Industry Insights

Switching payroll software - key factors to consider

Rachael Prideaux

In Conversation with

Rachael Prideaux


Figure Fairy

July 2020

With the continuous emergence of new technology in the accounting and payroll industry, it can be overwhelming to know how to evaluate your software and what key features to look out for that will be useful in meeting the needs of your practice.

We speak with Founder and Managing Director of Figure Fairy Ltd, and winner of the 2020 Xero Sole Practitioner of the Year award - Rachael Prideaux, on her thoughts on automated features in technology and key factors to consider when switching payroll software.

Figure Fairy Ltd is a cloud-based accountancy practice based in Cornwall, UK, offering various services from accounting and bookkeeping, to payroll and CIS. With over 20 years of experience and around 100 clients, Figure Fairy Ltd is dedicated to offering personalised experiences whilst helping businesses reap benefits from cloud based accounting packages that streamline processes. 

Figure Fairy, Sole Practitioner of the Year UK

How did Figure Fairy Ltd come about?

I’ve previously worked in a few small practices and discovered the benefits of cloud accounting between 2011 and 2012, and it opened my eyes to a new way of working. The last practice I worked in, were heavily invested in the cloud. Whilst I was responsible for looking after the team and onboarding new clients, I had my own desires on the way I wanted to service a client.

I took the plunge in 2017 and decided that I would build my own practice that focused on offering a unique and personalised service, with the added benefits and efficiencies of cloud accounting. 

Have you used payroll or accounting software that utilises automation to help with processes? How do you feel about automation in general?

Most of the applications I use have some form of automation in them. I began using Receipt Bank in the early days of my practice, and as you can set supplier rules the invoices land straight into Xero, eliminating the need for manual data entry and storage. 

Do I trust automation? Well it depends on the time you’ve invested in the beginning because automation is fantastic as long as you put the time aside to set it up properly. It’s like anything, if you don’t spend the time testing and checking what it’s doing, it could be disastrous. But if you nail it and invest the time in the beginning then yes absolutely, you’d reap the rewards from it. 

What would sway you to make the decision to make the switch from one payroll software to another? 

Integration with an accounting software would be a big one for me because you don’t want to be manually inputting any data, and also the continued support of the vendor. There’s a lot of software that I’ve tried, where the support during the trial period is amazing. However, as soon as you commit to buying, the support drops off which is quite disappointing. Ongoing support is therefore massive for me, particularly as the software continuously develops. The efficiency level of the software is also another crucial factor. I don’t mind paying a higher price as long as I’m getting the speed, efficiency, and the time savings benefits from it. 

What’s the most valuable thing for your firm? 

The number one thing for me is the experience of the client and their level of satisfaction. If you’ve got a happy client then they do your marketing for you, so client focus will always be my number one followed by internal efficiencies within a practice, not just from a cost saving perspective but for the greater experience for that client to know we’ve always got their back, they know that we’re always here for them. 

Follow Rachael on Facebook or Twitter, or find out more on her website.

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