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Wednesday , October 18 2017

Payroll advances now make it a much easier task to handle

Every business will have problems they are required to deal with from time to time but hopefully they can be rapidly addressed by those at management level.

Where no enterprise wants to have them is where they affect staff as a whole because then it becomes a whole new ball-game. Nothing is likely to upset staff more than problems with their pay.

In a small to medium sized business, it is essential to have systems in place to ensure payroll is managed correctly. If a payroll manager or business owner were to make a payroll error, hopefully management-staff relationships will be amicable enough to carry on business as usual until any payroll glitch can quickly be sorted out, but it is human nature that if staff gain the idea that they have been negatively affected in some way, things can go sour very rapidly. There have been high profile cases in New Zealand in recent years where staff have become extremely upset with ongoing problems with their pay.

Even when the payroll has been maintained accurately for years, it is not an area of the business that should be consuming more managers’ time and effort than absolutely necessary. In the accommodation business, their key focus should be to make sure their establishment is in pristine condition, attractive to new customers and to ensure guests are enjoying their stay. Hard to focus on that when having to deal with the minutiae of staff payroll, holiday pay, statutory holidays, PAYE compliance and so on.

In the days when such calculations were handled manually, it was often a time-consuming procedure and quite prone to error. Computerisation has helped greatly, especially with the rise of the internet and Cloud Computing, but where payroll is still being managed on the ‘desktop’ it can still difficult to detect errors, get immediate support if required, and is only as fail-safe as those carrying it out. In the accommodation business, that might be the owners, or part-time employees handling the payroll as only one part of their duties for which they are not necessarily highly trained.

Fortunately technical advances have come to the rescue and there are specialist payroll companies available to handle everything, including giving very rapid online assistance with any problems, and yet allow easy access for the client’s authorised personnel and employees alike.

Specialist companies

A proven and trusted payroll specialist company that operates on both sides of the Tasman, and has a significant number of properties in the accommodation business as clients, is iPayroll. In New Zealand the company has its headquarters in Wellington with offices in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch and in Australia has offices in both Sydney and Melbourne. Formed in 2001, iPayroll has more than 5,000 customers of all sizes in New Zealand alone.

“We have a range of clients from a few employees up to several hundred and even into the thousand plus range,” said managing director Martin Gleeson. “We have lots of clients in all industries, including lots of hotels and motels. We have many clients where we still look after the third or fourth owner of the same motel. We’re very versatile. We tailor our service to the size of the business and we are told that the helpdesk and support we offer, with people always on the end of the phone line not voicemail or email, is one of the many reasons our clients enjoy using iPayroll.”

Those having to pay staff today have huge advantages over those doing the same job just a few years ago, said Mr Gleeson. For a start since the company was formed, its systems have been cloud-based so our clients have been enjoying these benefits since 2001.

“I liken a cloud-based service to internet banking. You log into your iPayroll account, just like you log into your internet banking account, and then follow a four-step process to complete your payroll.”

“It’s always the same four simple steps,” said national sales manager Elaine Kirk. “Open the payroll, enter any changes, check those changes, confirm – then we do the rest. We call it managing the back office because that means iPayroll making the payments to employees, managing the PAYE on behalf of the business owner – everything, including a full suite of reports and history available 24/7.”

Cloud brings advantages

“These days everybody wants to move into the cloud,” said Mr Gleeson. “There are still a lot of organisations who are in that transition phase, but we receive many enquiries every day from all kinds of industries – hospitality and retail in particular – who want to move away from those old desk-top services. They’re so used to internet banking now it makes sense for them to be handling their payroll through the internet as well.

“Traditional desk-top services restrict clients to having to be where their computers are to run their payrolls, do their back office and make their IRD payments. We do all of that in the cloud,” he said.

“Whether that client is actually inside their motel or away on holiday, they can still access and run their payrolls online, plus all of their employees have access to their payslips online. Most people have smart phones these days and can log in to see their payslip, including historical payslips, leave balances and any other relevant personal information.

“We let the hotelier concentrate on their business. Even when they go on leave, and they have to bring in a minder to look after their business, they can still have transparency over their whole payroll. They’re still able to log in and check everything, or they might even receive the email to confirm the payroll themselves. There are still a lot of potential complexities with payrolls but we take the complexities out of the system.

“Employees can also log in and apply for their leave online, which will go through to their paymaster. That flows directly into the payroll so there is no need to work with paper or any other manual system, and very soon we’ll be releasing online time sheets for clients who want them.”

The company is also able to work with clients on Xero. iPayroll was the first Xero Add-On Partner and has thousands of clients using both systems, said Mr Gleeson. – “iPayroll for payroll and Xero for accounting, all seamlessly integrated.”

The innovations do not stop there, he said.

“Over the last 18 months we’ve seamlessly migrated all of our client base from the original classic version of iPayroll, to a brand new V2 version. Our new version has an extremely easy user interface and suite of reports. It ensures that we stay at forefront of technology.

Online help-desk

In spite, of such advances, clients will still inevitably have questions they need assistance with, said Mr Gleeson.

“We have a very good help desk available for all our clients. During business hours, they can ring in free of charge with any enquiries and receive personal help. Our staff are able to see the same screen at the same time. Our help-desk brings us a lot of very positive feedback.”

Potential clients seeking more information do not even need to phone up.

“It’s a simple enough process to log into www.ipayroll.co.nz and click on Free Trial or Sign Up, enter their contact details, and someone from our team will be back to them within an hour.”

About Brent Leslie, Industry Reporter

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