The employee experience is the future for payroll service providers

Employee experience & bureau payroll

Calling all accountants, bookkeepers and payroll service providers: The Employee Experience is the new Customer Experience...

A key trend we can see across all industries is an increased focus on delivering enjoyable and differentiated customer experiences. Businesses have been investing in technology and new talent to improve the customer experience as a way to boost loyalty, market share and revenue.

In an increasingly connected and time-poor world, human interactions are key to business success - and this isn’t any different for the workforce. In the same way that brands can drive customer loyalty through interactions with people, organisations can apply this same principle internally to drive performance within their own workforce.

The employee experience is equally as valuable as that of the customer. By improving the employee experience, we drive employee morale, productivity and retention.

So what does the employee experience have to do with payroll?

Payroll is a vital part of any business - everyone needs to get paid. In order to process a pay run, lots of different types of employee data is required - timesheet data, tax data, bank details, leave taken. If we improved the experience and journey of collecting and processing this employee data, not only is this highly beneficial for employers and employee morale, but also for outsourced payroll providers (including accountants and bookkeepers) in terms of time and cost savings, brand recognition and revenue. So where should they start?

Blurring the lines between HR and payroll

Remember all of that employee data we just discussed? Well, as you’ll probably know, collecting and processing this data is known to be a clunky and frustrating job. Payroll, bookkeeping and accounting firms are often using several systems to acquire timesheet data from employees, calculate tax deductions and pay conditions, and then process pays. If employees need to source pay slips or update their own data, they often have to contact the payroll processor - which means a distracted employee and a time-poor payroll processor.

By looking beyond the horizon of payroll, outsourced payroll providers will be able to create a better relationship with the employee, and in turn, with the employer. By using an all encompassing payroll solution that covers employee self service, time and attendance, leave management and expense claims, the employee experience can be completely transformed. With full ownership of their data, employees will have the time to focus on more strategic tasks and productivity will increase. Alongside that, the outsourced providers and their clients will spend less time on chasing timesheets etc. The employer also won’t have to worry about admin tasks that would usually be handled by HR, or having to connect all of the data for payroll. It’s a win-win.

Providing a memorable, branded experience

Brand loyalty is a key focus for consumer businesses, so why shouldn’t it be for a payroll, bookkeeping or accounting firm? If an outsourced provider finds the right payroll technology - a cloud platform that can be accessed by employees and employers - they could explore the opportunity of rebranding this service with their own personal brand (also known as 'white labelling'). This would allow the firm to create their own unique platform, put their name and branding on it, and set their own pricing. Brand loyalty can then be promoted in several ways:

  • Built in trust: The client has access to a branded platform which improves visibility of payroll data and allows them the ability to approve employee timesheets, leave requests and expenses. The platform provides value above and beyond just payroll, maximising brand exposure in the process.
  • Branded employee portal: Employees instantly recognise the firm's brand on the employee portal which they can access online or via their mobile phones. This opens the door to recommendations by employees for either the payroll platform itself, or for other tax requirements the firm could offer. If a firm has 100 clients, and each client has several employees, that brand exposure and revenue is quickly multiplied.
  • Shifting to a value-based pricing model: By increasing that brand loyalty and providing extra tools to employers and employees other than payroll, this is when accountants can think about charging their services based on the value they bring rather than using the standard fixed fee model.

Embrace the employee experience

Employee-focused payroll is a win-win for the outsourced payroll provider, and the employer.  A payroll service provider can cut the time spent on payroll by 50+% by moving to a payroll software which encompasses HR features, rostering , time and attendance and Employee Self Service in one system. Employees are empowered to manage their own data, meaning the provider spends less time processing payroll and more time focusing on growing their business. On top of that, by providing a branded solution to clients, brand loyalty and the opportunities for growth are enhanced.

From an employer’s perspective, this type of service means their employees are less distracted by things like managing their personal details or leave requests. With less time wasted, employees are more engaged and therefore far more productive in their roles. The employer will find it difficult to say no to a service that saves time and costs, and boosts financial performance for their business.

Seeking an all-encompassing payroll solution that improves the employee’s working life, and white labelling this service with their own branding will give payroll service providers the opportunity to grow their business, increase revenue and even shift towards a value-based pricing model. Outsourced providers should be getting ahead of the game and providing a service to employers that not only streamlines payroll processes, but creates an exceptional, valuable employee experience at the same time.

Phil Bernie

Co-founder of KeyPay. Follow me on:


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