Department for Education funding doesn’t always provide sufficient financial headroom for schools to do everything they’d like to offer their students. Even in the private education sector in the UK, school fees won’t necessarily cover all of the educational and extra-curricular activities an establishment would like to offer. And yet, many schools spend too much time, effort and finances on repetitive administrative tasks. With the money that could be saved by automating or outsourcing them, more of the bursar’s coffers would necessarily become available for students.
Of course, one of the biggest costs that all schools face is due to their ongoing payroll requirements. Although teaching staff and non-teaching employees obviously need to be paid the going rate for their work, it is often the case that too much money is being spent by schools on payroll itself. Given that most schools provide salaries to their staff, this cost is something that needs to be borne each month. In some cases, schools might also need to pay individuals only according to the hours they’ve worked over the course of a given week, fortnight or term. For some educational establishments, this extra degree of payroll complexity means that the management team think they need to process their payroll functions in-house.
However, this is far from the case because, with systems like Snow’s managed payroll for education, it is possible to meet all of the needs of schools and colleges in both the public and independent sectors. Not only this, but UK-based educational establishments that switched to a managed payroll service will typically save money within the current academic year, savings that will continue to be experienced year-on-year. What are the advantages of a managed payroll system for cash-strapped schools? Read on to find out.
Gain Efficiency in Monthly Tasks
To begin with, when bursars or financial directors outsource their payroll to a third party, they no longer need to pay bookkeeping or accountancy staff to perform these functions themselves. Although a dedicated payroll clerk might only needed by large schools and educational groups, many smaller establishments still have to pay back office staff to perform their monthly payroll when they could be getting on with other important tasks.
Simply put, by switching to an outsourced model where your school’s payroll is managed for you, you will start to enjoy an economy of scale. Without compromising on the private data of employees, all that is needed is to integrate your human resources software with your payroll service. Because managed payroll systems carry out their functions routinely for multiple clients, the fee you’ll pay for the service is likely to be much less than your current costs for doing so in-house.
Improve Accuracy With Payroll for All Staff
When it comes to payroll, precision is very important. Teaching staff will soon become disgruntled with their job if their pay is not accurate from one month to the next. Poor payroll execution can lead to higher rates of staff churn. In turn, this can lead to increasing recruitment costs and, in the worst cases, the need to rely on costly locum teachers or agency staff.
Headteachers can avoid these sorts of headaches and operational costs by ensuring that their payroll is carried out accurately each month. This is something that experts in their chosen field can offer, of course, a sound reason why so many businesses – not just educational establishments – use managed payroll solutions. Remember that it is not just teaching staff that need to have their salaries paid without any errors or ongoing adjustments. Non-teaching staff who might be paid at the end of every week should also expect the same degree of accuracy, something that is quite achievable with a system like Quantum by Snow regardless of the differing payment frequencies different staff members may have.
Lower Your Operational Costs
When you adopt a managed payroll system, you can save on the labour costs involved compared to having this important commercial process carried out in-house. However, this is not the only way schools can save money by making the switch. For one thing, if you no longer need to employ someone on the school’s premises to undertake payroll duties, you won’t need a computer for them, nor the running costs involved with having one.
Equally, you will not need to keep your financial clerks and administrative support workers up-to-date on the latest developments in payroll technology or regulations. Over time, this can lead to some considerable savings with fewer resources needing to be allocated to a now outsourced task. Finally, with a managed payroll system in place, you will no longer need to print payslips and other pay-related forms, such as P60s, for example, so your school should be able to save money on printing and paper costs.
Take Care of Compliance Issues in One Fell Swoop
As previously mentioned, regulatory compliance is a big issue in payroll. For a school which, by definition, must take a great deal of pride in being seen to comply with multiple regulatory frameworks, ensuring that compliance matters are handled for payroll must be a priority. Handily, all of the compliance issues associated with pay, salaries, bonuses and other matters – such as parental leave pay, sickness pay and so on – will be handled for you when you switch to a secure, digital payroll platform.
Of course, ensuring that compliance issues are met in full is just one advantage of using a managed payroll system. Another is that you no longer have to train your own staff or send them on costly update seminars on pay and compliance since all of these matters will be handled by your outsourced payroll experts. Remember that PAYE rules and the way HMRC handles the collection of National Insurance Contributions can differ from one government budget to the next so staying one step ahead of any changes isn’t just advantageous for your school’s reputation but its bottom line, as well.
Academy Group-Wide Payroll Services
Although managed payroll systems are suited for rollout among grant-maintained, local education authority schools, they tend to come into their own with academy groups. Typically, this is because academy groups may have teaching staff who spend their time in one school only while others move from one school to the next within the group. Either way, delivering payroll efficiently with multiple administrative staff at each establishment can be particularly inefficient and prone to data entry errors.
On the other hand, academy groups – as well as independent school groups, for that matter – can expect a managed payroll system to offer a complete group-wide solution. With all members of the group’s staff from headteachers to janitorial staff on the same payroll system, the whole process of delivering pay should be handled with much greater efficiency. This is the case even when more schools – and, therefore, staff – are added to the group.
Customisable Reporting for the Education Sector
Different schools need different things from their payroll system. That’s why it is important for customisable, tailored reports to be produced quickly and easily whenever they’re needed. Snow’s Quantum Managed Payroll solution offers just this degree of flexibility. What’s more, it can be used by bursars and approved financial staff from kindergartens and primary school settings through to secondary schools, sixth form colleges, adult educational establishments and universities.
Bear in mind that the ability to produce bespoke reports is a function of managed payroll that is necessarily restricted. Only properly authorised personnel will be able to generate such reports or view the data that is contained within them. That’s important for any educational establishment, large or small, to take on board.