You can certainly move software mid-way through the year. Most of the larger software packages have a means of transferring easily from the other larger providers.
I use BrightPay (which is much less expensive than Sage and, in my opinion, is far superior) which has a function to import directly from two Sage files (one for the employee details, the other for the year to date figures). It has a step by step guide on their website on how to transfer from Sage to BP. As a payroll provider, I have had to do this mid-year many times and haven't had any issues. Things you need to look out for that won't be pulled through are:
- Sickness Periods marked on the calendar (they won't be, and so must be done manually to avoid issue)
- Maternity pay (and historical pay for future maternity that is coming up soon, keep the old payslips for this)
- Employee Payslip Passwords (if using any)
- Any EPS figures from Month 1 (employment allowance, SMP, SPP etc.) will need to be entered manually so that they are included in your YTD EPS.
If you do decide to go with BrightPay and you have any questions, they have a great (free for customers) support team, but I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
I switched from Sage to BrightPay years ago and haven't looked back. They are considerably cheaper than Sage and I prefer the layout and functionality in every way. They have a trial package (might be 60 days but don't quote me on this) and sample employer files that you can download from their website if you want to try before you buy. I won't go on spouting all of the features it has but there has been a large list of improvements included with the 19/20 Software Package, they list all of these on their blog section of the website and so you can see how often they make improvements. Plus, I have only seen one price hike in the last 4 years and it is still way cheaper than Sage.
Fingers crossed that you win that client. It's nice to be able to know your income is spread out a bit more, adds to the safety net.
I charged as an add-on, just at the cost price, when first implemented, although I am toying with the idea of including it in the price and sort of saying "this is how we do it here" so that the time savings pay for themselves. It frees up the time to either allow me to win more clients, or to simply relax, which is a hard thing to do when you work for yourself! If you have any idea the sort of scale you might be working towards this year it might be of benefit to buy a package deal as they do offer discounts.
I use BrightPay in a Bureau setting, with BP Connect functionality and I just couldn't recommend it enough. I can't go and bash Moneysoft, as I haven't had any practical experience with the software, but I don't regret my decision to go with BP at all. As for the price rises, I think that the support system (emails, direct from software queries and the phone line) completely justifies the current cost. In fact, I am surprised that they can run the business with such a low one-off fee if everyone asked as much of them as I do!
I started out on my own three years ago and the support/functionality that I got from the system really shaped my success as a business today. It was only more recently that I managed to convince all of my clients to sign up to connect and let me tell you, the automated payslips and P45s alone for me are worth it. No more making sure everything is sent on exactly the right day manually. No more checking off a leavers list after everything is finalised to ensure P45s go out, it just happens! Aside from FPS/EPS and Pensions submissions, when the payroll is cleared with the client, I am done for the month! It's also been a great time saver for me in terms of the reports section. I used to have to generate several payroll summaries, hourly pay summaries, statutory pay summaries, pensions summaries etc. and the client just grabs it all as and when they need it now.
I would say that you need to think about not only the financial implication on 'recovering your costs' but the time as well. I have definitely saved more time moving to connect than I'd imagined when costing it all up.
All in all, can't recommend it enough and personally am happy to pay the current price as it is still highly competitive in my view.
It has been some time since I made the arrangements, but looking in my preferences shows that under 'File Options' my 'Default data file location' shows as a BrightPay folder that I made in the Windows OneDrive folder application. In my case this shows as "C:\Users\admin\OneDrive\BrightPay". Does this answer your question or have I misunderstood?
Good Morning Maria,
I set the Windows OneDrive Folder to be the default area for the files to be saved (both the BP file and the saved reports/payslips). I have had a similar issue once in the past and found that it was simply due to a lack of syncing between the last used device and OneDrive. If you can remember to just check that OneDrive has updated before you log off of your system, then remember to check that OneDrive has updated when you turn on the second system, you should have no problems. My mistake happened when I was working on my laptop and had the internet go down, I hadn't realised and so I missed a change. Once it's happened to you, it makes it easier to keep it in your mind! Unfortunately, these are just the kind of checks that you need to remember to do when using any cloud software.
These days, I have all of my clients on BP Connect, mainly so that I have a BP-backed cloud version of the file in case anything should happen to my devices and/or OneDrive. There are a myriad of beneficial features to BP Connect but thought I would just mention this one as it is a great safety net that certainly puts my mind at ease.
To conclude, it is a perfectly viable way to share information, but you must be diligent in ensuring the synchronisation happens at all contact points. If you can pair with BP Connect, you can always grab a backup from there.
Any further questions, feel free to ask.
Just commenting to endorse the recommendations of BrightPay for Payroll.
Don't have enough experience elsewhere to add in but happy to answer any questions you might have on my experience with various Payroll Packages.
Personally, I don't have much experience with providing services other than Payroll, but I can tell you when deciding on which package to use for my practice, I did not at all enjoy any of the all-in-one packages. I think too many cut corners in the quality of life features and very often a lack of experience on the programmers part. What I mean by that is that if something is designed for a specific purpose, rather than to simply 'offer the full package' to their customers, it will likely have people behind it that actually have had to deal with the gripes that other, less than ideal software creates. BrightPay are who I use and they recently won an award for being the best payroll package of the year (I think for 2018 but not 100%).
I would say that there are lots of inexpensive, specific pieces of kit out there that will get the job done with great functionality, you just have to look for them. I find bigger companies charge a big premium for the 'convenience' of having all things in one place.
Just wanted to throw in that BrightPay is offering free software to registered UK charities. Just send their support team an email to ask about it.
The email is [email protected]
Couldn't vouch for this software enough, to be honest.
Hi Old Timer
I store the BrightPay working files in a OneDrive folder on my computer desktop. As long as I maintain an internet connection (which would be required with any other cloud solution), the files update themselves across all of my devices. BrightPay also have a cloud service where they store all files online for you and so you can download from there too if any issues with OneDrive (or Googledrive/Dropbox if you use those). It is nice to know that I have two safety options. As for functionality and ease of use, I can't recommend BrightPay enough. They offer free demo's on their website if you wanted to see what their interface is like. That's what I used to convince me to switch from Sage. Worth checking out if you ask me.