The acquirer of choice for UK payroll bureaus.

Do you own or operate a payroll bureau? Are you thinking about the next stage of business growth?  Or maybe you are thinking about an exit for yourself?

We are the acquirer of choice for UK payroll bureaus. To learn more about how we can help, feel free to contact us in confidence today.

 

About Us

TopSource is the acquirer of choice for those looking to sell their payroll business. We have had long-term success growing our own payroll bureau even as we have acquired businesses.

Our vision is simple:

TopSource will be the credible alternative to the major players for payroll and accounting application and support services in our leading markets.

As the credible alternative to the major players, we will have the scale, the infrastructure, systems, breadth of clients, client loyalty and people to deliver the promised service to each and every client within our target markets.

TopSource is the main business and represents 55% of sales of the group. You can find us at www.topsource.co.uk  You can also visit our other brands www.ppay.co.uk, www.myportico.co.uk, and www.roskear.co.uk.

 

 

Our Values & Goals

Values

Our corporate values are reflected in how we deal with clients and colleagues. They are equally applicable to those who work with us by selling us their business.

The hallmark of our business ethos is flexible service underpinned by core values that support our capabilities.  We will use these values as a foundation for interacting with and servicing clients, colleagues and the market as a whole. This ethos includes:

Promised Service: We will be clear about what we will do for our clients, and what we expect of them.  Delivering the promised service will require us to do what we say we are going to do, when we said it would get done, and we will do it according to our documented processes to achieve the expected outcome.  This will include internal clients and external clients.

Pricing integrity: We will charge only what we quote.  We will use clear and precise pricing language (and put this in writing) for our clients to confirm what we will charge, when we will charge, and when we expect to get paid.

Accountability: We are accountable for our work, our actions and our omissions.  When we err, we take responsibility and raise any errors to the party impacted by the error. When we excel, we celebrate the success of our colleagues and our company.

Credibility: We have the skills and infrastructure to achieve our objectives and to deliver the promised service.  We will ensure that our colleagues have the skills to do their job right.

Respect: We will treat our colleagues, clients and partners with respect by being direct and open about issues, opportunities and our understanding of responsibilities.  We will expect the same in return.

Flexibility: When our clients come to us with a payroll or accounting challenge, we will always seek to create and deliver the solution.

Goals

We are targeting a minimum of one acquisition every 12 months. Each acquisition must be commercially sensible, must be profitable and must help us deliver our corporate strategy.

With any business we acquire, we must have a clear understanding of “where the business will fit” and how we can expand the business through careful investment. Integration planning is critical for us to ensure continuity, reduce risk, improve financial performance and ensure client service is maintained.

Acquisitions

Our Acquisition Strategy

Our acquisition strategy is well defined and simple:  We will actively seek and acquire companies that enhance our client-base, increase our capacity and support our Corporate Strategy.

As part of our strategy, we will be the acquirer of choice for payroll bureau owners seeking to exit their businesses.  We will do this by working closely with sellers to help them accomplish their personal goals while we achieve our vision.

We are interested in payroll bureaus of any size and in any region of the UK.

The Acquirer of Choice

We are committed to growing our business through organic means and through acquisitions. Our acquisition strategy is well defined and intended to ensure that we are disciplined in our approach to buying businesses.

To increase our chances of finding the best bureaus, we have embarked on a deliberate strategy to become the acquirer of choice for UK payroll bureaus. We have started on this path through selective marketing, participation in industry events, and nurturing of long-standing relationships. We also have excellent referrals from those that we have acquired.

Our case studies are intended to highlight our successes, whilst being honest about our shortcomings. Read some of our case studies.

In the end, we would prefer that business owners of any size bureau call us directly so that we can work with them to achieve their goals when selling their business. If we do that right, we will also meet our goals.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Q. Can I sell my business, but keep working and earning?

    Yes. Such objectives do not conflict with our goals of growing a great business.

  • Q. How long will I be required to help with any transition?

    This is entirely up to you. We have had deals with no handover and we have had deals with lengthy handovers. Your goals are what matter. How we mutually ensure those happen will be agreed up front.

  • Q. Are you just an investor?

    No. We are payroll people, just like you. We are a bureau and we pay over 100,000 people every month through our payroll business. We are BACS registered. We have over 160 colleagues with the expertise to support payroll solutions. Our clients range in size from 1 to 30,000 employees. We operate three payroll brands and own leading cloud HR software.

  • Q. Why should I sell to you?

    We believe we are the best option for many bureau owners, but we may not be the best for you. If our values and goals align with yours, then we are a great fit. If not, we will encourage you to look elsewhere.

  • Q. What are your values and goals?

    You can see our business values here. Our goal is to be the acquirer of choice for UK payroll bureaus. To learn more about this, go here.

  • Q. What will do with the business after completion?

