Case Study - Avery Healthcare

Payroll with Perks Global supports rapid expansion at Avery Healthcare

Following a period of significant growth to 50 care homes, with 4,000 employees, Avery needed an outsourced payroll solution that could grow with it, while also ensuring efficiency and strong cost management.

Outsourcing its payroll to Payroll with Perks Global was a critical business decision, but since the partnership has come into force, Avery is now benefiting from the delivery of smooth payroll implementations, efficient processes, timely reporting and support for key changes such as Auto-Enrolment.

Download our case study to understand how Avery is now able to:
Support aggressive growth objectives and rapidly increasing staff numbers
Implement a streamlined, efficient end-to-end payroll process
Capture the hours worked by staff members thanks to a Time & Attendance solution
Manage multiple Auto-Enrolment staging dates with expert payroll support

Care Provision

The UK care sector is facing enormous financial challenges. Despite rising demand, the number of residential care homes has fallen by six per cent over recent years, and the implementation of the new National Living Wage (NLW) is set to add significantly to the cost base. For Avery Healthcare, an established operator and developer of care homes for the elderly, with a national reputation for delivering purpose built, high quality, design led care homes, this challenging marketplace represents a clear opportunity for rapid expansion.

In addition to being one of the few care companies in the UK with an active building programme, in recent months the company has also added significantly to its care home portfolio through acquisition – and now has 50 care homes and 4,000 staff, including administrative staff at headquarters in Northampton. With many of care home staff, including housekeeping, kitchen and care assistants, working less than 30 hours per week, across diverse shifts, Avery has a complex and ever changing payroll overhead.

Following the standard model within the care sector, the company runs each home as a separate limited company – an approach that creates 50 individual payrolls both four weekly and monthly. Jugdeep Singh, Group Commercial Accountant, Avery Healthcare, explains, “As a company we buy and sell care homes – the business size continually changes and evolves. Maintaining separate operations for each care home is far more flexible and easier to manage.” It does, however, demand highly effective and efficient payroll processes to minimise internal administrative overheads.

Inherent Scalability

The speed of expansion is impressive – in 2008, the company had just four care homes. However, having identified a clear opportunity, Avery’s management wanted to ensure the company was well placed to support aggressive growth objectives. A key aspect of this strategy was an outsourced payroll model and the existing service provided by a local firm of accountants could not offer the scalability or flexibility required to manage another 50 to 90 staff with each care home added. Singh adds, “Cost was also a key consideration – the existing fee structure did not fit with the business plan.”

Having reviewed the market, Avery opted to outsource its payroll to Payroll with Perks. In addition to an ability to support Avery’s rapidly changing staff numbers, Payroll with Perks also offered a far slicker payroll model and delivered in depth reporting. “With this number of care homes accurate reporting is essential to enable efficient operations,” Singh says. “Payroll with Perks’s approach significantly reduces the amount of time required by our payroll managers.”

Streamlined Model

The end to end process is extremely efficient. Avery has deployed a Time & Attendance solution at each care home to capture the hours worked by staff. The system provides an export at month end, which is sent to Payroll with Perks to create the payroll. This information also includes joiners and leavers, as well as staff off sick, ensuring a seamless, accurate payroll run.

In addition to undertaking all the PAYE and deduction calculations, Payroll with Perks also provides Avery with a nominal journal which can be quickly imported into the company’s finance system. “This accurate payroll information is an essential factor in managing costs each month,” says Singh. “The speed of turnaround is also excellent, with payrolls provided typically within a day of Payroll with Perks receiving the T&A information – even quicker if there is a specific issue to address.”

Payroll with Perks’s accurate payroll reporting is feeding into core finance systems and helping Avery to gain greater insight into the business cost associated with NLW – an introduction that is expected to make significant waves across an industry with a high proportion of minimum wage employees.

Legislative Support

In addition to assessing the impact of the NLW on overall costs, the care sector is also complying with the new Auto-Enrolment (AE) pensions requirements. With each care home operating as a separate company, Avery is managing a number of different AE staging dates. Indeed, just 40% of the company has enrolled in AE to date. 

However, Singh confirms that the process has been extremely straightforward. “Payroll with Perks confirmed that it could work with whichever pensions provider we opted to work with – indeed was already setting up templates for the main suppliers,” says Singh. “Once we had made the decision, it was pretty straightforward. We just tell Payroll with Perks the staging dates for each company, they provide the exports, we import it and make the required payment when required. It is a good process.” 

He continues, “The great thing about Payroll with Perks is the ready access to a team of people who have broad knowledge about a range of payroll issues.”

Flexible Business
Few organisations would be able to scale up – or down – internally to manage the speed of change in business size experienced by Avery in recent years. As Singh says, “With an outsourced provider, I don’t have to worry whether we have 50 homes, 100 or 10. In April 2013 we sold some homes and dropped down to 15; now we are back up to 50. All we have to do is to tell Payroll with Perks that 15 payrolls are moving elsewhere or that there will be 30 new payrolls next month and the implementation team gets ready. It just works.”
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