Financial services payroll is a major endeavour; the sector accounts for 3% of the country’s entire jobs tally, or 1.08 million posts. That equals a lot of monthly payroll processing, amounting to billions of pounds. 

So, if mistakes are made, they can prove costly — and not just in monetary terms. Failure to comply with the high standards set by the sector’s many rules and regulations inevitably cause damage to the company’s reputation too.

Here are some best practice hints and tips to help maintain a compliant payroll operation, where potential risks are minimised and the organisation’s operations are protected.

1. Introduce compliance training

In such a highly-regulated sector, it’s vital that your payroll team is properly trained to understand the latest rules and knows how to follow pertinent legislation. Such activity will require an upfront investment.

But including compliance training in your learning and development programme will save money in the long run by reducing the ever-present risk of costly penalties and fines.  

Another upside is that if employees are confident the business can handle hygiene factors like pay effectively, it’s a sound basis for building wider trust across the organisation. This in turn helps to boost staff engagement and, ultimately, retention. 

2. Reduce the reliance on manual work

The best way to reduce troublesome and potentially costly payroll errors is to automate previously manual processes. Choose an advanced payroll system that has the power to scale as the business grows and can deal with even the most complex of operations.

3. Handle employee information securely

All employers today, including those in financial services, must be able to deal effectively with data protection and security issues. This includes compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Just as vital is being able to prove such compliance by producing records of all your payroll processing activities.

This again makes your choice of software important. Always ensure it can handle sensitive employee information securely to protect the company from data and confidentiality breaches.

4. Empower employees to answer their own payroll-related questions

Take advantage of the self-service functionality offered in a best-of-breed financial services payroll system. Doing so will enable your employees to uncover the answer to their payroll queries quickly and efficiently themselves.

Pre-filled frequently asked questions (FAQs) will do the trick for general queries. But enabling staff to check their pay information via modern, web- and app-based self-service interfaces helps to reduce queries still further. This not only increases employee satisfaction levels, but also saves the payroll team time to focus on more strategic tasks.

5. Analyse pay data across the organisation

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) has been steadily rising up the corporate agenda over recent years and now applies to pay as much as to other areas. For example, measuring, analysing, and reporting accurately on gender pay gap information is a statutory requirement for larger organisations, and has been adopted by many others as well.

Then there is CEO pay ratio and minimum wage reporting. Your financial services payroll system and related payroll data analytics dashboard have a vital role to play. For example, a warning flag will show in the system if an employee’s pay falls below the National Minimum Wage. This enables you to take swift action to correct any payroll errors and avoid compliance breaches. 

6. Benefit from an expert financial services payroll provider

The key advantage of working with an expert financial services payroll provider like Zellis is that the ever-changing world of compliance is our bread and butter.

We can help you stay on top of the latest rules, regulations, and legislation. We have extensive knowledge and experience of the financial services industry and provide support to some of the biggest and best in the business.

Discover how we help leading financial services companies now.