Free to use until July 2012, Sage One Payroll also comes with 24-hour telephone support, and seamlessly integrates with Sage One Accounts, the company's main online accounting solution.

Sage One Payroll is iOS compatible, so it can be used from an iPhone or iPad, and is ‘designed to help entrepreneurs with no specialist payroll knowledge or IT skills to effectively and efficiently run their business's payroll'. The layout is simple and clear: the main tabs on the screen include a summary of your payroll activities – including how many employees need to be paid plus a button to process a pay run for them.

The other tabs show employees' details at a glance, overviews of each pay runs made (including the P32 employer payment records) and a year-end reports tab. Here, you can review and amend employees' pay and tax values for the year, generate a P60 end-of-year certificate for each employee (a record of an employee's total pay and tax deducted up to 5 April), plus review the P14 and P35 forms created from the business's payroll info. These both make up part of the Employer Annual Return that needs to be filed to HMRC by 19 May. You can then submit them online to HMRC.

Sage One Payroll even reminds the employer how many days before the filing deadline remains. Further buttons at the top of the screen lead to a message inbox, a help centre, and settings. See all finance software reviews.

Using Sage One Payroll

Processing a payroll run, however, proved slightly trickier for employees on anything extra to their basic salary entitlement: the choices of leave for an employee include sickness and maternity/paternity, with no option to choose another type of leave (compassionate or unpaid, for example). When adding in overtime, bonus payments or reimbursed travel expenses for the pay period, the totals did not always update automatically which often resulted in the wrong salary payments and tax deductions being calculated by the system.

Furthermore, these one-off extras would inexplicably carry forward to the next pay run, and would have to be deleted manually. See also: Sage Instant Accounts review.

The P32 employer payment record also had to be completed manually, and it was unclear how to amend a saved P32 – and for a first-time employer with no payroll knowledge, it is unclear what the different forms P11, P32, P60, P14 and P35 actually are, and unclear which forms actually need to be submitted to HMRC and which are purely for a business' records.

Starting from £5 per month plus VAT for a micro-business with five employees, the software is relatively low cost, however, and contains enough functions for very small but slightly more payroll-experienced businesses to get on adequately with. See also: Group test: what's the best finance software?

Visit: Business Advisor.

Sage One Payroll: Specs

  • Any internet-connected computer (Windows PC, Mac)
  • iPhone, iPad
  • Any internet-connected computer (Windows PC, Mac)
  • iPhone, iPad


For a product emphasising efficiency for business owners, Sage One Payroll is not as seamless as it could be. Entering information other than basic salary details (for example, overtime pay) proved problematic, as did the number of manual inputs that were difficult to amend later. Positive aspects of this online software package included adequate functionality for micro-businesses, 24-hour telephone support, ability to use on the go (especially on an iPhone/iPad), all at a highly affordable price.

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