With Trace I rediscovered the sort of personal service I feared didn’t exist anymore. One point of contact. One payroll officer with whom I’ve built a really strong working relationship. I have the confidence my payroll will be right. I trust them. I wanted a payroll service that was spotless every month. Trace’s is.
- Rob Green, Controller of HR and Payroll
Sydenhams Ltd was founded in 1874 as a timber importer and merchant. Still a family firm, and having added building supplies and tool and plant hire to its offerings, it operates over 20 branches throughout Dorset, Hampshire, Wiltshire, Somerset and the Isle of Wight. The company employs around 350 people and is proud of its family heritage, its service, and its independence – qualities it appreciates in its payroll services provider.
“We’d had a good relationship with our previous provider,” explains controller of HR and Payroll, Rob Green, “but they were part of a much larger organisation and the parent company decided to move processing overseas as part of a cost-cutting exercise.”
Rob’s worst fears were quickly realised: “Payroll isn’t general inputting. It’s complex. You need knowledge and understanding of the businesses you’re working with – and all of a sudden we found that vanished. Errors crept in. Accuracy fell and the relationships I’d built fell apart because the people were no longer there. I no longer had one person handling our payroll; no single point of contact. I didn’t feel there was anyone left who understood our business – or cared about it. I knew it was time for us to move on.”
Rob’s search for a new payroll services provider saw him consider many possibilities, but he narrowed the field down to four, with Trace
Payroll Services the successful candidate.
“There were a number of factors that made us choose Trace,” says Rob. “I liked the fact that, as an organisation, they felt like us: a rich heritage, a family firm; independent and committed to keeping their work within the UK.
“Then there was the service. With Trace I rediscovered the sort of personal service I feared didn’t exist anymore. One point of contact. One payroll officer with whom I’ve built a really strong working relationship. He understands me. I understand him, and he’s always available by direct dial, so there’s no delay in getting through to him, and getting my questions answered. Nothing gets missed.”
For all the attractions of personal service, independence and shared values, cost was a key driver of the decision.
“Trace had to be competitive,” says Rob. “Happily, they were. The result is we now get a service we really value for around 30% less than we were paying our previous provider. It’s a no-brainer really, isn’t it?” Sydenhams’ new payroll service went ‘live’ in September 2010, just 3-months after signing a 3-year contract with Trace, and Rob was delighted with how simple and easy the process was:
“It was a seamless handover, and it’s stayed seamless ever since.”
Rob’s experience with Sydenhams’ previous payroll services provider meant that Trace had to earn his trust, a process that began with achieving the sort of consistent accuracy he had lost.
“I do the inputting; our Trace payroll officer runs the payroll every month. It’s a simple one- to-one process and it means there’s so little room for error. Trace sends me a preview of the month’s payroll so I can check online to make sure everything’s correct. That’s a safeguard I never had before.”
For Rob, the difference is clear:
“I have the confidence my payroll will be right. I trust them. I wanted a payroll service that was spotless every month. Trace’s is.”