Payroll horror stories

The world of payroll may not seem particularly adrenaline pumping to some, but we have certainly heard some payroll horror stories in our time!

From the frightful hidden charges to the toe-curling mistakes, we have heard it all in our 50 plus years of payroll. Last year our Operations Director Stewart Waddell told us some of the worst payroll horror stories he had ever heard. So this year, we have asked our other payroll heroes to contribute.

Charging an arm and a leg for furlough processing

We were horrified to find out that some providers had been charging their customers for processing their furlough claims, a genuinely frightening payroll horror story! What was intended to give vital support to businesses impacted by the UK wide lockdowns was turned into an opportunity to profit off others misfortunes for some.

At Dataplan, we committed to processing and submitting furlough claims on behalf of our clients at no additional cost, ensuring no nasty surprises for them down the line.

Risky business with your payments

Some payroll bureaux’s are not BACS approved, meaning clients have to set up their own payments to employees and HMRC every month. We have also come across clients where there is only one individual authorised to set up the payments. This puts everyone's payday at risk if that person is unavailable due to holiday or, worse, unforeseen circumstances like accident or sickness. Missing payday for your employees can be demoralising and hurt your reputation as an employer, not to mention missing payment to HMRC can put your business at risk of compliance penalties – terrifying stuff!

At Dataplan, we are regularly audited and approved by BACS, meaning we can take all the scary risks out of payments in your payroll cycle.

Social engineering scares

Data security is of the utmost importance when handling sensitive and personal identifying information, so you would think that all payroll providers would have top-notch security processes and procedures in place. Sadly this is not the case, and we have heard of some diabolical practices in the past!

Help desks may seem helpful, but they are pretty horrifying when you consider the threat they pose of social engineering. At Dataplan, we do not offer a helpdesk as we are not the data controllers (the employer is), which means that we cannot verify the identity of individual employees, posing the risk of social engineering taking place.

Instead, our solutions are designed to reduce employee queries through self-service options. If an employee has a genuine enquiry, we accept these through designated contacts who are verified client representatives.

Covert contract sales

We previously mentioned the horror story experienced by some Schools that had their payroll managed by the Local Authority only to have the contract sold to the highest bidder without their knowledge.

You may think this is a rare occurrence,  but we still see Schools experiencing this situation now. We have also seen schools given very short notice periods by their LA causing undue stress trying to find a suitable new provider at late notice. What can then compound the issue is that even if schools are happy with the transfer to an external payroll provider, there can be problems when a glut of schools all try to inboard simultaneously, causing delays and capacity issues with the provider. 

We hope that you haven't had first-hand experience with these genuinely horrifying payroll horror stories. But, if you have, we'd love to have a chat and show you how Dataplan handles things very differently and takes the fear away from outsourced payroll.

Written by Rachel Cooke
Published on October 25, 2021

Dataplan are one of the UK’s leading providers of specialist payroll and associated services.

From payroll outsourcing and pension service management to ePayslips and gender pay gap reporting; we have a solution for you and your business.