During National Payroll Week, we have been reflecting on the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on this crucial business function in what has been an extraordinary year. 

Approximately 40 of our accountants advise our business clients on their payroll. Some are full time payroll specialists, while others provide payroll support, alongside other services. 

Thomas Westcott’s Head of HR Simon Irvin said: “National Payroll Week is an opportunity to celebrate the people behind payroll – the single biggest expense for most businesses and the function that ensures we all get paid.

“The introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme in March has made this a very demanding time for anyone involved in payroll. Our specialists had to adapt to a rapidly-changing situation to ensure they could continue to provide the highest level of service to our clients.

“This has been a challenging year for everyone but National Payroll Week highlights the important, and often overlooked, contribution that those payroll specialists have made.”

Partner and Head of our Payroll Bureau Keith Clay said: “The Covid-19 crisis has probably been the most traumatic experience of my 40-year career for anyone involved in payroll. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme was an amazing step taken by the Government to protect businesses against the impact of the crisis. However, it meant a very time demanding and time sensitive response from our payroll team.

“I am immensely proud of my department and how well they have dealt with the significant pressures they have faced.”

Because Thomas Westcott uses the latest Cloud-based accounting software for its payroll services, it has been able to continue to operate as usual while team members have been working remotely. The firm has taken on a number of new payroll clients during the pandemic and we are expanding our team to meet growing demand for this specialist service. 

Keith added: “One of the knock-on effects of the Job Retention Scheme has been the additional stress it has placed on those businesses with in-house payroll functions. Many have taken the decision to outsource their payroll.

“Although the Job Retention Scheme is soon due to come to a close, the additional benefits and reward schemes now involved in payroll mean that this function will become ever more complex. This is now a specialist area, requiring highly trained people. At Thomas Westcott, we are proud to have such a team and to be supported by colleagues with expertise in tax and other areas of accountancy, so we can offer a truly joined up approach for clients.”