An increasingly common part of a digital working environment, email payslips are a convenient and paper-free method to keep employees updated about their wages.

But as GDPR and doubts prompted by Brexit muddy the waters around data security, it’s important to check that you know where you stand when it comes to compliance.

So, what are the common issues around payslips and what can you do to directly address them? 

What are email payslips?

An email payslip is, essentially, what it says on the tin.

It is an electronic copy of your physical payslip, and includes details such as PAYE and other required elements.

These are usually auto-generated by your chosen software platform and can be created en-masse, saving you valuable time and effort.

A flexible system should also allow you to create them on an ad-hoc basis for individual users, giving you peace of mind that they go where they need to be.

What does the law say?

Recent changes brought about by GDPR state insist updated security protocols and practice must be deployed to protect user data.

While there is nothing explicit in the regulations that prohibits the use of emailed payslips, it is the business owner’s responsibility to ensure payment information is being sent to the correct email address and your payroll provider is using reliable encryption when it comes to the generation of payslips.

This includes making sure a secure, unique password is set for each employee and that your payroll information is stored safely.

It also involves holding the data for as long as it is necessary for you, or your teams, to properly manage the payroll – making email payslip data protection a key concern for all businesses.

Our program’s payroll module grants you full control and compliance over how you want to administer your work.

It can be automated to a high degree, with the system able to send emails to designated and validated addresses at the end of the month.

This is done in full compliance with HMRC RTI protocol.

The platform was also developed with full GDPR compliance in mind, helping to future-proof your work and ensure you are up-to-date with pension regulations as well has having the flexibility to respond to changes in the marketplace.

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An essential part of running a profitable business, timesheet management can be a time-consuming and arduous task. Often an afterthought, taking care to select a reliable, fit-for-purpose software solution ensures your team’s work is efficient, effective and beneficial to the business.

What is timesheet software?

Simply put, timesheet software is a digital alternative to conventional physical or bespoke timekeeping practices. It allows you to make use of a suite of tools that assist in streamlining your work when it comes to timesheet management, deploying a ‘one-stop solution’ that makes your processing quick, correct and cost-effective.

While there are a wide range of options available on the market, any reliable timesheet platform will be:

Unified: A piece of timesheet software is a complete and unified selection of tools that talk to each other. They reduce friction significantly when it comes to generating, sending, processing and reporting on your work and produces an ‘all in one’ solution.

For example, while it may be possible to generate and share documentation through existing programs such as GDOC or Xero, settling on a digital solution encourages all the elements ‘talk’ to each other, preventing the creation of a time sink, eliminating data loss and allowing your teams to work efficiently through a single regulated platform. 

Ask what tools the system has and how they interact with each other and your established systems.

Cloud-based: Any reliable platform should, as a minimum, make use of cloud technology. It allows you to store data securely and an authorised user to access it remotely. Working from a single data source is hygienic when it comes to generating timesheets and tracking their progress.

Staff and contractors can submit their information as and when they need to, massively reducing the delays plagues many agencies. Instant updates allow your team to track the live submission of data, providing an instant overview of the ‘state of play’.

Ask how the data can be accessed and what security measures are in place to protect it.

Modular: Modern software development practice dictates that any tool should allow for modularity, meaning elements can be added or removed as required. The result is a truly tailored solution that includes only the components you need to complete your professional work.

As a consequence, you save money while at the same time ensuring your platform removes obstacles in the way of your team carrying out their work. If you need to add new elements, then you can – allowing your budget to stretch as far as it needs.

Ask about the tools that come with the system, and which meet your needs.

Usable: One of the biggest obstacles facing businesses is a reluctance, or even fear, of introducing a new system. Any reliable provider will have an established onboarding practice that transfers your data in bulk. Once ready it can be operated through a unified dashboard, letting team members access information securely and with ease.

Combined with a high degree of UX, it is clean and straightforward to interact with. Doing so can eliminate barriers to entry you and your teams may have. As a minimum, the system should be fully optimised for smart and tablet devices, providing a unified browsing experience for users from all backgrounds to make daily use intuitive and easy.

Ask if you can have a hands-on demonstration, or if there is a trial period to get used to the system.

Why use timesheet software?

Whether you are dealing with a reduced budget, are unsure about using a new system, or have a range of other issues it can be difficult to justify the expenditure a software platform requires.

If you are struggling with your current timesheet process, it’s important to ask the following questions:

Where am I struggling? What areas of your practice are causing you to ‘fall down’? Is it late payment, time issues, resource problems or other elements?

Can I identify why that is happening? Once the critical problem is identified, it’s essential to determine the cause. Is it something that can be fixed by training, changing your workflow, or is it a ‘cost’ that’s tough to escape?

