at the centre of your offering. 

We’re running a free webinar on 18 November to give you the full lowdown on the new Job Support Scheme. We’ll also be exploring the rise in redundancies and the new changes regarding statutory redundancy and notice pay for furloughed employees.  

Register for the Job Support Scheme Webinar 

covid-webinar-november

Related articles:  
Blog: Pros and Cons: The New Job Support Scheme
BrightPay COVID-19 Resources Hub 
3 Top Tips to COVID-Proof Payroll Processing