Future of payroll professionals and outsourced payroll providers’ work

Man working from a home office whilst on a Zoom call.

When providing your clients with great service, what are the most important things to remember? Is it your timeliness or quality of work? For accountants, bookkeepers and outsourced payroll providers, excellent service is how you keep clients for the months and years to come. 

There’s one element that arguably isn’t as crucial in customer care – the use of a bricks and mortar office location. As remote work becomes more accessible and commonly used, payroll professionals can be far more flexible in where they choose to work. With the tools on offer, client care can be just as easy from a cafe as it would be from an office. Add on cloud payroll software and you’re looking at the digital future of flexible work.

Curious? Let’s look at how the future of remote work could look for payroll providers…

How is the payroll industry changing?

While New Zealand’s economy tightens and times get tougher for businesses, there’s still a strong need for payroll professionals. In fact, the market size of the Accounting Services industry is predicted to grow 4.3% in 2022. In addition, payroll officers were listed by Hays as the 5th most in-demand skill in New Zealand in 2022. 

For accountants and bookkeepers, this is great news. With a strong base of current and potential clients, they can focus on providing fantastic service and working in a way that suits them personally as well. 

Flexible working is on the rise

The payroll industry isn’t the only thing evolving in the business world. Since the start of the pandemic, remote work has transformed the way we operate. Now, having seen the benefits of this new way of working, today’s professionals are often looking for flexibility – both in location and in schedule.

TradeMe data released earlier in 2022 revealed that 62% of their survey respondents named work-life balance as the most important factor in a role. There was also a 213% increase in the number of job listings that mentioned 'work from home' in their description year on year. 

It makes sense – if you found during the pandemic that you were saving money and time on the commute and on lunches, that’s a pretty big benefit. Many people also found it easier to find a balance between their work and home life, with more time to spend with family. 

Along with the opportunity to work from anywhere came a greater flexibility around schedules. Today’s workers want to be trusted to use their time independently, and to be able to work around other commitments such as childcare and appointments.

For payroll professionals, who often don't work with clients in the same office anyway, remote work is a game changer. 

How can payroll professionals benefit from working remotely?

For accountants, bookkeepers and outsourced providers, there’s plenty of ways they can adapt their way of working beyond the traditional office. Here’s the top benefits they could see if they move to a remote way of working:

1. Easy communication from anywhere

The Zoom boom of the pandemic showed that meetings didn’t have to be conducted in person every time. In a significant contrast to pre-2020, many of us are now familiar and comfortable with using popular communication apps on a regular basis, including Microsoft Teams and Slack. We generally understand conference call etiquette and how to make meetings productive online.

For payroll professionals, keeping in touch with clients is now easier than ever, with both sides of the client relationship likely to be already familiar with conference calling and digital communication. Now, conducting meetings and checking in for catch ups doesn’t require a face to face chat or a handshake. It’ll save you some time and fuel too.

2. Team progress can be measured with digital tools

If you’re currently managing a payroll team, there’s plenty of software on the market to make project management a breeze. With apps like Asana, you can assign different tasks to team members, check in on their progress and share files. It makes collaborating digitally much, much easier. 

This not only gives you greater visibility on how things are progressing, but it saves time. Instead of having to call or check in everyday to find out the status of a task, it’s just a case of logging into a project management tool and seeing for yourself. 

3. Greater opportunity to focus and be productive

Despite their purpose, offices aren’t always the best space to be productive – especially open offices. Distractions and meetings can often take away from crucial focus time.

With remote work, professionals have the opportunity to change their location to a spot that suits their working style. This could be a quiet home office, a library or a cosy cafe. Sometimes a change of scene isn’t just a good place for coffee, but it can provide a mental ‘refresh’ that allows you to feel reinvigorated for your work. 

4. Save on operating costs

Particularly if you’re an independent accountant, renting an office space can be a costly endeavour. There’s not just rent, but utilities, internet and rates to consider. It’s a high price to pay for having a space that isn’t always conducive to deep focus or productive work. 

The benefit of remote work is that it removes those extra costs, giving you back some funds. Particularly if you’re running your own accounting or payroll business, these funds can be reinvested into improving your service offerings, upgrading your software used and building on relationships to scale your client base. 

What are the benefits of cloud software for outsourced payroll providers?

So, you’ve embraced a digital mindset and are considering how, as an outsourced payroll specialist, you can move to remote work. If remote work was to have one perfect partner, it’s got to be cloud software. Moving everything to the cloud will free you to work where you want and it’ll help your clients out too. Here’s our top highlights around adopting cloud software for your processes.

1. You can save important time

A cloud payroll system is designed to be easy and effective. With software like KeyPay, KiwiSaver and PAYE deductions automatically made from each pay run, as leave entitlements. You can leave the calculator in the drawer – payroll software will allow you time to focus on the bigger strategic elements of your work, rather than manual payroll tasks.

There’s also no need to connect to servers through fiddly VPNs or travel to connect locally at a client office. With information on the cloud, you can run your client’s payroll digitally from wherever you are. 

2. It gives clients new insight into their payroll

Cloud payroll software is designed to give you all the information you need at once. Does your client have a question around a specific pay run a few months back? Historical data saved in the cloud will be able to answer that. 

It’s not just guaranteeing you a set base of historical information that’s easy to search and filter, but it’s ensuring that clients know you have that on hand too. With digital records instead of paper-based filing, it’ll make things a lot less stressful come tax time too. 

3. There’s an opportunity for improved data security

Cloud storage can be a very secure place for data. When you store your information on the cloud, those cloud servers are housed in data centres which have security front of mind. The information is backed up, and often encrypted to protect from hacking.

If you’re concerned about security, your chosen cloud provider should be able to talk to you about what they offer. Some cloud payroll platforms come with set guarantees of security, such as ISO certification, so you know what to expect. KeyPay adheres to ISO/IEC 27001 and takes steps to mitigate the risk of payroll cyber attacks, and sensitive data is encrypted on disk to keep client information safeguarded. 

4. Get clear visibility of crucial deductions and monthly pay runs 

Reporting – it’s a crucial part of the role for payroll professionals and accountants. It’s also important in delivering essential insights to your clients about their business. Cloud platform software often comes with automatic reporting built in, so you receive the reports you want straight to your inbox. This can also include summaries of deductions, contributions and monthly pay runs. Exceptional cloud software goes above and beyond your basic reporting functions, with reports such as leave liabilities, Holiday pay calculations and KiwiSaver.

Conclusion

For accountants, bookkeepers and payroll managers, a move to remote work can give them important flexibility and work-life balance – without sacrificing client care. 

In fact, with the right digital programs, such communication software, project management tools and cloud payroll software, the experience can be better for both professionals and their clients. 

Are you a payroll professional? Find out how KeyPay can support you and your clients.

Jen Scouler

NZ Content Specialist

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