What is the cost of not fixing it? After problems have been located and understood, it’s important to fully triage them. While some may be ‘quick fixes’, it’s important to be honest about your issues and the time and resource that you may be wasting on a monthly or weekly basis.

Advantages of timesheet software

It’s essential to evaluate your own professional practice before adding another software tool to the business. But once problems have been identified, it’s time to act. Some of the potential advantages a carefully-selected platform can bring to your business, include:

Specific problem solving: Many agencies struggling with payroll issues will have one bugbear causing concern. It might be continual late invoices, repeated error when it comes to document creation and submission or an inability to view live data. Introducing a modular software solution adds the right tool for the job when it comes to tackling an issue and resolving it, enabling your team to move onto work that truly matters.

For example, it could be introducing print and scan bulk upload technology to ease the burden of adding documents to the system. This means doing away with the repetitious task of manually uploading each single document and adding them all with one click – freeing up time and resource.

Metricising data: When it comes to adding value throughout your business, metricisation and analysing ‘big data’ are quick wins any quality platform has. It gives you an ‘at a glance’ overview of your timesheet submissions so you can make business decisions based on statistical evidence. That can be as simple as seeing how cost effective your project management work or deciding where to make changes due to issues over late submissions or under-budgeting.

That can be helped by a robust reporting tool that pulls essential information from the system in a range of formats. Reporting permits a quick look at the day’s work or a review of the entire history of your payroll practice. That way you can assess the long-term health of the business while deciding on a strategic plan for the months ahead.

Increased efficiency: A major driver for change in any business, deploying an automated solution can allow you to streamline arduous process steps, eliminate repetitious tasks and ensure a higher degree of accuracy throughout your workflow. While that may be as simple as removing additional clicks, those seconds saved quickly add up and can significantly shorten the time and resource required to complete a task.

For many professionals, choosing a payroll platform means you can take advantage of a diverse suite of tools. That can range from using instant invoicing functionality to auto-generating documents whenever timesheets have been fully authorised on the system. It is assisted by an ability to submit timesheets online through a portal or assigning complex calculations to simple custom clicks on the system as needed.

Effectiveness with no hidden costs: When it comes to choosing a tool, it’s essential to ensure you’re getting the best value for money. Selecting a fit-for-purpose digital solution means you can incrementally improve processes.

Choosing a quality solution should come with white label functionality as standard. You can add your own branding and design to the platform, customise the layout and introduce additional functionality exactly as required. Usability should be enabled through a centralised dashboard that gives an at-a-glance overview of the system’s live status as well as a personalised record of work done.

What next?

If you want to find out more about how technology can add value to your business and improve your professional practice, Practical Software is here to help. With many years’ professional experience, we are happy to work with you on a solution that is state-of-the-art.

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An essential part of running your business, payroll software assists with the administration of employee salaries, adherence to financial regulations and helping your teams at every step of the way.

Choosing to deploy a software solution for payroll work brings a huge net positive to your business by using a suite of connected tools to take the sting out from repetitious tasks. Using a digital payroll solution can provide a wide range of benefits to your company due to its status as a unified set of tools that tackle many of the complex problems that professionals face in the marketplace.

As a result you can reduce errors, drive for efficiency and benefit from a value-add where it matters most.

Why is it so useful?

When it comes to choosing the right tool for your company, settling on a payroll platform positions you to draw down benefits in the present and the future.

As soon as a new system is deployed, you can instantly start taking advantage of the improved efficiencies that a software solution introduces.

That includes significant options for automating or improving on arduous payroll tasks, eliminating errors and ensuring staff and contractors are always paid on time. It can involve using validation to push compliance and ensure effort and resource are expended only where they are needed.

In the long term any reliable system will be fully customisable, growing and evolving as your professional practice changes.

Other elements such as reporting, or cloud data storage provide full sight of your professional work to date – letting you plan ahead while remaining nimble enough to respond to immediate challenges.

What should you look for?

When it comes to settling on the right payroll software for your business, it’s critical you select a provider that contains some, if not all, of the following elements:

Automatic content generation: Being able to construct templated documents allows you to save time with quickly generated payroll slips via email. That can expand to other areas of the system such as carrying out complex calculations or actions that are unique to your business. It can also reduce the workload for team members, ensuring new documents are fully compatible and free of error.

You should ask your provider what automation elements their system has, and to what degree can it be customised.

In-depth reporting: Being able to acquire a live overview of your payroll actions allows to control your payroll work with ease. These should be pre-generated on the system or be flexible enough to customise and save reports as needed or permit you extract key information for review. That should also extend to regular notifications about actions undertaken on the system, giving you full transparency of payment processes.

You should ask your provider what reporting functionality their system has, and how it works.

