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2016 is set to be another challenging year for Finance if the responsibility for the payroll function is within your remit. Now is the time to question whether your company and, more importantly, your approach to payroll processing and management will be ready to face the challenges and come out on top?

Auto-enrolment staging dates and the first re-enrolment phase, the introduction of the national living wage, an extension of shared parental leave and a big restructuring of  HMRC are just some of the challenges that will impact on payroll’s  time and resources.

This will be another big year for auto-enrolment with staging dates for smaller companies and the first triennial re-enrolment for larger companies. Anyone involved with payroll since the introduction of auto-enrolment will know the work that can be involved in managing this process.

From April, workers aged 25 and over will be entitled to a ‘national living wage’, adding four different wage bands (with different rates and relating to different age groups) to the payroll mix. Can you easily report on your wage bill to establish who is affected and when and how much it will hit your bottom line?

Shared parental leave and pay will be extended to one nominated working grandparent.  Parents will be able to share up to 50 weeks’ leave and up to 37 weeks’ pay or 90 % of average weekly earnings, whichever is lower, with a nominated working grandparent. If you have a workforce with a higher percentage of working parents are you ready to handle this and the resulting enquiries?

Changes to Internet security are also on the horizon, affecting the way in which BACS is accessed via the payment services website and Bacstel-IP.  You will need to check with your existing BACS software supplier to ensure their software can cope with the security changes being implemented by BACS and ensure solutions are upgraded to support this, before the changes come into force in June.

Last, but by no means least, HMRC is facing a massive shake-up. The impact is likely to be significant, especially in terms of handling queries relating to payslips and other tax issues that could be directed to your payroll team,  should the already over stretched HMRC help desks reach bursting point.  The importance of access to accurate, real time payroll data and easy reporting on current and historical information cannot be overstated.

If you are concerned that your payroll system may not be up to the task at hand, or if you have ever considered outsourcing some (or all) of your payroll, now is a great time to revisit the idea of payroll services. Start by taking a closer look at the benefits an experienced payroll services provider can bring to your organisation.  The payroll does not have to be fully outsourced for you to enjoy immediate benefits from payroll services provision. For example, outsourcing the task of processing payslips and producing reports will enable an over burdened payroll team to concentrate more time on the many and varied challenges that 2016 will bring.