How To Deal Effectively With Back Office Providers

November 05, 2014

Agree on who does what

Also known as managing the expectation gap, quite often relationships fall down if the client expects a certain level of service or expects the provider to do more than the provider believes they should be doing.  What may seem logical to a client as an instruction might not be for the payroll provider.

For example we are quite often asked to complete P11d’s for our clients, this is not strictly a payroll responsibility but if one party think it is and the other doesn’t it can lead to problems

Agree on deadlines for provision of information and services and stick to them

When outsourcing to a backoffice partner it relies on a flow of information to and from your provider.  A payroll provider can’t do their job unless the have the right information and you need to ensure whose responsibility it is to provide details of new starters, pay rates hours, etc

If you are constantly late with providing information and provide incomplete information this puts the payroll provider on the back foot and mistakes can happen.  Resulting in an unhappy client and payroll provider.

Meet the staff at the outsource provider

Meeting face to face with the person or team actually providing the services to your company can really help in building a relationship.  Educate them about your business and the people that are being paid.  All businesses and their employees are different and the services provided often need to be tailored slightly, so ask the provider if they offer different service levels for more/less demanding situations.

Remember it is a relationship

There are two parties to any relationship and it requires effort from both sides to make it work effectively.  Quite a lot of our clients expect us to manage a part of their business, this is simply not the case and some responsibility for ensuring the service is delivered does rest with the client as well as the supplier.

Mistakes will happen and its how these mistakes are handled by the supplier that is key. Being open and honest and dealing effectively with an error and putting in processes or controls to minimize future occurrences of the mistake should be the objective rather than a balling out of the supplier and expecting credits or free services.

Its like all relationships – both parties have to work on it for it to be a success!