CIPP benchmarking survey

25 June 2018

This article was featured in the July - August 2018 issue of the magazine.

More and more frequently payroll departments are finding that they are at risk of being outsourced or need to be able to justify their efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Being asked to prove to your employer how valuable the payroll department is, is an increasingly common position for members to find themselves in and here at the CIPP we are often asked if we can help members compare themselves against other similar organisations. 

A key benefit of full, fellow or Chartered membership of the CIPP is the opportunity to take part in the benchmarking survey which will give you the answers you need if ever you are placed in this difficult position. Another benefit of taking part in the benchmarking survey is the opportunity to help shape the future of your profession, whilst enhancing your knowledge and better understanding of your market position.

The benchmarking survey is designed to measure the four key strands of providing a payroll service. These are:

  • accuracy, timeliness and completeness and the evaluation of the effectiveness of your end to end human resources/payroll process resulting in every company that takes part in the survey being awarded a Sigma level for their payroll service
  • compliance with statutory filing/payment deadlines
  • data security/confidentiality
  • an average cost per payslip which will help demonstrate efficiency and value for money.

What is benchmarking?

A benchmark is a standard against which something can be measured.  Benchmarking comprises management finding the best performing companies within their industry, or in others that involve similar processes. Thereafter, comparing the processes and results of similar organisations to their own company processes and results. This enables participants to identify how well these organisations perform and how they get their results. Additionally, this enables participants to identify opportunities and uncover strengths and weaknesses within the organisation.

Benchmarking enables you to set and monitor realistic yet aggressive objectives, giving your team the power to be the best they can be within your industry. Another advantage is it provides you with a blueprint for gaining a competitive advantage, as you and your team strive for continuous improvement.


Six Sigma

Six Sigma has traditionally been used in the manufacturing sector to detect defective parts etc before they reach the customer. More recently the same methodology has been applied in the service sector to measure the effectiveness of transactional processes such as accounts payable and payroll. 

Our aim at the CIPP in offering this benchmarking survey is to measure/benchmark your payroll process with a Sigma level. A Sigma level of six being totally flawless (which is not normally seen in the service sector) whilst anything less than a Sigma level of three would suggest there is plenty of opportunity for improvement.


The CIPP benchmarking survey

Benchmarking is only beneficial if the information provided is accurate and honest; therefore, you should be as honest as possible when answering questions so that you can gain a true understanding of your organisation’s payroll and how it compares with others in the market.

The survey should take no more than twenty minutes to complete. You should  have to hand, information about your HMRC transactions and payslip figures, along with the latest budget costs for your payroll for the current financial year.

Following completion, you will be provided with a copy of the benchmarking report. Thank you in advance for participating. 


To take part in the survey, please use the following link, or log into the members area of our website: 


If you are an affiliate or associate member and would like details of upgrading to full membership, please email us: [email protected].