A Sorry Tale whilst Completing a Sage 50 Payroll Year End

It's that time of the year again when Payroll Year End Returns are to be submitted to the HMRC as part of their legislative requirements (final deadline date is 19th May 2012).

Sage 50 Payroll and Sage 50 Payroll Professional are great for processing your payroll and great for taking the pain out of the Year End procedures. There are lots of "idiot" guides including a great on-screen "hand-holding" step-by-step guide within the software. However, some clients want the complete peace of mind that all of the necessary reports and procedures are completed, and therefore, I have been asked to attend their offices to assist them with this process over many years.

So… P11s are to be printed and checked, P32s printed and reconciled against the payments that have been made during the year to the HMRC, P35s (all parts) are to be checked, reconciled and submitted electronically to the HMRC and P60s distributed to the employer's staff (by 31st May 2012).

This year, I have attended a wide variety of client's premises to assist them and, for all of them except one particular client, the Sage 50 Payroll Year End completed without a hitch. I even visited an Arab Sheikh's private residence and he had  four staff, these being his butler, chauffeur, chef and personal assistant.

The client's Sage 50 Payroll Year End that did not go quite according to plan caused several enormous problems for the client. I hasten to add that these problems had not been caused by the Sage 50 Payroll software itself but rather the payroll processing completed by the client during the year.

I attended this client last year and completed the Sage 50 Payroll Year End for them without a glitch. The payroll administrator then went on a much-deserved holiday and left the completion of the weekly payroll to a trusted member of staff. The payroll administrator called the office whilst he was on holiday to check if everything was OK  and was told that the first weekly payroll after the Year End had been successfully completed and the staff had all been paid. The payroll administrator then relaxed, sipped Pina Coladas and enjoyed the rest of his holiday, knowing that he did not have to worry about the processing of the payroll whilst he was away.


When the payroll administrator returned from his holiday, he was assured that everything had gone well with the payroll during the fortnight that he had been away. So, he then took over the payroll processing again and then completed each payroll run for the remainder of the 52 weeks and then awaited my attendance.

I arrived in good spirits on the day and was looking forward to successfully completing the Sage 50 Payroll Year End procedures for the customer. I started running off the P11 reports for the approximately 150 employees and then started checking them before moving on to the next stage.

It was then that I noticed that NONE of the employees had a week 1 showing on their P11s. After a few "searching" questions, I identified what had happened to cause this; the very first weekly payroll had NOT been updated and the person that had been completing the payroll whilst the main payroll administrator was away on holiday had just continued with processing the second weekly payroll. 

So…ALL of the reports were incorrect because the cumulative payroll figures were incorrect.  Also, ALL of the employees had been OVERPAID (in total by £'000s) and the HMRC had been UNDERPAID by £'000s. To add even more pain to the customer (for which I gained no satisfaction, I can tell you),  I then had to break the news to the customer that they would have to re-process ALL of the 52 weekly payrolls. I must admit that I think that he went a very pale shade of white as he then mentioned to me that each weekly payroll had taken about 3-4 hours to complete previously.

The customer then clung onto the hope that perhaps I was wrong and that there must have been an easier way to resolve the situation and together we waited patiently for the great folks on SageCover Support to answer his call for the "right" second opinion. I hoped that there would be a "magic solution" for him, I really did, but at the same time felt a little self-satisfied when SageCover Support agreed with the advice that I had given to my customer. Undeterred, the customer then called the HMRC to see if they might have a "magic potion" to save him, but they too gave him the same answer. So… my professional advice had unfortunately been correct and my client apologised to me profusely for his apparent lack of trust in my abilities.

The customer therefore finally gave up trying to find a "magic solution" and resigned himself to having to re-process the whole year's payroll and perhaps not seeing his family for the next month. I'm only glad that the member of staff that had incorrectly processed the first two weekly payroll runs had left the company as otherwise I am sure that the payroll administrator would have flown into a rage at them and perhaps I wouldn't have blamed them for this.

I'm going back to the same customer before the 19th May 2012 deadline to finally complete the Sage 50 Payroll Year End for them. I'm sure that they will never make the same mistake again. I'll try and be as diplomatic as possible and try not to rub it in any more than perhaps I have already.

This sad tale is an extreme exception; Sage 50 Payroll and Sage 50 Payroll Professional manages the processing of payroll, the legislative reporting and required electronic submissions with ease.

If you would like to have a FREE Demo of Sage Payroll or Sage Payroll Professional or some assistance with your processing and / or your Payroll Year End procedures and therefore avoid yourselves having a similar Sad Tale told about you, then Call Us on 0845 8800767.



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