If you’re running a small business, you probably don’t have an in-house payroll expert.
Perhaps you started out as a sole trader and recently decided to expand by hiring a few members of staff – which is great news for your business, but also means that you suddenly have a lot more responsibilities than when you were simply looking out for yourself.
One of your most important new obligations is ensuring that your new team gets paid on time. Aside from the fact that you could open yourself up to legal trouble by running your payroll incorrectly, you have a moral obligation to look after the people who are working for you.
There’s always the option of going an entirely DIY route. This would mean choosing your own payroll software and setting it all up yourself. It’s definitely a valid option, especially if you have a financial background. Without the right expertise, though, you could quickly feel as though you’re trying to find a safe route through a minefield. If that sounds like you, then it may be time to hire a payroll consultant.
What will a payroll consultant do?
Payroll consultants offer a range of services to help SMEs get their payroll procedures in order. This can include inputting payroll details into the system, setting up processes to ensure that your obligations (both to employees and HMRC) are met at the end of every month, helping you to manage paying contractors or freelance employees appropriately, set up processes for handing benefits and expenses, and ensure that all your existing processes comply with the relevant laws and regulations.
When you lay it out like that, you can see why it’s so important to get an expert involved: there’s a lot more to payroll than simply transferring some money to your team at the end of the month. A good payroll company should be able to offer both specific services such as auditing your current systems, and an end-to-end package which covers the entire payroll process. To decide what level of service you need, consider how complex your payroll is and which areas you need some extra help with.
How to choose the right consultant
Crucially, you want to find a provider with real expertise in this area. Take some time to ask about their experience working with other organisations that are similar to yours, and find out whether they’re able to offer a tailored solution that has the appropriate level of support for your company. With complicated processes such as payroll, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution – so make sure that the consultant you choose can put the time and effort into understating your business.
Once your business starts to grow, hiring a payroll consultant is a great way to bring expertise into your team without hiring a full-time member of staff. Aside from avoiding a hassle or a headache, the time that you save on payroll tasks and associated admin can be put straight back into the running of your business – making it a good option for any busy SME owner.