Software for small business payroll

According to 2013 statistics from the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, of the 4.9 million registered private sector businesses in the UK, 99.9% are SMEs. This accounts for an impressive 59.3% of overall private sector employment.

Small businesses are the lifeblood of the British economy and, in the realest terms, their success hinges on everyone involved getting paid on time. For those in charge of these businesses, the three cornerstones of payroll involve paying staff:

  • The right amount
  • At the right time
  • In the right way.

For some businesses this can be as simple as paying one staff member the same amount each month. Others have more complex staffing arrangements, contending with staff turnover, differing wages and shift patterns. Either way, accuracy, reliability and adherence to the law are crucial.

One potential option is to outsource your company’s payroll to an accountant, bookkeeper or even a specialist firm. However, this only tends to be a cost-effective option for businesses pushing the upper end of the scale in terms of size.

It also requires a level of communication when it comes to letting those acting on your behalf know exactly who should be paid (if it changes) and how much they should be paid this time around (where variable). For the huge majority of SMEs, it makes more sense to handle your own payroll… provided you have the right systems in place to do so.

In-house payroll for UK SMEs

In the case of many SMEs who only employ a handful of people, the job of processing payroll will fall to the Director. HMRC has published a detailed guide to the digital options available to make this easier.

One of the major elements of the process is the pay-as-you-earn tax (PAYE). This is HMRC’s way of collecting National Insurance and Income Tax without your employees needing to do anything. At its most basic level you simply deduct tax from the salary or wages you pay employees.

If you expect to typically pay less than £1500 in wages each month, the option exists to pay these sums each quarter as opposed to on each payday. The GOV.UK site also has a wealth of information on PAYE to help you get it right.

Once you’re familiar with legislation regarding payroll, the trick lies in putting systems in place to make compliance as easy and painless as possible.

Many businesses on the smaller end of the scale are tempted to just keep simple spreadsheets detailing hours worked, holiday owed and similar data. This is not recommended as it scales poorly.

The larger you grow, the more cumbersome those spreadsheets are going to get until ultimately, you need to transfer it all into one centralised location. That means effectively doubling your time spent on data entry for one of the most frequent and critical administrative tasks.

Taking time to focus on the unique needs of your business and how these fit into the overall framework of paying your employees (and yourself) will help you plan out a far more efficient path.

While you’ll know better than anyone else what steps are best to take, certain principles are common to all SMEs. Investing in the right accounting software is a given when you consider the increasingly (in some fields exclusively) digital nature of the economy and the strong preference most businesses now have for performing transactions online.

With that in mind, the software you use to process payroll needs to be:

  • Accessible
  • Flexible
  • Secure

Selecting software that’s accessible means opting for software that’s easy to use with no special training required. After all, enough of your time is already taken up with the running of your business, you can’t take a day out to go on an accounts training course.

Flexibility in the software you use will help you adapt to your evolving business. You don’t want to be an SME for the rest of your career; nor do you want to tie yourself to systems which will need to be replaced once you grow beyond a certain point.

Also of paramount importance is security. You’re dealing with sensitive financial information and bank details. Your software needs to properly protect this data without standing in the way of the task at hand.

Software from Sage One

Sage One Payroll has been developed specially for SMEs with up to 15 employees. It handles all your payroll needs using the same simple interface on any compatible device. The days of tying yourself to the office computer are over thanks to the power of cloud data storage.

You also benefit from the intuitive automation of the tricky calculations that make payday a chore. With direct links to HMRC, you can also be confident that your payroll is fully compliant with all the latest legislation. Yes, this includes Workplace Pensions.

Sage One online accounting software scales with your business. We share your drive to succeed and grow, so we make it as easy as possible to use the same interface and the same streamlined system whether you have one employee, ten or one thousand. Add-ons and expansions let you develop your operations without needing to waste time transferring to new payroll software.

While we work to make our software as accessible as possible, we also provide 24/7 support from our trained team, for any time you need clarification on any aspect of our service.

Above all, we never compromise on the security of your data. With Sage One you can feel confident that your details are in safe hands without worrying about heavy-handed measures which add unnecessary amounts of time to your task.

Accounts and payroll for SMEs

For the modern British small business, there’s no better way to make sure that everyone involved in your success gets paid on time and in full, all while keeping the tax man happy.

Better, faster payroll means more time developing your business. Are you ready to take the next step? Start your free trial today.