Payroll and People Management | Safe-guarding your business during the covid-19 crisis

02 April 2020

The ongoing situation with Covid-19 has presented new challenges for organisations across their business. Most of these challenges are being supported by the HR and Payroll functions; but who is supporting them?

Below are some key areas that organisations should think about to support their payroll and HR department:

Emergency payroll and HR plan:

This can come in many different forms, but at a very basic level, organisations should have a backup resource in place - ideally someone who is familiar with processing payroll end to end. If no backup resource is currently in place, we suggest installing one and testing this over the next few weeks to ensure it is functional. This includes testing the process while working remotely.

For larger organisations, we recommend detailed process guides outlining the end payroll process including all roles, responsibilities and support points such as third-party supports.

We also recommend that clients have a backup to the “backup process” e.g. run a trial payroll and store a flat payroll file (basic salary file, no bonuses or benefits) securely on the network. While this won’t be 100% accurate it will cover 90% of payments and can be used in extreme circumstances to ensure employees are paid.

Scenario Planning is another area to consider and most organisations will need to assume a portion of their staff will fall ill at some period. As a result, it is important to assess what the potential impact and supports that need to be put in place internally or externally to sustain this.

Finally reach out to your software provider / partner to discuss their support plans to ensure the necessary support will be in place for you.

Implement processes and functionality to support / enable employees and managers:

Consider ways of taking the pressure away from your Payroll and HR function by enabling / leveraging new technology and processes to allow employees self-service - particularly in the current environment with most staff working from home. While this may seem like additional effort initially, it will be beneficial in the long term particularly with the uncertainty we are facing today. Enabling employee self-service will also free up staff to focus on higher value tasks that benefit and support your workforce.

UK Tax Year End:

Covid-19 doesn’t recognise borders; nor does it recognise payroll timelines. For clients with UK payrolls, the tax year end is approaching. This is always a difficult period for your Payroll and Finance department and we advise taking this into account when planning for these teams.


Now is an important time to invest in training staff on existing and new skills. This will support your business continuity plan and can be delivered online or remotely with the facilities we have available today.

Legislative Changes

Legislative updates and their knock on affects mean that Payroll departments are currently under extreme pressure. It’s important to keep up to date with these changes - below are some links that may be useful.

Useful Links

Irish Payroll

COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Information for Employers and Employees:

UK Payroll

At BDO Eaton Square we can offer advisory services for companies that are realigning their existing HR and Payroll processes. In addition, we have a team of experienced and qualified consultants who are available for short and long term projects or BAU support to facilitate companies who need immediate additional resources.

If you would like more information on any of our services please contact: