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What do you do?

What do you do?

We are a very small practice. My wife does payroll for about 40 clients, about 30 weekly. Now we are coming to that time of year where we are closed next week. Most of them are quite happy for us to do 2 weeks payroll in advance. However there are 1 or 2 who are saying i'll send it to you Saturday because I won't know until then. They won't estimate it because they are worried they might have to pay out an extra £1 or £2 and won't amend in January.

Now, I remember when I originally started in the 1980s and worked in my father's practice. Wednesday and Thursday was wages day and that was. I can just imagine the lady who did payroll then putting up with this. She'd say in advance or not at all. What does everyone else do. I can't imagine many preparing payroll on Xmas Eve!!!


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18th Dec 2012 15:47

It is up to you . I would do the payroll


You can say no .  At the end of the day Christmas Eve is not a holiday.  Maybe you could ask them to get it across as early as possible. 

Your in business so I do not think it is an unreasonable request as a lot of staff pull sickies around this time.  The other option is say  no and next year they will probably look for another provider.  It will probably not bother them as they sound concerned about cashflow. 


Kind Regards Sarah Douglas . Douglas Accountancy and Bookkeeping Services Glasgow 



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By mrme89
18th Dec 2012 16:58

I half agree with the above post. However, although xmas eve is not a holiday, how many people will be busting a gut on this day? I won’t be, my colleagues won’t be, and I’m sure our clients / suppliers won’t be.


I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request for you to do the payroll and make necessary adjustments, especially if it’s weekly payroll we are talking about.


Just ask yourself – how long will it take to process the payroll? Just be aware that you will be setting a precedent.    

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18th Dec 2012 17:25

the answer is very simple I am afraid

If you are willing to take on weekly payroll clients, then you should be prepared to process them on a weekly basis, meaning all 52 weeks of the year.

If you don't want the hassle of doing this, then I would outsource to a payroll bureau.


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18th Dec 2012 17:37


Tell them the rules in good time. Most clients will be reasonable. We have a policy whereby if we don't receive details by a predetermined date we run the same data as last time. If the client needs to make a late change they pay a rerun fee.


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By 0098087
18th Dec 2012 20:32

Well considering this particular client has done it in advance when he's gone on holiday. Apparently he doesn't think we should have one. He has come back from holiday and needed it adjusted after texting after 9pm which we have done. We have processed payroll at the weekends and the evening when it's been late. There is one we do on a Sunday on a regular basis. This client always likes it for Tuesday and would expect it on Christmas Day so I don't think we are being unreasonable.


Question, next year when he's away i take it he'll have to let us have his payroll information from where ever his is on holiday because an estimate will be 'wrong' for RTI.

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18th Dec 2012 20:56

He is your customer not the other way around


If you do not like the way the client operates then encourage him to move on.  If you need to re process then it is up to you to have this covered in your charges.  

At the end of the day you are providing the service and getting paid not the other way around.  

I think you should have warned him months in advance that payroll would not be process.  I did that with my weekly payrolls.    

That said if you do not like the way he operates and you feel it is costing you money.  Tell him in advance to find someone else for next year. 

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19th Dec 2012 08:09

Boxing day

We operate a lot of payrolls for pubs which pay by the hour.

We have arranged all hours to be sent to us on Christmas Eve and will process on boxing day.

I really do not want to have some 150 employees with estimated pay over the Christmas period.

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19th Dec 2012 10:02

I agree ....

.... with Sarah Douglas and Peter Kilvingotn.

I too am not a fan of the estimated payroll - it is not ideal for the employee (at a costly time of the year) and from personal industry experience the next payroll can be a pain, particularly if people are off sick (and have already been paid) and timesheets go unauthorised or go missing etc.

You end up doing almost double the processing in the last payroll and same again in the next payroll - I have found it easier to process as normal, without all the additional work, guesstimates and adjustments.

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19th Dec 2012 10:57

It's customer service

We're in the same boat.  Closed next week, BUT we'll be sorting a couple of weekly payrolls on Monday.

