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Waterfall Services

Case Study

About Waterfall Services

Waterfall Services was established in 2007 with one clear aim, to revolutionise what can be achieved in contract catering by combining fresh, innovative menus and a commitment to ingredient provenance with service excellence and a genuine belief in doing everything better.

Their approach to business is simple. They believe in building close working partnerships with all their clients, whatever the sector. Their philosophy is underpinned by their genuine expertise, experience, flexibility, innovation and ingenuity. Waterfall are constantly striving to not just meet customer expectations but exceed them.

Since starting in 2007, Waterfall Services have steadily grown in the face of increasing competition and difficult economic times with a turnover of £56 Million. They are driven by their key values which are passion, integrity and teamwork in the provision of catering, admin, payroll and procurement services.

Waterfall Services was initially formed as the parent company of Caterplus. Caterplus provide a range of services to the residential and care home sector, welfare charities and shelters in the Capital for the homeless, such as St Mungo’s and the YMCA.

2008 saw Waterfall Services acquire Taylor Shaw a successful North West service provider in the education sector that once in the Waterfall family has steadily grown and expanded to include colleges as well as additional primary and secondary school contracts.

Key Requirements

Waterfall were initially using a Bureau Service for their payroll needs. However as the company grew in size they decided to bring their payroll function in-house to give them more control.
They also required a greater level of flexibility that the Bureau service was not providing. Reports were minimal, any extras were charged for and the service wasn’t flexible enough for their growing needs.

Waterfall were also having problems with overtime and absences as information was going directly to the bureau without prior authorisation. This was a huge issue for Waterfall as labour costs were not under control. There was a lack of visibility at the time of payment and reports were only received after the event when it was too late to action.

They needed a solution that was flexible enough to handle their increasing growth, new legislation, more sophisticated functionality and a greater level of visibility.

Choosing a Solution

The decision to move to Miracle was a straightforward one for Waterfall. They already had Microsoft Dynamics NAV in place for their accounts system and have since rolled it out to cover much more of the business. Their reseller recommended MiraclePay Enterprise, as it was the only Payroll solution which fully integrated with their Microsoft Dynamics NAV solution. In fact the Payroll solution is simply another option on the main NAV menu. Their IT department could see the benefits of a fully integrated solution that would require no extra IT resources to run.

Waterfall decided not to go to market to look for any other suppliers as they wanted a fully integrated flexible solution and were happy with the functionality that MiraclePay Enterprise could offer. They made a quick decision as they wanted to move the project along swiftly.

Implementation and Go-Live

Waterfall Services started looking into the Payroll solution around Christmas time of 2009 and went live in April of 2010. As the payroll was previously outsourced, Waterfall had to take on a Payroll Manager and a whole new Payroll department. Wendy Davies joined Waterfall as their Payroll Manager in June 2010.

The Financial Controller at the time, Grant Flexman-Smith acted as the Project Manager and worked alongside Alison Ward, a Senior Consultant from Miracle Dynamics. Waterfall decided that it was vital to have a Project Manager in- house to ensure testing was carried out and timescales were kept to. The go-live was a tense time but successful and after running parallel for three months, Waterfall felt confident that everything was in place.

User acceptance was initially slow, because of a reluctance to change. However once automated services were introduced, the staff started to realise the benefits and time savings. In fact the time savings have been so significant that the Payroll staff have been able to take on additional work like issuing Contracts of Employment which can be mail merged directly from the Payroll. They are now also monitoring DBS’s (formerly known as CRB) which used to be run by the HR department.

The Solution

Waterfall have 3 other offices based in the UK and they each submit a spreadsheet to Wendy Davies the Payroll Manager. They pay around 2,700 employees and have recently acquired another company with an additional 300 staff. These staff are based in over 500 locations across the UK. Each member of staff is on a basic salary and their overtime and deducted hours are recorded onto a spreadsheet. Once received the spreadsheets are loaded into MiraclePay, the import file takes about ten minutes to complete. Prior to installing MiraclePay, it would take around one and a half days to enter the data manually.

Once this was completed a member of the team would then spend a day checking the payroll before it was run. This has resulted in significant time savings for Waterfall as along with the import file time savings, the manual check no longer has to be completed.

Payroll reports are now sent out to each Area Manager in advance of the payroll run. If any changes are required or any payroll issues need to be dealt with, Waterfall have a day to resolve any outstanding problems before the payment is actually made. This has resulted in less errors and more accurate payments being made.

