Processing Payroll and Avoiding Common Errors

7 minute read time.

You may be new to Sage Business Cloud Payroll, or a seasoned pro, but errors can crop up from time to time. This month we are focussing on how to prevent payroll errors, and the best ways to resolve them quickly, and without any hassle.


UK Payroll

How to Process

              Processing your pay run is simple and easy. You confirm the date you your pay run on the first screen, record any statutory leave on the second screen. You can then add in any payments or deductions, as well as check over the pension contributions for your employees, before confirming the pay values and submitting to HMRC. You can see our full guide, including a recorded demo in our Help Centre here. And now, following customer requests, you can also view your Average Earnings Report in your Sage Business Cloud Payroll. To find out how, click here.

              Once you have completed all pay runs in your reporting period, you can then ‘Record Payment/EPS’. This will record the payment you are making to HMRC in your accounts if you have payroll linked, as well as claim your National Insurance Allowance and Small Employers Relief if you are eligible. It will also inform HMRC of any statutory payments you may be claiming for. Once this has been recorded, you should find your P32 Report updates with this information. You can find out more about the EPS submission here.

Furloughing Your Employees

              The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been going for a while now. However, some may find they are using for the first time, or feel they need refreshed on the ever-changing details. If that is the case, you can register for our Extended Job Retention Scheme Webinar, to find out the ins and outs of the legislation, an overview of calculating furlough wages, and how to process this in your payroll. You can register for this here. We also have more information listed in our Coronavirus Hub, covering support that is available for your business. And as always, you can see information and guides on how to process furlough wages in our Sage Business Cloud Payroll Help Centre.

Common Errors

              HMRC errors can occur with unsuccessful Full Payment Submissions (FPS). The most common error you may encounter is 1046. This is a credentials error, meaning that HMRC cannot place your account, and so your submission has failed. To resolve this, you can check your Government Gateway credentials are correct, as well as your PAYE reference. There may be a few other causes to this as well. You can view our helpful video to see how to resolve a 1046 error here. This will also show you a full list of HMRC error codes, and their resolutions.

              Once you have completed your FPS for the pay run, you may also need to submit your pension contributions. If you use Nest or Smart Pensions as your provider, you can also submit this online within Sage Business Cloud Payroll. Occasionally, you may come across an error in your submission. The most common causes of pension submission errors can be that the group name or payment source do not match your pension account. These are case sensitive, so you will need to ensure an exact match, with no discrepancy in capital letters, punctuation or spacing. You may also get an error if the payment dates do not align. Because payroll processes using tax periods, you will need to ensure your group is set up for a tax frequency rather than a calendar frequency. Your pension provider should be able to assist with this. For a full list of Nest errors, you can see our great guide here. For Smart errors, you can see here.


Irish Payroll

How to Process

              Processing your pay run could not be easier. Once you have your account set up, you can go to ‘Process Pay Run’, retrieve your RPNs, enter your payments and deductions, then submit to Revenue. If you have Sage Accounting linked to your payroll, this will post automatically as well, to save you time manually entering your salary journals. We have a really great help guide to give details on these steps here.


              The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme is a big topic, for obvious reasons. If you have not set this up already, do not worry, eligibility and how to register is all covered in our great guide. It will also explain how to calculate the pay your employees are eligible for, and how to process this in your Sage Business Cloud Payroll. You will need to ensure that ‘EWSS’ is ticked in the employee record for all eligible employees before processing your pay run. You can then complete the pay run as normal. For more information, you can see our guide here.

Common Errors

              Processing your payroll would usually be easy, however you may experience an error occasionally. The most common error we see is the error ‘cert. not active’. Which results in you being unable to connect to ROS to retrieve RPNs and run your pay run. The cause may usually be that you have recently updated your ROS password, but your browser may be remembering the old credentials. Another cause may be that you have multiple certs. stored on your computer. Either way, the fix is simple. I would recommend removing the cert you currently have stored in your computer. If there are multiple, please remove all. You can then clear your browsing history for ‘all time’, including any saved credentials, then re download your most recent cert. from your ROS account. This should then work as expected. You can see other common RTR Errors here, along with their solutions.


UK and Irish Corrections

              When processing your payroll, you may find a correction appear from time to time that cannot be removed. This happens when you have edited a previously completed pay run, added in an absence that affects previous pay runs, or edited a pension that has then recalculated previous pay runs. Payroll assumes employees have already been paid for every completed pay run. And so, the correction will then appear as a net payment or a net deduction to ensure HMRC or Revenue have the correct, updated values. If your employees were not paid the correct amount in real life, they will then be owed this payment or deduction. In this instance, you can continue to process the pay run as normal, with the correction included. If your employees were paid the correct amount (updated amount) in real life, you may then need to reverse this correction to ensure no additional money is given or taken away. To do this, you can follow the steps if the correction is showing as a payment in the UK here, and here in Ireland. If the correction is showing as a deduction, you can follow the guide here for the UK, and here for Ireland. Please ensure that if your payroll automatically posts to accounts, to follow the steps to create a journal to reverse that posting as well.


How Can We Make Things Easier?

Unlock Additional Features

              This year has been difficult for everyone, and I am sure that you and your employees have found the same. We have noticed more questions on recording and tracking absences, and I am sure there have also been plenty of last-minute shift changes. Cake HR is a great solution to keeping track of this, as well as keeping payslips, performance and expenses a piece of cake. You can find out more and book a demo here.

With Christmas coming up soon, you may be thinking about ways to support your staff or give a little something extra to say thank you for their hard work over this difficult year. With Sage Employee Benefits, you can do just that. This will give your employees access to high street discounts and rewards, as well as on demand virtual GP, and cycle to work schemes. Plus, many more! You can get more information and book a demo here.

Help and Support

              Help and Support is always available for Sage Business Cloud customers. You can search for guides and videos on a specific topic in our Help Centre, or join our Q&A Live Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm, for quick answers to your questions, as well as regular videos, demos and polls to assist you in any way we can. Or if you prefer to get involved in the Sage Business Cloud Community, why not ask questions, and give answers to other customers in Sage City?