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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Professional Services Payroll Market

How did you see payroll impacted by COVID-19 at your professional services firm? 

·       "The firm took the payroll department more seriously and I think really understood its importance especially when the furlough scheme rolled out. I was the first employee to be allowed to work from home as a precautionary measure, as the sole payroll individual could not go off sick and risk the payroll not being processed on time or correctly. Working remotely has been more efficient and far less stressful as I could work extra hours not having to commute three hours each day to and from the office. Payroll can be processed from anywhere as long as the internet is reliable and in many ways you get more done, as there are no unnecessary distractions that you would otherwise encounter being office based."

How were the demands on payroll impacted? 

·       "Demand increased due to life event changes i.e. the furlough scheme meant people were querying their pay calculation and how that would impact them financially. Our workload subsequently increased due to the work associated with furlough payroll processing."

Did the perception around payroll change during this time?

·       "Certainly, our payroll department was more visible to our management and senior stakeholders. They realised how much work is involved in processing payroll. Generally payroll only gets noticed when something goes wrong but during this time, the complexity of payroll and its importance became more valuable and respected."

Long term, how do you see payroll evolving in light of the new normal?

·       "I think flexible working for the payroll function would be more advisable and should be offered moving forward. The reality is the payroll individual can’t hide as the outcome of their efforts and work is seen by the business at every month end. I think allowing the function flexible working will save money to both the employer and employee."

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