By Lorna Keogh, Senior Digital & Marketing Operations Specialist at Sage
When choosing a payroll software there are a number of things to bear in mind to ensure that you find the right solution for your needs. Many of these will be standard considerations but there will be some that are unique to your business needs and the industry in which you operate.
So – where to start? Let’s start with the most obvious factors and work from there.
1. Number of companies and users
In essence – how many different companies will you need to process payroll for? It will be important to ensure that any software you purchase includes a licence for the required number of companies. Likewise if you plan to install the software on a server to allow multiple users to access it from a local or remote network, ensure you choose a software package and licence that allows for this.
How many employees do you need to process payroll for this year? When working out this figure include seasonality and any resulting staff. Also include starters and leavers because if someone leaves, their details will need to remain on your payroll software for the year as they will need to be included in year-end reports. Many payroll solutions will be priced and divided out by employee number bands so it is important to have this figure in mind when researching potential suppliers.
3. Payroll Frequencies & Types
How often do you need to pay employees? i.e. weekly, monthly, every two weeks? Also – does every employee get paid in the same manner or do you have for example some employees who are paid monthly and some who are paid weekly?
In terms of the type of payroll are employees paid a salary or by the hour or have you a mixture of both? Ensure to check that any potential payroll solutions can cater for the payroll frequencies and type of payroll that you need. Also consider how employees holidays are calculated – do they get a set amount of days a year, a third of the working week or a percentage of hours worked? If tracking holidays is currently a manual task, check which payroll packages can help you to manage this.
By Carmelisa Dunne, Corporate Business Development Manager at Sage
There is no question that the global downturn has presented businesses with the toughest economic conditions for several generations. However, innovative businesses which are quick to react, adapt and find creative ways to accelerate out of the downturn, will not only survive the crisis, but will thrive in the long-run. Instead of sitting back and waiting for the global recession to subside, companies should look ‘inwards’ and set in place the correct tools and procedures for the business to take advantage of the upturn when it comes.
At Sage we are now seeing our customers using the Sage 200 integrated with Sage CRM to seamlessly co-ordinate their whole business: from customer-facing systems, such as sales and service, through back-office processes, including accounting and project management; to activities such as retail/wholesale, construction and manufacturing. As processes flow into one another, staff collaborate more closely, and managers have an instant, accurate view of the whole company. Importantly, integrating back-office functions with customer-facing systems means that they have one view of their business so all aspects of their organisation can focus on delivering the service that helps retain customer loyalty.
One example is the Dublin Chamber of Commerce. The chamber upgraded from Sage 50 to Sage 200 and integrated Sage CRM. In an economic climate where member organisations struggle to recruit, the Dublin Chamber has done well to hold its numbers, a feat achieved by concentrating on membership retention. Sage CRM has played a significant role in this and helped achieve a two per cent improvement in the first year. The strategy is to engage with members before they receive a renewal invoice, a process made easier by an inactivity report module that was built into Sage CRM. For the first time the Chamber has access to information on members who are no longer taking advantage of its services.
“By giving us a snapshot of inactive companies it’s definitely helping with retention,” said Michelle Berry, Financial Manager at the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
By Kevin McDonald, Graduate Product Manager at Sage
With the arrival of Sage 50 Accounts 2013 I was given customer feedback about what else would be nice features to have in Sage 50. It turns out that the majority of what I was asked was already there, it was just a new feature that customers were not aware they already had. In this blog I will be highlighting some Sage 50 v2013 features you may not be aware of. Sage 50 is such a feature rich product and there may be some features in there that will make your day to day work easier that you didn’t know about.
1. “I’m the company director. Pity I can set up a read only user access to get a high level overview of my company accounts in Sage 50”.
The Sage 50 Pulse App for Windows 8 was the solution here. This is a new Windows 8 app which plugs into Sage 50 and gives an overview of things like company profitability, profit and loss, contact details, outstanding balances and bank account details. For more details or to download the app visit the Sage 50 Pulse app page.
2. “My year end accounts have not been finalized but I need to start working on next year. Can I work on next year without closing my current year?”
This question always gets asked. The answer is yes you can. If you have a multiuser setup I would recommend using the ‘Lock Date’ feature where needed so you can use this option to prevent postings before a specific date and give you more control.
3. “I like being able to send reports to excel. It’s a pity there isn’t a quicker way to do this.”
There is a quicker way to do this. In v2013 we added a “To Excel” button on over 100 forms throughout the program. If you see this button and click it then it will instantly export what you are looking at to excel. For example if you click this in the customer module it will send out the customer list of names and address etc.
It’s also important to highlight our Excel Integrated Reporting feature. When you install Sage 50 Accounts it will also install an Excel Plug in which will add a Sage toolbar to Excel. This will allow you to run Sage reports straight from Excel if needed. And yes this is free and comes with the software.
4. “I email all my invoices and statements. It’s a pain having to do them all one at a time because I don’t use Microsoft Outlook”.
It is possible to send batches of statements or invoices when needed. Just highlight them all and click the email button and they will all be sent out to your customer base. Be it 5 invoices or 50 V2013 now links with webmail so if you use something like Gmail or Yahoo you can enter your log in details into Sage 50 Accounts and automatically email your customers.
5. “How much is the mobile app for Sage 50?”
It’s free. And you can setup as many users as you want. More information on Sage 50 Mobile for iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry devices is available here.
That covers part one of this blog series on Sage 50. Be sure to leave a comment if you have any questions and I’ll get back to you. If you are an existing Sage 50 customer and would like to see a demo of the new version you can check out our product test drive here.
By Sarah-Jane Maguire, Business Advice Consultant at Sage
1. Employees Details
You can store all of your employee’s details in one place. With the click of a button you can see every detail about your employees from their address to their previous employment history. In this section we track all our employees details. We can see what working patterns they usually do, attach any documents we have on them, maybe a contract of employment or their CV and keep note of any emergency contacts, as well as a lot more.
We can see a dashboard of the demographics within our company. This give us a breakdown of what our employment gender and age ratios are and shows us a trend in our leavers and starters.
2. Employment Legislation
Having the peace of mind that you are up to date with all current employment legislation. You can track important information such as passport numbers and work permits dates:
We can attach a scanned copy of their driving licence to the documents section:
We can make sure necessary training is always remembered and recorded:
And we can schedule an event for 2015 so we don’t forget to book this:
This ties nicely into number 3.
By Alan Leahy, Manager, Sage CRM Cloud Product and Operations
When you’re thinking of using Cloud CRM to run your business you may find that you have many questions relating to data privacy, security and compliance. We understand that answering these questions is essential because we understand the importance of your data. That is why we’ve launched the Sage CRM Online Trust Centre to demonstrate how we manage your customer data, so that you can feel confident about choosing Sage CRM Cloud.
We want you to be confident that we are open and transparent when managing your customer data. The online trust centre provides you with information on the three key principles we operate the Sage CRM Cloud platform on:
We keep your customer data separate from other customer data in a dedicated database.
We employ the latest security technologies and processes to secure your data.
Sage CRM Cloud gives you the option to store your data within Europe or North America, so you can comply with local regulations.
We want you to be confident that we are open and transparent when managing your customer data because we take the responsibility of managing your customer information extremely seriously. We do this by employing the latest security technologies and processes to secure your data on the Sage CRM Cloud Platform.
By Lorna Keogh, Manager of The Sage Business Advice Team
In Ireland, the Payment of Wages Act 1991 gives all employees a right to a pay slip which will show the gross wage and details of all deductions. You can however remain legislatively compliant and be cost effective and time efficient by emailing payslips instead of printing them.
If you are printing payslips one of your first concerns was probably around what you print them on. Some payroll products will support plain paper printing which is a cost saving as it removes the need to purchase payslips. However as this has only a basic layout it can result in receiving more payroll queries from employees and spending more time answering these. Plain paper printing also may have impact for employees because if they are applying for a loan from a bank for example, the bank will often request that any payslips are on official company stationery and not on plain paper. With this in mind you will most likely purchase payslips to use when printing your payroll.