Regular updates: Deploying a system that is fit-for-purpose is essential and having access to regular updates is a must. That can be as simple as system improvements for bug fixes or as in-depth as tax tables to ensure that any and all calculations are being made correctly. Issues can then be addressed quickly and legislation, such as GDPR, is fully adhered to.

You should ask your provider what kind of updates are deployed on their system, and what form they take.

Payment handling: While being able to accommodate every payment type may be unrealistic, it’s essential your chosen platform allows team members to handle conventional documents. That can include P45 and P60 forms along with any bespoke documents your business model requires. 

You should ask your provider what document types can be generated, and what scope there is to customise them.

White label functionality: While it’s important to ensure a system is technically compliant, checking it can be visually customised is essential. Being able to white label a product allows you to integrate your branding into any correspondence or payroll documents, adding an essential level of confidence and professionalism.

You should ask your provider how the system can be visually customised, and what a payroll document looks like.

High flexibility: When it comes to generating payroll documents, it’s essential your system handles any key digital document types. That can include exporting in CSV or XERO file types, DOCX, PDF and more. That guarantees full compliance, ensuring the system can meet technical demands using a solid API.

You should ask your provider what files the software can accommodate or generate and how it integrates with your existing system.

Continued care: Even the best software solution in the world can run into problems. If issues emerge, it’s important to know there is somebody to contact that can help by providing the technical and material support you need. Before agreeing to any contract, always check how and when assistance is given.

You should ask your provider what support they offer, and what materials are available to help you with troubleshooting issues.

What next?

If you are currently struggling with your payroll practice, our team at Practical Software can help.

With many years’ experience operating in the sector, we are on hand to help ensure that you and your teams enjoy the highest possible standards of professional practice through 2020 and beyond.

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In two weeks time, Practical Software will be heading to The Recruitment Agency Expo at London’s Olympia.

Designed by our expert team of recruitment professionals, Practical’s software has been in development for the past two years with our in-house development team. A bespoke platform that can be tailored to the needs of individual recruitment agencies and clients. Practical Software have been listening closely to what the industry needs and has been working hard to address this.

John Hetherington, UK Sales Manager said: “it’s exciting to know that we have a product that addresses the needs of the recruitment industry, a system that works to streamline back office functions to leave more time for clients and relationship building”

“It’s exciting to know that we have a product that addresses the needs of the recruitment industry”

Practical’s system has some great features such as automated invoicing, real-time reporting and full white-labelling, recruitment companies will be able automate important back-office functions such as payments, expenses, contracts, and compliance documents. “Users think we’re on the right track and that’s good to know – It’s well laid out, easy-to-use, and helps people do their jobs better. Ultimately, that’s what we want to achieve.”

John said: “as an event that unites the leading figures within our industry to answer the biggest questions facing our business; we’re confident that Practical Software can provide some of those answers.” He goes on to say: “we’re excited to be presenting at The Recruitment Agency Expo and feel that this is an excellent time to showcase what our software is capable of and how it can ultimately revolutionise the agency back-office.”

You can come and talk with John and find out more about Practical Software and what it can do to support your business at The Recruitment Agency Expo starting on Tuesday, February 4 at London Olympia.

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A critical part of running your agency, managing your timesheets can be as laborious as it is essential. However, it can be difficult to know how long to retain your timesheets – especially when other elements of your work require attention.

With that in mind, how long should you keep timesheets for and how can software help make the process clean and simple?

Let’s shed some light on the subject…

Why are timesheets so important?

Simply put, timesheets are an essential tool when it comes to monitoring whether you are making or losing money with your business.

Tracking the internal time spent on a project against the formally tracked hours lets you instantly get a sense of how projects are being managed.

That can then empower you to make the long or short-term adjustments necessary to maximise internal efficiency and avoid issues.

What are the regulations?

When it comes to keeping timesheets for your business, it depends on the region that you are operating in.

For the UK, you are legally required to keep your timesheets for three years.

It allows HMRC to carry out full audits, confirming your employees are being paid correctly and you are contributing the right amount of tax.

If your business has offices in different geographic locations, it is essential that you take the time to research where you stand with regards to the law and remain fully compliant.

Any reliable professional provider will be able to advise you on how to configure your system and what the law dictates.

That is increasingly essential in a post-GDPR world and choosing a software solution is steadily becoming a popular way for companies to help future-proof themselves against forthcoming change.

How can timesheet software help?

Whether you are moving from paper processes or struggling to administer large numbers of information, deploying a technical solution can help make your timesheet management clean and simple while saving money and time where it matters most.

Some advantages include:

Online Remittance and Approval: Any reliable platform will use a secure cloud-based solution that allows for tiered access by your key team members. This enables you to have full sight of your processes, enjoy detailed version control, and set up an approvals process to help streamline your work. It can be accessed by staff, teams and contractors as required – giving you to access their historic timesheets for as long as legally necessary.

