Payroll Challenges and Best Practices for SMEs in 2024

Woman working on payroll at desk

At the heart of every successful UK SME is a team that's paid on time and accurately.

However, for many business owners, payroll is often a time-consuming task. Between running day-to-day operations and keeping up with payroll deadlines, there's hardly a moment to breathe.

This blog explores some easy-to-implement payroll strategies that can save precious time and reduce stress, helping business owners focus on what they do best – growing their business.

Understanding the Payroll Challenges for SMEs

Payroll management poses unique challenges for SMEs, particularly in the realms of accuracy and legal compliance.

A big headache for many, not just in the UK but all over Europe, is keeping up with the constant changes in tax laws. In fact, for 68% of UK businesses tax is among the top 5 most complicated aspects of payroll. This compliance complexity is not just a legal issue but also impacts employee trust and satisfaction.

Moreover, a survey conducted by Breathe highlights that SMEs often grapple with the administrative load of payroll. This includes not only the considerable time required to manage it effectively but also a lack of specialized training in this area. As a result, the internal processing of payroll frequently draws valuable time and resources away from central business operations, leading to inefficiencies.

So, what can be done about it? Here are a few effective ways to overcome these common challenges.

Best Practices for SME Payroll Management

1. Have a Robust Payroll Policy in Place

Establishing a clear and comprehensive payroll policy is crucial. This policy should outline the payroll schedule, the procedures for reporting hours (for hourly employees), handling bonuses and overtime, and the process for dealing with payroll errors. A well-documented policy not only provides clarity to employees but also ensures consistency in payroll management.

2. Automate

There are still quite a few businesses that do payroll manually using spreadsheets or even manual timesheets. This carries a great risk due to potential human errors. It also is inefficient.

A better way to manage your payroll is to use payroll software. These systems not only automate calculations and deductions but also keep track of changes in tax laws, ensuring compliance.

3. Outsource to a Professional Company

Delegating payroll to an external financial or virtual accounting services provider can be a game-changer for SMEs. It allows businesses to leverage expertise in payroll management, ensuring accuracy and compliance while freeing up internal resources to focus on core business functions.

4. Seek Continous Improvement and Feedback

Lastly, regularly review and update your payroll processes based on feedback from employees and changes in your business environment. Continuous improvement in your payroll system can lead to more efficient processes and can adapt to the evolving needs of your workforce.

The Bottom Line

Effective payroll management is a critical component for the success of UK SMEs. After all, payroll is not just about paying employees; it's about creating a stable and trustworthy environment that supports the growth and sustainability of your business.

For SMEs looking to optimize their payroll processes, exploring the services offered by our team at Sanay can be a step in the right direction. With our expertise in managing financial tasks, we provide the necessary support and solutions to meet your unique payroll needs.

Reach out to us today.