If you email your employees their payslips there is no cost involved in printing them. If they need them printed on official company stationery they can arrange this only when needed instead of it being the norm. If you use an online self-service payslip portal for your employees, like Sage PeopleLink, they can login themselves and access payslips that were issued to them months or even years ago and print them out if needed. No more queries to the payroll team looking for lost payslips as employees can login to PeopleLink and access their payslips themselves.
With payslips organised the next concern could well be security. If printing payslips, to ensure they are private and confidential you will need to use a security payslip which is sealed or to use non security payslips and manually place these into sealed envelopes. Employees who are on leave will need to wait until they return to receive their payslips and there could be security concerns around where their payslips are stored in the meantime.
Using The Chase Debt Module & The Cash Flow Planner In Sage 50
By Kevin McDonald – Business Advice Consultant at Sage
Credit control and monitoring cash flow is critical for any business regardless of size. As a business owner, accounts administrator or financial controller you need to be able to forecast revenue coming in and out of the your business and Sage 50’s Cash Flow Planner and Chase Debt Module can help you with that.
The first question I will ask is if you call a customer or a customer calls you how are you currently tracking that information?
In our Sage 50 Accounts product it is possible to record communications logs against your customer accounts and have all the tools required for chasing debt in the one place. This feature is called the communications history and chase debt module and it looks like this:
by Ian O’Toole, Senior Consultant at BSM
Not all ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems are right for all businesses. Scale, cost, functionality, technology and implementation partner are all key considerations when selecting an ERP system. Addressing the following seven steps can help to ensure you select the system that is right for your organisation.
1. Have a Clear ERP strategy
Before engaging vendors in a selection process your organisation needs a clear vision of what it is embarking on and what a system can and should deliver. Developing this strategy can be thought of as the start-up phase for the overall project. The strategy should clarify scope (functional, organisational, and geographical), expected costs and benefits, technology and any other constraints.
2. Assemble the Project Team
The project team for the selection project should represent all key internal stakeholders. This will help avoid biased definition of requirements and will also help to foster buy-in to the new system. The selection project team is likely to form the core of the implementation project team once the system is purchased.
By Alexandra from Sage HR Advice
Keep hold of your best employees.
As we venture into a new year, many businesses have a set of goals that they want to hit to ensure a successful 2013. If you’re planning on doing this, one important factor to consider is your employee attrition: how many people are leaving your business.
Employees leaving your business is to be expected to some extent, but it can be expensive and problematic when key team members exit your business. Advertising for and recruiting replacements can be a real headache too.
If you’re finding that more and more people are resigning, you should be asking yourself why, and if there’s anything you can be doing to reduce it.
Asking the important questions.
The first thing to do is understand the problem. Interviewing your existing staff on how they feel about their jobs and the workplace is useful, but people often hold back on what they really think in fear of limiting their careers or offending their colleagues.
One of the most revealing ways to get a realistic appraisal of your business this is to arrange frank and meaningful exit interviews for anyone leaving. The leavers’ questionnaire located on the Sage HR Advice service provides example questions to ask. Explain that their answers won’t affect any reference that you are giving and you are looking for honesty, even if you might not like what you’re going to hear.
By Sinéad Hayes Sales & Marketing Manager, Advent
I recently met up with a Sage 50 user, Tom who runs a medium sized distribution business. Tom has been using the software for many years. His company just loves the software – in his opinion it is so easy to use and has really helped the business to get to where it is today.
So, we chatted more about the business, the challenges they face and the opportunities that lie ahead. Tom has worked in the business a long time (although he would not give me any specific number!) and it is apparent that he along with his team is driven, focused and passionate about the business.
As we evolved the conversation into looking ahead to the future, it became apparent that Sage 50 really wasn’t going to be a long term solution. Cracks are beginning to appear and although it is all working fine at the moment, Tom was concerned about a few areas in particular. What if I add another 1, 2 or 3 users? Tom’s Sage 50 is already at 9 users, so adding a few more licenses will mean he will soon reach a cul-de-sac as 10 is the maximum.