Payroll 'issues' highlight to The Practitioner that this area really puts you at the sharp end with clients
THEY SAY CASH IS KING. This is true, not only for business owners but for the staff also.
If you make a mistake with the payroll you are likely to feel the wrath of the business owner, who in turn has probably just had an earful of complaints from his affected staff.
Time and time again we do payroll 100% correct. Week on week, month on month it goes without a glitch.
Recently however, a client of mine who is in a fast growth phase has experienced a few ‘errors’ on their weekly payroll. To be fair to our payroll department most of the errors were not from our end. However with the client refusing to fill in a payroll checklist each week and preferring to ring in the figures, the chances of errors are increased.
At the end of the day people need someone to blame, and the accountant seems to be an easy target when it comes to payroll.
It still amazes me how little knowledge people have of payroll. Even clients with in-house finance departments seem to struggle to grasp the basic concepts. It’s no wonder then that when a member of staff comes knocking on the door with a query on their payslip, the easy option is to pass the query over to us.
Several times there has been no error after all, and all that was needed was a simple explanation as to why the tax had changed from the previous payslip.
The damage, however, has already been done by that point of course. If a problem is perceived to be there it may as well be a real problem.
I drill it into the payroll team, that payroll is king. A surefire way to upset a client is to upset his or her staff by getting even the slightest thing wrong with the payslips.
One member of staff from a large client phoned us up and queried why her net pay had gone down by 52p from the previous month. I know pennies make pounds but that is crazy if you ask me…
If we could charge by the hour for payroll queries we could open a new office in the centre of London and pay the staff double.
The Practitioner’s uncensored thoughts come from within their own practice – having left a regional firm in the heart of England