Using Miracle EPayslips has also enabled them to email payslips out to staff usually a day before the BACS payment is made. If any disputes or queries arise from this, they can be dealt with before the salary is actually paid. The employees at Waterfall have welcomed this change as many of them are only contracted to work 10-20 hours per week, so overtime is a big deal for them and to be paid in a timely and accurate fashion is of huge benefit to both employees and Waterfall. This has also resulted in huge time and costs savings, previously it used to take 2 days to complete the payslips, now it’s just a matter of pressing a button!

In addition, they have also benefitted from significant cost savings on postage and printing. Waterfall can still use the traditional paper payslip method for some of their staff who have requested it.

As Waterfall work with educational establishments they deal with Term Time employees and they used to have a problem making automatic pay increases, because they had to enter
in rate overrides to pay staff overtime. The information is now imported into MiraclePay and functionality within the system copes easily with this, which means automatic pay increases are
no longer an issue.

Waterfall also use the MiraclePay P11D software which provides a means to capture employee benefits and expenses for reporting purposes. They used to do their P11D’s manually, they would go on-line, make the calculations and manually complete a P11D. They used to do this for about 60 staff and it took about a week to complete. Now all the data is fed directly into MiraclePay, it’s automatically calculated and the P11D is emailed to the relevant people, so there is no need to print them out.

Waterfall run 5 separate payrolls with 3 PAYE reference numbers. The Primary and secondary schools are all one company but are split into 3 payrolls, they have another payroll for care homes and another for directors.

Waterfall also use MiraclePeople, a fully integrated HR solution from Miracle. Payroll staff at other offices have access to MiraclePeople so they are able to access information and data without having to call upon Head Office. This has resulted in considerable time savings for both HR and Payroll departments.

Miracle and the Future

Wendy Davies, Payroll Manager found that when she initially joined Waterfall, MiraclePay was not being used to its full capacity. The Management team had already recognised this and part of Wendy’s remit was to understand the features and functionality to ensure they were getting the most out of their solution. Wendy attended many training courses at Miracle including RTI and Pension Regulations. Wendy felt reassured that Miracle were up to date with what was going on in the Payroll world and she could rely on them to keep her up to date with the latest legislation. Wendy plans to attend future training courses as every time she attends one, she finds a more efficient way of doing something which in turn saves her time and money.

Wendy also uses the online help and the support desk. Wendy Davies said “I cannot fault the Miracle Help Desk, they always come back to me almost straight away and provide helpful and practical advice”. Waterfall plan to grow their system in the future. They are looking into MiracleTime, a fully integrated Time and Attendance solution. They currently use signing in sheets which the Unit Manager deals with. They are then entered onto a spreadsheet and manually input into the system. They want to save time and make this information more accurate so will be looking at MiracleTime to help them. They also want to look into MyExpensesOnline, an integrated Expense Management solution.


Waterfall have been working with their Miracle solution for some time now and are still realising new benefits. By keeping up to date on new technology and developments within Miracle they have been able to add to their system to ensure maximum benefits. They use the Miracle bi-monthly newsletter, consultancy visits, training courses, the Miracle customer conference and regular communication from Miracle to keep informed.

Waterfall have found that processing times are much quicker, efficiency has increased and there are fewer errors. Because all the systems are integrated, the same data is being used all the time ensuring ‘one version of the truth’. There is greater visibility with the rest of the business and the data is easier to report on. IT costs have been reduced as the system is fully integrated into their Microsoft Dynamics NAV business solution and uses the same technology. In fact the processing times are so much quicker that huge time savings have been realised. With the introduction of EPayslips and Miracle P11D the time savings have been so considerable, the Payroll team have been able to take on additional work. Also financial savings have been made with postage and stationery costs. The FPS is now more accurate, there is no double entry and therefore fewer errors.

Managing the overtime within MiraclePay now has helped to cut down on huge bills and has provided a greater level of visibility. Overtime and absences are no longer the headache they used to be. The reporting functionality has enabled Waterfall to make more informed decisions and has provided a greater level of visibility.


Waterfall Services are a growing company and have found that managing that growth is much easier with their Miracle solution in place. When they take on new contracts it is just a matter of loading the employees onto the system and they are up and running and paying employees correctly and on-time with minimal disruption.

The flexibility of the solution has allowed them to expand without the usual growing pains and the continuous investment that Miracle make into the product will allow them to develop and grow well into the future.

If you would like to know more about Waterfall Services please visit their website – www.waterfall- . Alternatively call their offices on 01925 830577 or email

I cannot fault the Miracle Help Desk, they always come back to me almost straight away and provide helpful and practical advice.
Wendy Davies, Payroll Manager of Waterfall Services
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