It’s not uncommon for Business Continuity Plans to cover the possible interruption of payroll services with a statement along the lines of “resubmit last month’s BACS file”.
That’s clearly a last-ditch option but no doubt there is some comfort to the plan writer, knowing that risk was covered so easily.
In December I was in a client’s office when they discovered the payroll wouldn’t run, about 48 hours before the press-the-button moment. The problem was linked to a software update – everything had gone fine in the test system – and rolling back was really not an option.
Happily the bug was fixed with 24 hours to spare, but not before several of us had grown a few more grey hairs. At least those several thousand staff and pensioners were all paid before Christmas… phew!
The lesson was what a really dreadful option “resubmit last month’s BACS file” would have been: making payments to staff who had now left the company; not paying those who had just started; and screwing up the overtime payments. The mess would have been awful.
If you think the reputation hit may have been managable, then look at it from the point of view of the HR manager. It’s his/her job to make sure those things never happen.
In fact we also generated a new BACS file in Excel, and copied the current month’s pay values into it, using a crafty bit of cut-and-paste and a handy reference to the mysterious fields in the header and footer. You too could have your very own copy of APACS Standard 18.
The spreadsheet now sits in their business continuity armoury, and I’ll never watch a “resubmit last month’s BACS file” plan go past without a challenge again.