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Do the current pressures on business make the strongest ever case for outsourcing your payroll?

Lots of organisations outsource their payroll. According to a 2019 survey by YouGov, payroll was the second most likely service to be outsourced (coming in just behind IT support).  And yet, that second place was built on just 28% of businesses.

It’s not as if UK business isn’t accustomed to outsourcing all sorts of services. In the same survey, 3 in 4 companies outsourced something. You might expect those numbers to have grown somewhat during the pandemic, but there’s no getting away from it: in-house payroll remains the default option for most businesses.

Why companies keep payroll in-house

In significant part, that fact that companies continue to manage their own payroll is because a) they want to remain in complete control of a sensitive part of their business and b) with the advent of advanced payroll and HR software like Cintra SaaS, the job has become considerably less messy and far more cost-effective than it once was.

But have recent events changed the playing field?

Is it time to outsource payroll?

This isn’t a debate over the relative merits of a particular service. Outsourced payroll didn’t change overnight to become dramatically better than its in-house SaaS equivalent. Both services are as good now as they’ve ever been. What changed were the outside forces that may be altering the value equation when considering which form of payroll to adopt.

For example…

Recruitment & retention

You don’t need us to tell you recruitment has become more difficult recently. It’s harder to keep your staff too. The ‘Great Resignation’ may always have been a bit more pronounced in the press than in reality, but with 1.3 million job vacancies in the country, it’s clear that hiring has become harder. Dangling a hefty pay rise and rewards package in front of your team could be enough to entice some away.

In that sort of environment, where you may find yourself short of resource and struggling to recruit, payroll is a neatly self-contained part of the business that you can hand over to someone else, so the person who used to deal with it can help replace some of the resource you’ve lost.

Cost of doing business

Everything got more expensive. Everything looks set to continue to get more expensive. Remaining competitive means eking out savings wherever you can find them.

It’s no longer the case that outsourcing payroll is automatically cheaper than running it in house (although for any individual business, and depending on the circumstances, it may be). Advancements in tech and the benefit of additional HR capabilities mean the cost benefit will always be a personal calculation. What may have changed, however, is the merit of keeping a person processing payroll when they could be freed to carry out considerably higher value tasks.

The way we work

For many businesses, time is more of a precious commodity than it ever was. In-office time is crucial when many are working hybrid patterns. Any time is valuable if you’re thinking of dropping to a four-day week . If maximising your productive time matters more than ever, outsourcing payroll could help.

Outsourced or in-house payroll?

More than ever, the merits of outsourcing will be an individual calculation based on a wide range of factors. To find out whether it’s the right decision for you, find out more about payroll outsourcing with Cintra, or talk to us


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