Welcome back to Galway Chamber’s Business of the Week series. This week, we spoke to Michael O’Hare of OPTiM Payroll.
I’m Michael O’Hare, a native of North Mayo, who grew up in Co. Carlow but living in Galway since 1985. Married to Una with 2 grown-up children. When I have time, I enjoy choral singing and play piano and acoustic guitar. I volunteer with Galwegians RFC and Connacht Rugby and am a past President, Secretary and Treasurer of Galwegians. This year I am also honoured to be President of the Rotary Club of Galway Salthill.
Tell us about OPTiM Payroll.
OPTiM was founded in 2007. We process payroll for a wide variety of businesses across the island of Ireland mainly in the services sector where there is high turnover of employees and varying work patterns. This makes the administration of payroll very challenging for employers and our objective is to ease this administrative burden for them. Our largest customer base is with home care providers and nursing homes. We see these sectors continuing to grow with an ageing population. The introduction of PAYE Modernisation has resulted in a lot of new interest in our service. One interesting aspect is the number of enquiries from Northern Ireland companies who either have Republic of Ireland based employees or have entities registered in the Republic.
How did the idea for OPTiM Payroll come about?
My fellow director Rowena Parker and I had worked as Group Accountants with the Great Southern Hotel Group up to its sale in late 2006. The hotels were sold to 5 different purchasers. Rowena and I had always wanted to run our own business and saw the sale as the opportunity to “take the plunge” into self -employment. We initially offered an outsourced accounting and consultancy service to the hospitality sector. With the recession and collapse of the hotel sector, we quickly saw the need to develop a regular income stream which payroll processing provides. I had overseen the system management of the payroll and HR systems in Great Southern Hotels for over 10 years so it was a natural fit to offer a service in an area where we had many years of experience and knew that we could deliver value for our customers.
Why did you choose to locate your business in Galway?
Having lived in Galway since the mid 80s, we were extremely settled here. The business could really be operated from anywhere but Galway offers so much in terms of lifestyle and quality of life, it would have been very hard to move away.
How does being a member of Galway Chamber help you and OPTiM Payroll?
We have been members of Galway Chamber since the formation of OPTiM. We see it as an opportunity to connect with local businesses and provides many networking opportunities. I also served on the Council of Galway Chamber for 3 years which really showed to me the vibrancy and enthusiasm of the Galway business community as well as the fantastic work undertaken by Galway Chamber in representing us.
Tell us about the services you offer your clients?
As well as processing payroll for clients in both the Republic and Northern Ireland in multiple frequencies, our aim is to automate the process as much as possible and assist our clients in controlling their payroll costs. Using an Advanced Report Writer, we design cost reports tailored to each customer’s need. We look after Revenue Returns, holiday calculations, CSO reporting and bulk payment file uploads where required.
We also assist clients with the installation of time and attendance systems, ensure that they are adequate for their needs and that they interface easily with payroll thus minimizing the amount of manual input. We also provide nominal ledger journals of payroll costs for import into customer accounting systems.
We pride ourselves on our accuracy, our confidentiality and our willingness to go the “extra mile” for our customers.
Are there any major changes you have seen in your industry over recent years?
The ability to email payslips with a PIN number embedded has been a huge help and a major cost saving. GDPR has provided huge challenges for us in terms of data protection and retention. Any files transmitted to and from customers are password controlled and we are actively pursuing even more secure methods of file transfer and retention.
The single biggest change however starts in January 2019 with the introduction of PAYE Modernisation where details of employee pay and taxes will have to be filed with Revenue each pay period prior to employees being paid. It will essentially be like having to file an annual P35 only we will be doing it each time employees are paid. This eventually should mean that Revenue will have correct up to date information on employees who are taxed under the PAYE system and that there is a greater likelihood that their pay will be taxed correctly.
What is the best piece of advice you have been given?
- Believe in yourself and have confidence in your ability.
- Always remember that a chance meeting can be the “slow burner” that becomes a valued customer in the future.