Now School’s Out Is It Time To Ditch Payroll Problems?

19th July 2019

School's out


Schools are closing and the kids are away on summer break. It’s a time for headmasters, bursars, and business managers within education to take a well-earned breather. It’s also a time to reflect on the operation of the school, academy or Multi Academy Trust. A top priority will be to understand how to make the budgets work more effectively in the new year.

Moving away from local authority control to academy or MAT status is driven by operational and financial considerations. Summer’s a good time to look at the back office set-up to see whether savings can be made. Understanding where time is wasted, and how people are used is critical. An assessment of systems and procedures should also be audited. We probably don’t need to tell you that payroll and HR are two areas often under scrutiny. But are yours working effectively?

You wouldn’t employ a teacher who hasn’t got the necessary skills. The same applies to payroll. The good news is that schools have lots of choices when dealing with payroll and HR.

With a recent survey suggesting two thirds of head teachers planning to cut non-teaching staff for the 2020 budget, achieving a balanced budget is more critical than ever.

Mix it Up in payroll?

As with the curriculum perhaps a new approach is needed for the new term. Traditionally you may have had payroll run by the local authority. When you became a trust you carried on handling that yourself in-house. But, have you got the skills and resource in house to effectively manage that process and remain fully compliant? Is your payroll a time-bandit, sucking time, energy and commitment that could be better placed elsewhere? Many education payrolls may seem straightforward. But have you fully understood the on-cost of dealing with additional non-payroll related compliance and staff queries every month? Understanding the full-time commitment may surprise you.

Some schools have wisely outsourced their entire payroll as they understand that they cannot afford to keep a staff member up to date with legislative and compliance challenges.

Others, who want to retain some control over their payroll may choose a part managed service where they use front end versions of software to input payroll details, whilst removing the administrative burden to an outsourced provider.

Larger education establishments may have decided to retain full control but look for payroll software that fully embraces the nuances of the education sector.

What are the benefits shaking it up with your school’s payroll?

  • Financial – there’s no doubt that looking at payroll differently could result in a saving of back office heads in a department
  • Compliance – with increasing regulatory compliance needed in payroll making sure you have an efficient reputable process has become more important.
  • Time saving – reviewing your systems and procedures now may highlight how inefficient and burdensome your existing process is. What worked in a single academy environment for example, may not now translate effectively in a multi academy environment.
  • Self Service – with the advent of mobile Apps you may be missing out on the self service aspect of payroll. Many systems are now able to send payslip information securely into the cloud. With self service teaching staff can access payslips anywhere and on any device. The benefit? – time saving, less enquiries, better financial information for employees.

There is a plethora of good HR software available to make school life more effective, but non more so than systems using cloud technology.

The best software uses self-service to put some of the responsibility back to the individual employee, thus releasing the burden on often hard-pressed HR team.

Self Service gives staff the ability to request holiday, update personal details, notify absences, claim expenses and record all manner of employee documents. And because it’s cloud base this can be done before, during or after school. Line managers can also authorise immediately this creates smoother procedures, less time wasted, and more satisfied teaching staff.

Always ensure your school’s payroll and HR is compliant 

IRIS FMP Payrite payroll software is an HMRC tested and recognised. It has been extensively used in the education sector for over 30 years. It specifically includes Pay Spines and Multiple Post modules, designed to meet the nuances and demands of the sector.

IRIS FMP Amity offers a platform that centralises employee data and a wide range of HR processes into a single, easy to use application. Eliminate time consuming administrative tasks, streamline processes and enjoy superb reporting features. All designed to help you make smarter business decisions.

Our Payroll software is used by 57 multi academy trusts, schools and educational organisations. We understand the unique challenges that the education sector faces.  When it comes to HR and payroll we provide reliable, effective software for schools, colleges and universities.

IRIS FMP Payrite Product Guide

IRIS FMP Payrite is an HMRC accredited payroll solution that has been supporting the complex needs of payroll professionals for almost forty years. Continually developed and supported by IRIS FMP, its rich and robust functionality makes it the popular choice for SME payroll departments, public sector organisations, busy bureaux and large commercial/retail enterprises.

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