What to do when you unexpectedly need payroll coverage

Finding the right coverage for payroll emergencies

Apr 09, 2024

Key takeaways

Turnover and other emergencies can blindside payroll. 

When payroll continuity is threatened, you need seamless coverage. 

Temporary payroll emergency response support is the answer.

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There is no crystal ball to predict when payroll coverage will be needed—and it often happens at what feels like the worst possible time. However, there is an effective answer to successfully sustain your operations for a defined or even an indefinite time. Temporary payroll emergency response support through a trusted third-party provider can seamlessly, securely and accurately continue your payroll process for as long as you need coverage.

Reducing payroll risk pays off

A side perk of tapping into a reputable third-party payroll team to provide temporary payroll services is that your own team may learn quite a bit. Temporary payroll support providers bring deep skills and experience to the table and frequently add value as a bonus resource, spotting opportunities to add automation, make system improvements, catch errors or improve compliance.

The right payroll provider can provide support for complex payroll issues and offer guidance on best practices, but also help reduce the risk of payroll tax errors and penalties through deep knowledge of local, provincial, territorial and federal payroll laws and regulations.

Protect your business with payroll-certified practitioners

While it would be handy to have extra employees who are trained to cover payroll when an essential payroll staff member unexpectedly departs or takes time off, it’s more likely that you have a lean operating team. Whether you have one absence or many vacancies, any disruption creates a burden for the remaining team and potential risk to business continuity and the employee experience.

Temporary payroll emergency response fills those out-of-office or departed staff gaps with certified, experienced payroll providers who know how to jump in when needed to keep employees accurately paid. This service is also leveraged by savvy payroll managers as an employee satisfaction-boosting perk, providing quality coverage when payroll staff want to use earned personal time off.

Some companies may be experiencing frequent turnover, and they need someone who really has the skill set to not only support their processes, but train the new hire when they onboard.
Lorry Twisdale, principal, RSM US LLP

Keeping payroll covered for the long term

When you have lost your key payroll staff, the first step is getting payroll coverage. After that hurdle is crossed, you have options for how to keep it covered long term. If you choose to hire a new payroll staff member, that individual will get up to speed more quickly with hands-on training from someone familiar with your system, payroll process and nuances. A third-party payroll provider can train your new hire, making sure they learn best practices to keep your payroll cycle running optimally.

If you want to permanently protect against unexpected threats to your payroll continuity, you might opt to outsource your payroll function. Having a full-service managed payroll team avoids the need to recruit and train new payroll talent when a department employee moves on. You retain control over policies and procedures while the rest of the work is securely covered by the professional managed payroll team to create a more efficient, accurate, secure and compliant process.

Managed payroll gives you dedicated support with built-in backup and layers of oversight to ensure payroll stability no matter what happens with your business. This stability is often very difficult—and sometimes more costly—to create with an in-house payroll team or limited resources.

Tip: When performing due diligence on a potential managed payroll provider, remember to ask how many layers of backup are built into their service to protect your payroll continuity.

Learn more about protecting your payroll process

You can never predict when your payroll staff will be out of the office. Sure, there may be some forecasting of scheduled vacation time, maternity/paternity leave and holidays, but what happens when your key payroll processor gets sick or has to take emergency leave? What if they abruptly quit or if cause arises for termination?

With RSM’s recent addition of Wise Consulting, a certified payroll services team with over 20 years of experience, you can reach out to RSM for payroll protection when you need it, or engage us ahead of time for known staff outages. RSM’s payroll professionals possess extensive payroll career knowledge and insights from having worked with a wide variety of clients across industries in both the United States and Canada.

RSM contributors

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