The essentials element of payroll administration in the UK is to accurately calculate the income tax and national insurance contributions deducted from the employee each pay period, produce payslips for each employee and account to the tax office for the payroll deductions.
Running a payroll system is natural for medium and large companies who may employ specialist payroll staff to perform these functions. Many medium companies may still choose to outsource the payroll function leaving many of the technical issues that might be encountered to a specialist payroll service.
Small businesses may choose to outsource the payroll function because they are not familiar with the paye system although HMRC do run seminars to assist employers. The payroll system not only calculates the tax and national insurance deductions but also has to deal with tax code changes, new employees and changes to existing employees plus taxable benefits and allowances such as statutory payments for sickness and maternity leave, contracting out of the state pension scheme and student loans.
The main benefit of manually producing the employee payroll is the reduced cost although the time spent on the payroll function by the proprietor may be better spent running the business. The cost may not be the cheapest option if an employee is required to produce the payroll. Purchasing payroll software can save significant time and costs for the small business that chooses to prepare and control its own payroll function. Although time is more important as the payroll production cost is not usually a big issue.
Outsourcing payroll adds a small additional cost to running the business but would normally carry worthwhile benefits in reducing the time spent on the function and reduces the paye administrative burden.
Main benefits outsourcing the payroll function.
1. Frees up time in calculating the payroll deductions and dealing with different and sometimes complex employee circumstances.
2. Using a professional outsourcing service to advise on potential payroll problems and difficulties.
3. The cost of outsourcing payroll should be compared against the cost of employing specialist in house payroll staff.
4. Payroll services use payroll software and are more likely to produce accurate tax and national insurance deductions and pay records reducing the prospect of problems with the tax authorities.
5. Payroll administration such as preparing the tax deductions schedules, dealing with starters and leavers, year end certificates for employees and the employer annual returns are normally all automated as part of the payroll service
6. The outsourced service company should also be responsible for producing employee payslips, advising tax and deductions liability and in larger businesses also provide a payroll analysis for accounting purposes.
Alternatives to outsourcing payroll functions.
Finding a suitable outsourced payroll service is not difficult. Local telephone directories or searching the internet would produce many potential payroll service providers.
Many accountancy firms offer payroll services to their clients and although the prices may struggle to be competitive price is always negotiable. Using the business accountant for the payroll has advantages since a substantial cost area for most businesses is already known to the accountant since they prepare the numbers.
Choosing payroll software.
The major alternative to outsourcing the payroll is for the business to acquire and use payroll software.
Larger companies require payroll software that has incorporated within it all the potential pay scenarios and also be capable of dealing with high numbers of employees. Large comprehensive packages can be complex to operate and require specialist wages staff.
Small business may choose simpler less complex payroll software packages that meet the basic needs of the business. It is important the person running the payroll within the wages function understands the payroll essentials and legal payroll administration requirements.
The advantages of choosing payroll software is basically the cost should save the business money against outsourcing the payroll, should retain control over the function and liabilities and ideally should take no more time that supplying employee details and gross wages to the payroll service.
If the business chooses to adopt a payroll software package then the complexity of the package should be considered and also the attributes and capabilities of the chosen software to produce all the payroll requirements in relation to pay and wage deductions, paye administration and employee payslips.