    That will depend on the structure of the deal, the state of the business, and the client base. We have case studies demonstrating different post-transaction situations. You can read these here. If you stay in the business for a sustained period of time, we will develop incentives to increase growth and reduce costs, but these will be “shared gains” with you. If you wish to exit, we may appoint a professional manager to the business to achieve the same goals.

  • Q. How do you achieve your financial goals?

    We always seek to improve the profits of a business we acquire. Sometimes that is done easily by combining the infrastructures of both businesses. Sometimes we can reduce staff in either business by shifting work to areas where we have extra capacity.  Each small change can have a big impact on the profit of the business.

  • Q. What about my staff?

    The colleagues within any business are the lifeblood that maintains the culture, service ethos and relationship continuity for clients. We always begin our business planning with the intent to retain any and all colleagues. In some cases, we will look at increasing staff levels, in others, reducing staff levels. Most importantly, we will want to understand the risks within the team with colleagues that may wish to leave or retire after a transaction. In the end, we will seek to make the most sensible business decisions that will retain and grow the value of the business over the long term.

  • Q. Where do clients fit in?

    Protecting client relationships is critical to retaining the value of your business. We will craft a strategy with you that takes that into account. We believe that early and consistent client communication helps assuage concerns about business changes. Therefore, we put together a clear communications plan that will allow us to develop a dialogue with clients about any expected changes.

  • Q. How much is my business worth?

    Without more information, it is hard to say. But we are open about what matters to us and what can influence price. To learn more, see additional FAQ's below.

  • Q. How can you help my business grow?

    We have a few ways that we have helped businesses grow. We begin by discussing areas of stress or pressure in the business. We then work with you to find solutions from our own operations that can help alleviate those stresses. Examples of these are contained in our case studies and can be found here.

  • Q. Do you have something new for me to sell to my clients?

    If you don’t have a cloud HR solution for your clients, then yes!  Portico is a great tool that will allow you to generate new revenue from your clients, regardless of size.  We have over 25,000 active users on Portico with clients ranging from 10 employees to 2,500. The system provides substantial functionality that includes full HR support, document storage, login payslips, employee self-service, pension auto-enrolment management, and much more. If you have clients with substantial administration associated with their payroll (e.g. timesheet processing, joiner/leaver forms, etc.) we can help with that as well.

  • Q. How can I get the most value for my payroll bureau?

    If you want us to work with you to ensure you get the highest price for your business, we will provide you some options. To learn more about those options, see the FAQ's on this page or contact us in confidence.

  • Q. Why are you willing to be so open about things?

    Because we want you and your business to make the right decision. If the best thing for you and your business is to work with us or sell to us, then we all win. If we aren’t right for you, then knowing everything upfront will save both of us time and money.

Case Studies

In 2004, we were a small and growing payroll and accounting outsourcing business. We were contacted by a business owner in Somerset. He wanted to sell his group of clients to a trusted firm so that he could retire abroad.

We sat down with the owner and reviewed his client base. It was small, but meaningful and presented us the opportunity to expand further into the leisure sector and into a new region.

We agreed the deal by purchasing the client “book” and working with he and his team through a four-month handover. The sector has been battered with the closing of rural pubs, yet we still retain several of those clients on our books.

You may remember 2007 as the year that the financial crash occurred. For us, it was the year that we brought Practical Payroll Solutions (PPS) and TopSource together. PPS was a solid and growing business based in Kent. The owners were struggling with capacity requirements (people and infrastructure). They also wanted a better work-life balance.

We agreed a deal and TopSource acquired the business. The founding partners continued to run the business. Over the next five years, PPS doubled in size and profits grew 350%. The same team runs the business today and we are proud of having forged such a terrific and sustainable partnership.

In 2012, we were contacted by the owners of Roskear, a payroll bureau based in Leicester. The owners were semi-retired and had hired a professional manager to run the business. When she decided to leave, the owners had to make a choice: hire someone new or sell the business.

They contacted us and we agreed the premise for a deal in less than an hour. Shortly thereafter, we deployed a team onsite to ease the transition from the manager to our team. We continued to support the business for 12 months and then completed the sale in mid-2013.

During the transition time, we were able to address staff requests (three team members wished to retire), upgrade systems, and build relationships with the client base. Out of 180 clients, we lost only one in the first 15 months of running the business.

Today, we have integrated the client support entirely into the TopSource business.

In 2014, we were contacted by the owners of Payroll Bureau, a payroll bureau based in Yorkshire. The founder was still involved in the business, but had hired an excellent team to manage the day-to-day operations.

We met with the founder over coffee half-way between two our offices and agreed the principals of a deal on the day. We provided the details in writing and prepared a timeline that worked for everyone involved.

On completion, we were ready to sit down with the team. They were incredibly welcoming and open to some of our support to reduce stress in their processes. We worked closely with the team to protect the service quality being provided to all 400 clients even whilst ensuring continuity of back-end support for the payroll team (like IT, accounting, etc.).

Today, this business forms one of the core elements of our small company payroll offering.

 

Contact Us

To learn more about how we can help, feel free to contact us in confidence today.

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