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Sage 50 Payroll adds auto enrolment features

16th Apr 2014
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Sage has upgraded its latest edition of Sage 50 Payroll to cater for the demands of automatic enrolment. Robert Lovell takes a closer look to see what the new version has to offer.

More and more employers are getting to grips with the new legal duties that require them to automatically staff up for qualifying pension schemes.

With an impending “capacity crunch” for small business staging over the next two to three years, the latest Sage 50 Payroll: Auto Enrolment Edition specifically caters for the job ahead. The application costs from £25 a month for a single company with up to 25 employees, with 

When designing the software Sage worked with The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to ensure it complied with the new regulations. A Pension Centre sits at the heart of the application and links to the regulator's website to deliver step-by-step guidance. It includes a handy timeline and checklist to create a personalised action plan based on TPR’s best practice and ensure you’ve covered everything before going live. 

The Pension Centre lets you assess your workforce and tells you when an employee qualifies for a workplace pension by age and salary.

The software will run a report to find out who’s eligible and how much it will cost you in contributions. It will also help you set up pensions schemes quickly and easily and generate the usual generate payslips, payment summaries, holiday and absence reports.

The software lets you create reminders to keep everyone up-to-date with what needs to be done and export deadlines and milestones to Outlook, iCal and other calendars.

The Report Browser contains a library of forms and reports including P32, P35, P60 and P11. The report designer will also let you you analyse data and create your own bespoke reports.

Also available as an optional extra for £14.99 a month is a Pensions Module to deal with the specific administrative demands of enrolling your workforce. The module - which will not work with earlier versions of Sage 50 Payroll - will check your employees against the auto enrolment criteria and manage the pensions data and payments of those who are opted into your scheme.

The Pensions Module will package up all the data you need to send to the scheme provider and handle the necessary communications to your employees. Sage's objective was to take the stress out of preparing for and administering workplace pensions. Having integrated payroll and pensions in this way should make it easier for businesses to navigate through the auto enrolment process.

Replies (5)

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By Castroggi
18th Apr 2014 08:20

auto enrolment features


having read this I'm still not clear on what 'The Pension Centre' does beyond standard payroll functionality, save for a report on employee eligibility.

Is this yet more money for old rope?

Regards, Paul

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By tom123
20th Apr 2014 07:41

The big problem, as I see it -

I don't have a problem assessing my workforce - of the 28 employees I have, three are not in the pension - but would all need to be under AE.

The missing link for me in AE is that no payroll software can 'upload' someone into the pension scheme with my pension provider.

I still need to involve - and pay - our IFA to do this.

I have no plans to pay further charges to Sage to tell me what I already know.


I would like to use Moneysoft, but that is a whole different matter in my firm..

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By Moonbeam
28th Apr 2014 12:50

Sage's Autoenrolment module

The article implies that somehow this module has just found its way onto the marketplace. I can only describe it as an advertorial.

The Sage AE module was introduced, with much fanfare around December 2013. It was full of bugs and  badly written software and not fit for purpose. As one of the purchasers of this truly awful product, I have spent hours of my time trying to get to find out what Sage meant it to do, trying to get it to do that and having to do things manually because of the errors, and bugs.  That's in addition to having to do lots of things manually that I had assumed it would do, such as tom123 describes.

As for the Sage helpline, the people I managed to speak to in early 2014 were more hopeless than helpful. It's now impossible to speak to anyone on the payroll helpline and for those with this module, that's maybe no bad thing.

Ah yes, I forgot - I was assured by Sage that they would sort out these problems. They have sorted some things out. The csv report meant for download each month to the pensions website now shows pensionable rather than gross pay. Why wasn't this right first time around?

The csv report still can't be downloaded to the Nest site because there are not enough query fields to be filled in prior to download, so I am still having to manually download. Apparently Sage couldn't be bothered to check this out.

The 16 year old in charge of the programming for the module does not seem to have been replaced. We now have several issues around year end changes, with people previously opted out, now triumphantly opted back in by the program.

In short, if you are going to purchase this module, prepare to spend a large part of the month manually calculating pension deductions in case of bugs, and manually adjusting Sage reports prior to downloading to the particular pensions website. Watch all pensions deductions like a hawk, as things you thought were sorted last month may suddenly come back to haunt you.

And ask your doctor to monitor your blood pressure. Sage won't care if you keel over under the strain, but your nearest and dearest might.

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By Henry Tapper
22nd May 2014 10:33

Can middleware compete?

I spoke with an IFA yesterday who has used staffcare for 70 clients (the Jargon Free Pensions version). 

He is winding up his work as he cannot see any point competing with Sage or Iris whose packages he considers superior in risk management and considerably cheaper.


Does anyone else have experience of advisers accepting that their middleware is no longer superior?


I have to admire the integrity of the adviser and suspect he's doing the right things by his clients.


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By AlliK02
13th Aug 2014 03:43

Latest Payroll Software Improvements

Well, I feel QuickBooks keeps updating its versions time to time, and it takes care of business needs, thats why it is too popular... recently, I wrote reviews based on top payroll software,  you can check this

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