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Payroll Software and auto enrolment pension software

Payroll Software and auto enrolment pension...

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I am researching software for processing payroll and auto enrolment pensions. I currently use QuickBooks, however I am looking into changing to a package which is simple to use with minimal limitations. What packages would people recommend/not recommend and what are the strengths and weaknesses that people have found?

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By Sandarosa
25th Oct 2015 14:09

Payroll software

I have always loved Sage, its robust and the support is great.

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Replying to Wilson Philips:
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By John Wheeley
30th Oct 2015 12:00

Why do you need to use Support ?

Support is not needed if the software works properly in the first place.
 

With Sage, I wasted a lot of time phoning 'support'.

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By JimH
25th Oct 2015 15:10

New account Sandarosa
Joker, troll or vested interest?

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By Jackie0802
25th Oct 2015 19:19

I'm not new,

a troll nor with a vested interest, but agree the Sage is one of the best payrolls I have used, and I've been using them since payroll software was invented! You don't need the auto enrolment bolt on but it is worth it if you have a lot of employees or fairly high staff turnover.

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By Old Greying Accountant
25th Oct 2015 21:29

It's not April Fools day yet is it?

Are these guys serious?

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Replying to jonibarnes:
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By MM Bookkeeping Services
25th Oct 2015 21:34

Sage?

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

Are these guys serious?

Getting near Halloween though!

Brightpay payroll software has my vote.

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Replying to jonibarnes:
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By Jackie0802
25th Oct 2015 21:39

Don't worry

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

Are these guys serious?

 

Not everyone is up to it, we understand

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By Old Greying Accountant
26th Oct 2015 00:45

I've used it ...

... it's the payroll equivalent of tying your shoe laces whilst wearing boxing gloves

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Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
26th Oct 2015 10:41

Price comparison

How much does Sage Payroll for a bureau, plus Pension module if required, cost a year?

I don't know the exact amount, but it is a lot more than Moneysoft which costs £120 a year for software which will handle unlimited companies of up to 100 employees each and deals with AE, CIS and P11Ds as well.  It is also much easier to use than Sage, but even if it were deficient in some respects, I think I could put up with a few shortcomings in view of the price difference.

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By hje
26th Oct 2015 10:43

Ill

jump in and recommend Star Payroll Professional which cetainly satisfies our bureau requirement, but it isn't cheap.

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By ShirleyM
26th Oct 2015 10:47

Sage payroll is good

..... if you want to be 'the in-house' expert, and get paid for longer hours.

It takes you all 'round the houses just to get next door, and takes ages to learn properly. Moneysoft is both cheaper, and better, and is loved by all who use it. I wouldn't go back to Sage payroll if you paid me! It would still be uneconomical in time alone.

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Kevin
By kjmayes
26th Oct 2015 11:26

Try before you buy

Before you decide i would recommend trying different software by using the trials that many offer these days.  They all have pros & cons and many people will love and hate the software for different reasons. 

I have tried quite a few myself, some make it easy and some are a bit long winded but have better features in other areas.  I guess the key thing is to make a list of what you need from your payroll software and what you would like....then go explore. 

Good luck!

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By SteveHa
26th Oct 2015 12:11

Whilst Star is very capable

You have to factor in that it's expensive to start with, and then there are various bolted on costs (such as if you need a bespoke report - £500), as well as the cost of modules.

Whilst it's handy in full on Bureau, I would hardly recommend it for a small practice.

I'll chuck in my support for Moneysoft.

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By peter.wood100
26th Oct 2015 15:00

Qtac - no brainer

We use Sage and Qtac.  Both have pros and cons, but Qtac is far better in most respects and well supported.

It has fully integrated AE functionality (and we like it for CIS too)

Just attended one of their excellent AE seminars.  Lots of good information on their website, including a 45 day free trial

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Replying to the_drookit_dug:
Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
27th Oct 2015 13:49

So ...

peter.wood100 wrote:

We use Sage and Qtac.  Both have pros and cons, but Qtac is far better in most respects and well supported.

May I ask:

in what respects is Sage better than Qtac?if choosing Qtac is a "no brainer", why do you use Sage as well?

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By peter.wood100
27th Oct 2015 18:20

Qtac & Sage

Sage's reporting wins over Qtac, and it's a stronger product for looking after HR issues (fine if you are an employer - but not so relevant for a payroll bureau).  It also links to Sage accounts (I'm plucking at straws...)

