How has payroll changed? #NPW2019

From endless sheets of paper and calculations, now payroll is all digitised and cloud based

From endless sheets of paper and calculations, now payroll is all digitised and cloud based.  Working in recruitment for over 25 years, our MD Cathy Bates has seen the digitisation of payroll processes and what impact that’s had on businesses, and on the workers themselves.  To celebrate National Payroll Week 2019, Cathy shares some of the changes she’s experienced in processing pay for her temps and her staff. 


Paying people is my most important task. Whether it be for our temporary workers or permanent staff. Anyone who works for me will be paid on time. New technology has made this so much easier over the years. Gone are the days of me driving around on a Friday to take cash to temps’ houses when the payroll system broke!

When I started in recruitment I only saw part of the payroll. We would collate timesheets and send a report to head office with all the hours and rates on and they would do the rest.

There was always conflict between the payroll in Head Office and the recruitment consultants and their temps in the branches. There was no flexibility. If your timesheet wasn’t in on time, you weren’t getting paid. I was forever advancing people my own money – if a temp didn’t get paid they wouldn’t go back to work the next week and we would lose business.

When I started Essential Personnel, I realised there was a lot more to payroll than just sending timesheets.  As a small business I did it manually. I only had a few temps out and as a new business I had to look at my costs so it wasn’t worthwhile to invest in payroll software.  It was extremely complicated.  Back in 2005, I had these big forms to fill out and it all had to be calculated manually – I would have liked to share a picture of one, so if anyone has some hanging around in a cupboard, we’d love to see! We paid by BACS but if a temp didn’t have a bank account, a cheque would be sent. The person would then have to go to a cash checking company and pay to get the cash.

If anyone gave the wrong bank details it cause a major problem and would take ages to be rectified.

As the company grew I invested in Sage and it was all so easy when I knew how. I had to learn how to use it myself but I quickly got the hang of it because I was used to the old fashioned way. Faster payments are brilliant as we can be a lot more lenient on deadlines.  As we are still a small company I’m not relying on Head Office to do me a favour.

All of our temporary and permanent staff will be paid on time.  There are no excuses.  It only takes a few taps on the keyboard!