Imagine this scenario: It’s Friday morning and your accounting department is waking up their computers to get started on payroll. Being that your company isn’t huge, but not tiny either, this typically takes up half a day’s work, meaning everything should easily be processed by close of business. Except today, there’s a problem.
It could be as simple as not being able to print paychecks once everything’s been processed, or as complex as not being able to access your payroll system at all. No worries, you think. It’s happened once or twice before, but your staff, or perhaps your payroll service provider’s staff, have always solved the problem in plenty of time to get the payroll out on time. Except today! Today, they haven’t discovered what’s causing the problem and the day’s already half gone. Now, it’s clear that you’ll need additional resources to get things back up, and there’s precious little time to get them up-to-speed on what the problem is, let alone working on fixing it. That’s where we can help.
In one instance, with a client whose payroll services broke down completely, we helped them identify the failing component that needed to be replaced and we coordinated with the service provider to get a replacement part sent overnight. It still took a full day to get it installed and configured for their environment. That kind of lost time, when processing payroll, can be devastating to your business. You need to be able to identify the specific issue quickly, determine the steps towards a solution, and taking those steps as quickly as possible.
Worst case scenario: payroll doesn’t go out on time, which causes some of your employees to default on their automatic bank withdrawals to cover their bills, which in turn causes huge stress and anxiety for your entire staff, possibly even anger. If they get angry, that negative attitude could be visible to your customers – or your staff could even confide in your customers about the mishandling of payroll – which would cause a big hit on your reputation. Your staff starts to quit, your customers start to stray, and you could end up losing business, all because there was a simple payroll glitch that you hadn’t prepared for.
Granted, the worst case scenario is unlikely. But it could certainly happen in various shades of gray – dis-satisfied staff, lowered company morale, downtime in other departments while the issue gets resolved, unexpected costs, and more. Of all the business operations that cannot fail, payroll is at the top of the list. You simply have to be able to pay your employees – on time, every time!
There are ways to prevent a payroll crisis. First and foremost, you need to make sure your overall IT environment is healthy. Perform regular backups on your critical data. Test and update all of your software, and know your software intimately so when a problem does arise, you can spot it before it becomes a problem. Check the condition of your hardware on a routine basis so you can replace a piece of equipment before it’s needed. And finally, make sure that you have an IT staff member or partner who can monitor and manage all of these functions with expertise and ease.
You absolutely never want to be in a position where you can’t pay your staff. People don’t come to work for free, and the cost of having a payroll crisis can end up being a lot greater than just replacing a broken printer.