Tackling the complexities of HR and payroll issues

Jim Scott, Head of SageCover

Jim Scott, Head of SageCover

You don’t need me to tell you that HR and payroll is a major concern for businesses. That’s something your employees will do if you get it wrong! But you might not know that seven out of ten small businesses have needed to seek advice on HR and payroll issues that have impacted their business. 

The challenge for small businesses is the speed that the legislation changes. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) identified that twenty significant changes have been made to the UK employment law since January this year.

Barometer for British Business

During May we carried out our Sage UK omnibus, this surveys 1,500 of our 800,000 customers to get a better picture of the challenges facing UK firms and provide a barometer for British business.

The survey found that only 22% of firms employ a dedicated specialist to deal with HR and payroll issues. But for the majority it’s a huge challenge to find their way around the complex legislative landscape by themselves.

Understandably, many are seeking specialist advice such as our HR Advice service.

Working with our SageCover team also gives me a clear idea of the issues facing businesses. This team provides help to our customers in the day-to-day running of their business, and they’d certainly agree with the survey; there are a large number of businesses struggling to get to grips with HR and payroll issues.

Critical to business success

There is no question that HR and payroll is about far more than pay, rewards and policies. It is about knowing your employees and understanding their needs in order to establish a long-term and productive relationship. Getting your company’s HR and payroll right is critical to the success of the business.

Firms need to be in the best position to take advantage of every new opportunity as we emerge from the recession, and having a highly committed and motivated workforce underpins that. People understandably have a low tolerance when it comes to errors in things so personal as their pay or paternity leave, so making sure your business has the correct procedures and support is vital to maintaining a competitive business.

Staying up to date with HR and payroll issues can seem daunting if you’ve not got dedicated resource in your business, but here are some things you can consider:

Getting to grips with legislation

Legislation affecting payroll changes regularly, so make sure you are always up to date with the latest developments by dedicating at least one hour a month to reviewing the HMRC website. The HMRC also runs EmployerTalk forums, which take place every week across the UK.  The sessions last for half a day and include three half-hour presentations on relevant topics and an ongoing exhibition.

If you’ve got SageCover with your Sage 50 Payroll software then you’ll already have access to expert HR Advice. But, if not, then you might want to consider signing up for our free HR legislation alerts or join our comprehensive HR Advice service.

How much is employee absence costing you?

According to the CIPD’s 2009 survey, the average cost of absence per employee per year is now £692.  Capturing your company’s HR information using software will help you to monitor absences and spot trends. This can help you identify potential gaps and plan ahead. You can also work out the cost of absence to your business and identify if this is an area that needs to be addressed.

Jim Scott, Head of SageCover