Automated Actions: If you are moving from a physical solution or have need of a hybridised process, selecting a reliable software solution can allow you to make your work much more efficient. As a minimum, it should involve the creation of templated timesheets, the uploading of data in bulk and the removal of repetitious actions. It can also help add value by bringing validation into the process, ensuring timesheets are completed in full. It can help prevent complications further down your pipeline and also avoid legacy issues from the long-term care of data.

Reporting Options: Digitising your historic data allows it to be easily reported on. This can help you spot trends, drive for efficiency, and drill down into the data on a case-by-case basis. You ‘take the temperature’ of your workforce and ensure hard-working teams are properly rewarded. It can also be used to track the progress of timesheets, set automatic reminders for late submissions and much more.

Of course, it is important to remember that software is simply a tool and cannot be the sole source of your success. Looking at your internal practice is essential and choosing a seasoned technical provider that can help add value will take the pain out of the process while bringing the additional expertise you need.  

What next?

If you want to learn more about how a digital solution can help improve your professional practice, Practical Software is here to help.

With a dedicated module for managing timesheets, our team can help ensure you are fully compliant for 2020 and beyond – allowing your platform to grow and change alongside your business.

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Practical Software has appointed a Head of Sales to coincide with the launch of a product it believes best meets the needs of leading recruiters.

John Hetherington joined the London-based computer software provider in October.

An experienced and skilled operator in the information technology services industry, he has wasted no time establishing partnerships with clients.

“It’s an exciting moment to make a move like this,” he said. “and I’ve taken it in my stride.”

“The first couple of months have been pretty hectic, and I’ve tried to talk to as many people as possible on a long list of contacts.”  

Designed by an expert team of recruitment professionals, Practical’s software has been in development for the past two years.

It is a bespoke platform that can be tailored to a customer’s specific needs, meaning they only pay for what they use.

With features like automated invoicing, real-time reporting and full white-labelling, recruitment companies can automate back-office functions such as payments, expenses, contracts, and compliance documents.

John said: “The feedback we’ve had from users so far has been very encouraging and proves we’re going in the right direction. We’ve built in an enhanced tiered bonus calculator for our recruitment client’s sales staff, and the response from our current clients is that they think this is great.”

“It’s well laid out, easy-to-use, and helps people do their jobs better.”

“Ultimately, that’s what we want to achieve.”

“This has been built from the ground upwards by people that understand the industry’s demands.”

He is inspired too by the potential for Practical’s offer to expand.

A client relationship management (CRM) system could soon be added to a package that includes payroll and timesheet modules.

John said: “This has been built from the ground upwards by people that understand the industry’s demands.”

“Rather than copy what’s already out there and try to improve on it, we went back to basics.”

“If we get it right, then we won’t be limited to just one sector.”

He has an opportunity to show off the product during a busy two-day Recruitment Agency Expo at London’s Olympia next month.

Held twice a year, it brings together the industry’s leading figures to answer the biggest questions facing their business.

“I think our system speaks for itself in providing some of the answers,” added John.

“For us, it’s about keeping to the straight and narrow and I’m confident we’ll get the results we want from there.”

The Recruitment Agency Expo starts on Tuesday, February 4.

Practical Software would love to give you a demonstration of how their solution can help your business.

To arrange one, or to find out more, call 0330 124 3506 or send an email to info@practical.software
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Agencies specialising in recruitment will have slightly different needs than direct employers when it comes to staffing software.

While both agencies and employers can benefit from staffing software, agencies, typically, will be dealing with higher volumes of people. At the same time, they need quick, easy and accurate access to this extended pool of talent.

Demands in recruitment shift as areas themselves undergo changes and new industries develop and mature.

Consequently, top staffing software for agencies must be proactive and dynamic, and go beyond the standard capabilities of an online database.

Here, we look at the top practical, staffing software solutions for recruitment agencies.

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The right to work check is an essential process you must carry out before you hire someone.

Agencies, like employers, need to be clear what right to work means for them, and what its implications are when it comes to recruitment.

The Government states that all employers have a responsibility to prevent illegal working. Some employers rely on agencies, as third parties, to carry out right to work checks, but this does not prevent the employers from being liable.

However, agencies themselves will be liable if the employee remains under contract to the during their period of employment.

This guide sets out concisely and clearly what right to work is and how agencies should carry out Right to Work checks.

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These days there are a number of options when it comes to accounting software providers. Unlike in years gone by, modern solutions allow businesses to access cloud-based services that offer significant cost savings and increased usability. With so many choices and so little time, it can be difficult to know which is best for your business. Here is a list of the top ten accounting software solutions to help you find the right pick for your staffing business.

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