But Sage isn't designed as bureau software.  We log in once to Qtac and all the clients are there.  With Sage you need to log into each client individually aargh!

Why use Sage?  It's convenient when we take over a payroll that's already been run on Sage.  Usually we migrate it to Qtac at the end of the year and run the payrolls more quickly.

 

Euan MacLennan wrote:

peter.wood100 wrote:

We use Sage and Qtac.  Both have pros and cons, but Qtac is far better in most respects and well supported.

May I ask:

in what respects is Sage better than Qtac?if choosing Qtac is a "no brainer", why do you use Sage as well?

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By NYB
27th Oct 2015 15:17

Brightpay payroll Software

I swear by this (have no vested interest). My colleague use Moneysoft for her private clients but is switching over to Brightpay. The cost is good - £99 for one employer and £199 for Bureaux. Plus VAT. There are no "add ons". One price for everything and that includes a slick AE system. Very good support - personal. Staff have been there for years and you get to know them by name. Upgrades come through seamlessly - no awkward file saving that occurs with some software packages. As suggested earlier - try it. You can have 60 days free. Personally I can't think of a downside.

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By Kazmc
29th Oct 2015 11:23

A vote for...

A vote for IRIS Payroll Professional.

I know it's one of the more expensive options but the AE Suite is good and does all the comms if needed, its suits our needs definitely.

We moved away from Sage for the sole purpose of not wanting an absolute headache with AE. From what I've heard it was a wise move. 

 

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Replying to the_drookit_dug:
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By Kazmc
29th Oct 2015 11:31

Forgot to mention

Kazmc wrote:

A vote for IRIS Payroll Professional.

I know it's one of the more expensive options but the AE Suite is good and does all the comms if needed, its suits our needs definitely.

We moved away from Sage for the sole purpose of not wanting an absolute headache with AE. From what I've heard it was a wise move. 

 

Also forgot to mention we moved to IRIS and the AE Suite as it uses 'OpenPayslips' which means every employee for every client gets AE comms sent directly to their own personal secure portal where all payslips & P60s are stored also. This is working very well.

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By JDFinling
29th Oct 2015 11:26

mypaye

I have used Qtac and 12Pay in the past.  Both excellent packages, and I would use again if the circumstances were right.

However, my practice is entirely cloud based, so I decided to switch to mypaye.  This is not so intuitive to use, but has very good functionality indeed and meets our bureau needs well.

Support is responsive too, albeit the written support centre is not great.

We have one client using Xero payroll, and on the basis of that decided it was not mature enough yet for our bureau clients needs, so that is on the maybe list.

 

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By djn24
29th Oct 2015 11:29

Iris
We use iris. It is a fantastic piece of software and deals with everything. With AE it writes the letters to employees automatically and runs the tool each time to see who's eligible etc.
It is expensive though- for up to 200 companies it costs around 1200 with support. The AE is a further cost of around £1 per employee per month when using the tool. So not cheap but very good.

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By djn24
29th Oct 2015 11:32

Iris support
The one downside is that the support lines are very busy so if we need to ring them we sigh as it's probably going to be a long wait. Although yesterday I sent an email for support and they called back in about an hour so maybe they have addressed this. That's the one thing that gets on my nerves as it is clearly priced as a premium product and as support is a few hundred pounds each year I would not want to be on hold for half an hour.

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By Old Greying Accountant
29th Oct 2015 11:51

I find the problem with support ....

... is lines get clogged by people using it as a replacement for proper staff training, so those with genuine need can't get through because of people with basic queries that are training and not really support issues.

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Replying to the_drookit_dug:
By djn24
29th Oct 2015 12:06

I agree :-(

Old Greying Accountant wrote:

... is lines get clogged by people using it as a replacement for proper staff training, so those with genuine need can't get through because of people with basic queries that are training and not really support issues.

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By jam2
29th Oct 2015 13:05

Brightpay

I moved to Brightpay from Moneysoft, because of the AE options they are offering. I am really happy with it. Easy to use and good support. Haven't had any problems so far and at £199 a year for a bureau license, it's very economical.

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By Marlinman
29th Oct 2015 13:10

Payroll Software

Moneysoft for me.  Its cheaper than the rest and is so user friendly, I've never needed any support.

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David Ross
By davidross
29th Oct 2015 15:10

What are the AE advantages of BrightPay ?

We are very happy Moneysoft users, including its Auto-Enrolment features.