They are the clients, it's our job to help.

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19th Dec 2012 11:40

Open all hours

Same here, weekly payroll done as normal.

Bah humbug!


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19th Dec 2012 13:24

I wouldn't do it

They are your clients and we should all try and do a professional job, but that doesn't mean we should be at their beck and call. Small businesses and small accountants are in it together (or should be) and need to have a working relationship which allows for give and take.

It's pretty clear from your post @ 20:32 (I would ask why are you still working at that time, but that's another topic completely) that you're already bending over backwards for this client ands that they're push-push merchants.

For me, the real issue here is not whether you should bend over again for another caning but whether you really need this particular client at all. You don;t have to sack them, you can just introduce a few ground rules, hope to steer them a bit more towards the middle ground but accept that they might not stay when they no longer get their own way every time.

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By 0098087
19th Dec 2012 13:31

There you have it, working at 8.32 because we go the extra mile. I'm just waiting for the fun and games next year when he wants to estimate because he will be away on holiday and he won't be able to under rti!!!

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19th Dec 2012 13:39

A compromise?

Charge them a LOT extra for working unsocial hours and/or at short notice. If they really want a platinum service where the task is completed at their convenience whenever that may be, then they should be willing to pay for that flexibility.

If they want platinum service for brass tack fees ... then they really are not worth keeping.

Personally, we don't do any payroll and just introduce clients to a bureau we know & trust.

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19th Dec 2012 14:08

Weekly means weekly

Speaking personally, if you're offering weekly payroll processing I don't see why clients should have to estimate pay (or other shenanigans) because you'd like a week off. Christmas Eve is a normal working day for some people, and a pleasant, "pretend to work until 11:30 then go home" day for others, and that's the way things are. If you have payrolls to process on Christmas Eve then so be it.

On the other hand I don't see why you shouldn't have well defined (and profitable) additional charges for late notifications, revisions, and supplementary runs

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19th Dec 2012 14:43


Agree with the above - these clients pay you money so have a right to dominate your life and buy your Christmas, and the christmas of your staff.

If you submit a reasonable request to them once a year at Christmas Eve to provide a workaround and they say no then who are you to question?

I always make sure that if I pay someone for a service and they are not available 24/7 364.5 days of the year (I give them Christmas Day morning off - not afternoon mind) then they are quickly binned to make room for someone who says 'how high' when I say jump.

Obviously you cannot provide a professional service if you cannot meet these expectations.

Now, if you have any questions on this then let me know, in the meantime I'm just going to try and remove by tongue from my cheek.


Merry Christmas!


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By 0098087
19th Dec 2012 15:15

See I understand where most of you are coming from regarding the weekly payrolls and some of you if you take them on you have to do it, but when you take a pub on they want a weekly payroll. It's something you have to do, you have no choice. It seems in the odd case it's one rule for them and not for us. We do go out of the way, as i've said before but they forget that, and we can't afford to tell them to go elsewhere

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20th Dec 2012 11:46

Christmas Eve is a working day


Their not asking you to work on Christmas Day their asking you to work on a normal working day which thousands in the country do.   Fair enough if you notified them months back that your offices were closed from .... to ..... .    I do not think that is selling your sole.  For instance I get annoyed if firms ring me on the 2nd January or the Holiday we get on the monday if it falls on the weekend.  

It is a holiday in Scotland.  Now I just turn off my phone as I am with Family or usually at a party.  My clients know that.  I make sure I do not ring anyone in England on Holiday either.   This also applies to anyone who rings someone when they are on the annual leave and they have been informed.   I have worked out in Scotland after 13 years it is the best time to take off as nobody wants anything done. 

You run a business so you make plans for your work to be done. 

I love Christmas Day and I would not dream of working on it either.   This is the pubs busiest time of the year so the Salaries can increase quite a bit. 

Before anyone says anything about us getting a extra holiday in Scotland.  We don,t we get different days, we don,t take August or the one in May. 

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