With practice life so busy, why not take payroll off your plate? says Daniel Hull.
We may no longer be in the eye of the storm, but we’re still living through one of the most challenging business environments there has ever been. Running a dental practice is never easy, but since March 2020 you will have realised the chances of having an entirely uneventful week are slim, to non-existent.
Your team will have had to learn to thrive under pressure. A great team will not just be talented, professional and patient-focussed, they will also be motivated to keep delivering exceptional care in the most stressful of circumstances. In every workplace, the pandemic blurred lines between ‘work’ and ‘home’. You may still have staff having to self-isolate – with zero notice – or needing time off to look after a family member. Schedules must be juggled and quick decisions made, without interruption to services.
It is likely that your profits have taken a hit, affecting cashflow and forcing you to go back and forth with your dental accountant to ensure that you are taking advantage of all tax-saving strategies available. On top of all this is necessary expenditure on things like enhanced PPE and equipment. The dental market is fast-moving and has been becoming more high-tech for some time now – maybe there are few reasons left not to bring in that cutting- edge digital scanner.
A complex task
Your plate will be piled high – with no prospect of a quiet life any time soon – so the most important thing is that your team, including any contractors, know that they are supported and valued. This includes being correctly remunerated. People need to be paid accurately and on time despite things like shifting schedules; you may be continuing to use the furlough scheme, too. At time of writing, furlough has started to be phased out and is set to wind up at the end of September.
You need the best people on your side, creating for them a workplace they want to be in, even when the going gets tough. No one works in dentistry just for the money, but salary is important to showing up every day and being ready to give 100 per cent. Payroll is complex, more so than most people think. There are things like pensions to take into consideration, also the new IR35 rules, which have applied since April 2021 to ensure any individuals working like employees, but through an intermediary, pay broadly the same in NICs as those who are directly employed.
There are other changes afoot for the payroll industry too, planned before the pandemic. Also, an increasing amount of companies are having to auto-enrol staff on workplace pension schemes and predictions are that there will be more people in the system, year on year, paying income tax, driven by several factors including the recent freezing of thresholds.
So, if payroll isn’t a nightmare now, it might not be long until it is a challenge – with a long winter to come, who needs the stress? An outsourced payroll, for example, with a company such as Wagemate, eliminates the risk of anything going wrong and will also give the flexibility you need if/ when things change. That includes adding staff and contractors, as well as adapting schedules. Outsourcing your practice’s payroll means no longer having to deal with PAYE and pension regulations. Just think how much time you’ll save that you can spend on your team, as well as on your patients and business development.
Outsourcing now would be a good strategic decision; the journey ahead is unlikely to be completely smooth sailing for any of us. Certain payroll providers also offer additional – and appealing – benefits too, such as ePayslips in a convenient, paper-free digital format. It does not matter what size your business is, you will still save money, be fully compliant and get peace of mind that you have eliminated risks of error.
If you want to give your team (and yourself!) a medal for getting through this uncertainty, the next best thing is more time. More time to take care of people, to invest in equipment and materials that make life easier and to adapt workflows to ensure they get all the support they need to do their job brilliantly and keep patients happy. Payroll is essential and becoming more complex – outsource now to take this obstacle out of your way.