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In my job as a book-keeper I also do the payroll for one or two of my customers and have been using Sage Payroll for the last year or so. Before I used this I used to sit with all the manuals laid out across the table trying to work out which week and which allowance I should be using. This was fine until you have to do this procedure every week for 20 or more employees and then fill in each record card and then write out a payslip. Laborious or what !! It got to the stage where I just didn't look forward to Thursday evening - WAGES DAY !! Now, over the years I have come across all walks of people, some very sharp and some less so. It always seems strange to me that everybody appears to be on the ball when it comes to wages. You might have trouble recalling your 5 times table but you know whether you've been underpaid by 50 pence ! Bearing this in the mind the thought that - heaven forbid - you could make a mistake on the payroll is enough to push anyone towards a computerised package. I have used other Sage products and decided to try their Instant Payroll , not least because their product was £100 compared to some far more expensive versions. I found the whole installation procedure extremely easy from inserting the C.D. (they will supply on floppy if required) to actually setting up the employee details. There is a step by step guide to putting on both new and existing personnel as well as information on what to do with those P45 figures. I would recommend backing up after each payroll since the restore process is quite useful if needed. The data takes up quite a lot of space so you might need two disks to back up onto. It is also quite useful to purchase Sage Cover. This is a 12 month maintenance type of cover, it gives you access to the helpdesk as well as up to date payroll details sent to you after budget changes and tax year ends. This is currently £85 per year and being a Sage Cover member gives you a 10% reduction in t
he Sage shop for stationery etc. When you have processed your payroll you can view the payslips on screen and then either print to plain or designed paper - it's best to print another copy for your records so that you can sort out those niggly little problems. The year-end is also straight forward, with a manual and disk sent to you in plenty of time with step by step instructions on how to produce those all important P60's. There are columns for student loan and tax credits so that you can fill in all the year-end paperwork effortlessly. This excellent piece of software is a great bargain and can be found for around £100 but you can only use this particular product for one set of data. If you are trying to run payroll for more than one company there is a multi-user version available. I have used other forms of payroll programs but find this to be by far the most user friendly. If you'd rather have a headache free pay day why not try this software - you'll be glad you did.
I was not initially going to write a comment about this software but when I read a few of the comments that were already there I thought I had better give others another opinion because going by these comments sage are doomed. I am definitly no accountant and infact only use the payroll software part time in a family business. I am someone who will not buy anytrhing without trying out the opposition first. After numerous demo versions of accountancy software I finally went with Sage. I found that it was easily worked through and set up as the wizards provided with guided you through everything very efficiently. Sage as cut the time spent on wages in half in our business and I find it very easy to use. the instruction manual granted could be improved but if someone with no previous experience in book keeping can master it then anyone can. I would definitly give it a try before purchasing despite what the other comments say!
I wrote this originally as a comment, but got carried away! In my view, any payroll software will save time and trouble, which is probably why people who haven't used anything else think that Sage is OK - indeed, I would say that payroll is the application that users are most enthusiatic about when they've switched from doing wages manually, but I think that the current version of Sage is clunky and horrible. Their backup is pretty crummy, too, and we keep finding things that it won't do (like print the payslips in your preferred order). We had a lot of problems at the beginning of the financial year, and were regularly kept waiting for 10-15 minutes on the phone, despite having paid £300 for the 'hot-line' cover. We used to use the DOS version, which had some limitations, but was fast and in many respects easier to use than the Windows one. Because your hands are always switching from the keyboard to the mouse, the Windows version is much slower to operate, and it adds at least an hour to the entry of our data. We also had to redesign all our old reports, as the Windows version wouldn't read the DOS ones! Sage is dominant in this area for the same reason that Microsoft is - it's been well marketed and is known to most accountants, who recommend it simply because they've heard of it. Nothing to do with merit. Other packages, such as Freeway Payroll, are much cheaper and easier to drive, and have better backup. In fact, almost any would probably be better than the Sage offering! 2001 update - the new version for this tax year has a few amendments, most noticeable of which is that installing it promptly loses all the report layouts that you had carefully set up for the previous version! Well, it doesn't actually erase them, but you have to know where they've gone (and more importantly, that the new ones may be different). We first spotted this when trying to print payslips
on Sage's own stationery! This necessitated a call to the helpline, which entailed quarter of an hour on hold... God, I hate this program. Note for Instant Payroll users (the cut-down version for small businesses) - whatever you do, don't try to install the new version to run in parallel with your old one. Everything will appear OK until you try to access your original data, when you will find that it has been overwritten by the new records. Good, eh?
Ok, imagine the senario...I am sure so many people out there with small businesses have the same. Manual payroll systems with loads of papers and books and chartss that take ages to do once a month (or more if you have weekly staff too). That is what we had before we decided to invest in a payroll system. it was the end of year payroll that really killed me using manual systems as it took a whole day and as I hadnt had any previous proper training in payrolls it was a complete nightmare. I chose sage as I had heard a lot of good reports about them and also done a lot of surfing on the net finding out information and every time I came across a website they were recommending Sage. I eventually came to the Sage website and found some very useful information. Filled in a form and a member of their sales team phoned me the next day and answered all the questions I had. i was able to order it over the phone and they invoiced my company and it was delivered to me the very next day. The installation process was very quick and easy and I had no problems. Once i had been through the demo company that comes with it I was ready to set up all my own details. It literally only took me about an hour to set up all the employees from scratch (about 10) and also do the first months payroll. I was very impressed. Also with the program you get what they call SageCover which is access to their technical helpdesk for any problems you have. Also , you get discounts on the stationery to be used with Payroll. The system itself is great and very easy to use, whereas before it was taking me between 1 and 2 hours to complete a normal monthly salary calculation for 10 employees, it now only takes me about 30 minutes maximum and most of that time is my printer, printing out the payslips!! I thoroughly recommend this program to anyone currently using a manual payroll system!
I tried this product, I really did. But it turned out that it didn't like me.. so I thought. The installation was an entire nightmare and simple wouldn't run according to what the manual said it should do. When it finally did run the network support was terrible and flakey as hell. The ODBC implementation used for network support will not, in my opinion as a DB developer, handle many more than 3 concurrent queries without killing the machine it's one and causing everyone to go for an early lunch while waiting for results. Overall a poor installer supported by Sage badly. To be honest I didn't have the will to give the product as full attention as I should have once installed. Needless to say that with an installer this bad the software handles much the same way inside.