Is there some advantage in Brightpay? - please explain

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By colinhigginson
29th Oct 2015 15:36

Superpay

Our payroll department won't move away from it - had it 30 years plus and they still love it.

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By 175alison
29th Oct 2015 16:12

Bad experience with Sage at year end
My payroll year end was a nightmare with Sage, I thought it had gone well at first.

Came to process month 1 salaries and the bloody thing would not work, got on to Sage Support, they accessed my computer and processed it for me (saying I would not have got it to go without there help) they sent the rti and it had rolled the previous years figures forward, what a nightmare that was trying to sort out with HRMC

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By kiran.malde
29th Oct 2015 16:58

Superpay

My firm has also been using Suoerpay for almost 30 years. No move away from Superpay for us either. The Bureau licence is slightly more expensive than Brightpay though.

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By John Wheeley
29th Oct 2015 18:16

Moneysoft

I recommend Moneysoft.

Sage is too expensive and cumbersome.

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By Gabrielle
30th Oct 2015 08:21

BrightPay

We have just moved over from Sage to Brightpay.  Takes a while to get used to as we have been using Sage for years but it is so much more cost effective.  We run payroll for about 40 companies and only one was staging in this tax year.  For us to add the AE bolt on in sage they told me that I had to pay for all of my clients to have this - which was substantial figure. 

Bright pay has been really easy to use for the AE side.  However, their help line number (which is very good and friendly) is a premium number but so far have barely had to use it as the payroll is quite intuitive.  

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By whatdoyoumeanwashe
30th Oct 2015 09:42

Moneysoft is great. I'd use IRIS (which I use for everything else) except for the fact I have a lot of clients with one employee and with IRIS you have to pay per client.

Does Sage ever get any new business these days? As far as I can tell it's only used by people who have been using it for decades (and thus leaving it would be a great deal of work). I never hear of a new practitioner choosing it. That must tell us something?!

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Replying to Southwestbeancounter:
By djn24
30th Oct 2015 10:34

Yes Iris is a lot more expensive. Even if the cost was say £1000 more, which it isn't, it is easily absorbed when dealing with over 100 payrolls.
I dont think the additional cost of iris for practice accounting software is worth it however, but then thats another article.

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By Cheesy-peas
30th Oct 2015 10:15

Moneysoft vs Brightpay

Currently use Moneysoft and love it, although I'm thinking of moving to BrightPay because of it's handling of AE. Moneysoft AE is primitive in comparison. Anyone know if Moneysoft have plans of improving the software for AE as I'd rather stay put?

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Replying to Chris.Mann:
Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
30th Oct 2015 10:31

Primitive?

Cheesy-peas wrote:

Currently use Moneysoft and love it, although I'm thinking of moving to BrightPay because of it's handling of AE. Moneysoft AE is primitive in comparison. Anyone know if Moneysoft have plans of improving the software for AE as I'd rather stay put?

Moneysoft issue program updates at least once a month.  If I have a criticism, it is that they don't tell you specifically what has changed in each update - for example, a few months ago, one of their updates introduced the AE letters to employees without saying anything and if I hadn't been exploring the menu bar one day, I would have been blissfully unaware!  I do not doubt that they will continue to introduce enhancements in future months, although I do not understand why you consider the present Moneysoft AE system is "primitive".  It produces all you need off the 'Pensions' menu.  See their guidance on their website.  I think that the main problem that all payroll software providers have is the disparate file formats required by the different pension companies - a standard format would make it much simpler for everyone.

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Replying to kevinringer:
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By Cheesy-peas
30th Oct 2015 10:53

My understanding and I stand to be corrected, is that whilst Moneysoft is capable of doing assesments and generating letters, it doesn't keep a track of what needs to be done and what communications are required in the same way that BrightPay does. I'd be interested to hear from people who have used the software for AE, at the moment I'm preparing as I don't have anyone staging till next year. For instance will Moneysoft tell you if someone's status has changed, without pulling a report and comparing it to the previous month?

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Replying to Paul Crowley:
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By Euan MacLennan
30th Oct 2015 11:58

Not exactly

Cheesy-peas wrote:

For instance will Moneysoft tell you if someone's status has changed, without pulling a report and comparing it to the previous month?

With Moneysoft, you need to run the Pensions Assessment report from the menu each month, but it will list any new eligible jobholders who need to be auto-enrolled, so you can then set them up.

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