My wife started our greeting card business, Blue Eyed Sun, back in 2000 and a couple of years on from that I can still remember taking on our first employee like it was yesterday. It felt like such a big step and we were filled with a mixture of fear and excitement about the whole process.
Before our first team member joined us, along with all of the jobs small business owners do on a daily basis, we also did all the book keeping ourselves. Having started on a manual system entering our numbers into a hard backed ledger in pencil, a year later we upgraded to Sage Financial Controller (as it was called then) to manage our general accounts but without payroll software.
When we took on our first employee it seemed to us to be a big expense to pay extra for payroll software to manage our accounts. As we were trying to keep costs as low as possible back then I decided to manage our payroll manually like we had done with our accounts at the start.
I pored over grids, tables and charts of National Insurance figures and PAYE numbers and had to read so much to keep up with it all. It was awful. I remember being on the verge of tears one late night before a deadline trying to get my head around it all. Within six months we invested in payroll software and have never looked back.
We now have 16 staff on our team ranging from full timers to flexible working part timers. Payroll software makes managing their employment so easy. With real time requirements from HMRC now mandatory all of the info can be sent to the tax office at the click of a button.
We pay for the Sage Extra cover to ensure that we are all up to date with the legal requirements and changes each tax year. It also makes year processes and statutory reports a doddle with easy to follow step by step instructions.
Software these days is so easy to download and install, you don’t even need a CD drive. There are wizards to guide you through your set up and useful tutorials on YouTube for most problems as well as good training programs with the providers.
Doing tasks such as processing leavers or new employees is also simple and we can even track holiday, sick pay, maternity pay, bonuses, etc.
I’m not worried about the auto enrolment pension requirements as I know my payroll software will take care of this for me. The upshot of it all is that I save time, I save money and I save a huge amount of stress.
These days I no longer look after the books myself and I know that our bookkeeper is grateful that we have up to date payroll software along with help and support on the phone if she needs it.