Lockdown hasn't been easy for any of us - you could say it's been a bit of a 'coronacoaster'. COVID-19 has made us realise what’s important to us. Whether that be connecting more with family or re-connecting with old friends through the social platforms we are so grateful to have during this time. As we are currently in lockdown 3.0, let's look back on some of the key lessons learned as a payroll processor over the past year during this time of crisis.
Payroll is one of the core functions of running any business, and so it is something that needs to be completed on time and without errors. When working from home, your staff might not be able to access all the tools and documents that they would normally be able to access, especially if your systems are on-premises solutions and files and documents are physical hard copies.
Due to COVID-19 and having to work remotely from home, it is now a necessity to be able to access your payroll data from home. Your payroll software should easily facilitate remote working with additional user access. Thesaurus Payroll Manager can be installed on up to 10 PCs per licence key, and this means that payroll processing is possible by up to 10 users, or from 10 different locations. This is very handy for if you have a number of employees working from home, all needing access to the payroll software.
We have also introduced new multi-user features that work in conjunction with Thesaurus Connect, our optional cloud add-on, to improve the working from home experience. These new features include ‘version checking’ when opening an employer, and an ‘other users check’ when opening an employer. This new "working from home" integration gives you all the benefits of the cloud while utilising the power and responsiveness of your local device.
The past year has been very frustrating for payroll processors. Not only had you the added workload of processing subsidy claims, but you also had to learn about the various schemes and ensure you kept up to date with the latest guidelines. That’s why it’s so important to use reliable payroll software from a reliable company.
We kept Thesaurus Payroll Manager up to date to cater for the relevant scheme changes, and we tried to automate as much as possible in the payroll software to make your life easier.
In a recent survey, we achieved a 98.7% rating for our overall handling of COVID-19 including customer support, payroll upgrades, COVID-19 webinars and online support. We also won a COVID-19 Hero Award, and this is because of our response to COVID-19 and how we have helped our customers throughout the past few months.
As most businesses are now working remotely for the foreseeable future, it leaves many businesses exposed to data loss. This is why cloud backups are so important.
If you only keep your payroll data on your desktop, you are at risk of losing the information. Have you thought about what would happen if your computer broke down or was hacked? How would you get your payroll data back quickly? Would employees still get paid if the information was lost?
Thesaurus Connect is our optional add-on that works alongside the payroll software. Thesaurus Connect provides a secure and user-friendly way to backup and restore your payroll data on your PC to and from the cloud. It’s simply an added layer of data protection to keep your payroll data safe so you never lose your payroll data again.
Whether you’re an employer processing payroll in-house for your business, or an accountant or bureau processing payroll for a number of clients, automation is key. How much time do you spend managing annual leave, answering employee leave balance enquiries, retrieving lost payslips, and communicating with employees in general? Now is the time to eliminate those admin-heavy tasks!
Self-service online portals are changing the way businesses interact and communicate with their employees, whilst providing the cloud functionality to get things done smarter and faster. Thesaurus Connect includes the ability to manage employee leave, communicate with employees, automate payslip distribution, run payroll reports and much more.
Book a demo of Thesaurus Connect today to discover more features that can help you streamline your payroll and HR processes.
More than ever, accountants are under pressure to diversify their service offering as the profits from doing compliance increasingly diminish. To the profession’s immense credit, firms have embraced new ways of working to not only stay afloat but thrive.
But with more competition, it’s become hard to stand out. Offering payroll services has become an overlooked way to set yourself apart. Perhaps understandably: in the past, payroll processing wasn’t a particularly dynamic, easy or, most importantly, profitable service to offer.
Things have changed, however, with the advent of new software that has made offering payroll services more profitable, simpler and innovative.
Thesaurus Connect is a cloud add-on that seamlessly slots into Thesaurus Payroll Manager on your desktop. The payroll is still processed on the Thesaurus Payroll Manager desktop application, but the payroll information is stored online on a secure cloud server. By introducing the cloud into your payroll services, you can demonstrate value and power up what you offer to clients.
Here are four ways you can introduce a cloud system with payroll access like Thesaurus Connect to clients:
There’s so much complication in our modern economy. Businesses and individuals are assaulted on all sides by different technologies and demands for their attention and time.
But it’s important to remember that the right tech can also radically simplify peoples’ lives too. Thesaurus Connect, with its suite of HR-centred features, will make payroll processing simple and collaborative.
By empowering your clients via the cloud add-on, you’ll lessen the admin burden on yourself, leaving you to focus on getting the details right. For your client (and their employees), Thesaurus Connect will give them control over their leave and payroll data.
Things can – and should – be much simpler. And with Thesaurus Connect, that’s the new reality of payroll processing. Book a demo of Thesaurus Connect today.
We have teamed up with Revenue to bring you a free webinar where we discuss everything you need to know about TWSS reconciliation and the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS).
10.30am | 19th November
The Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) gives employers impacted by COVID-19 a subsidy payable per employee to help keep them in employment. This scheme has replaced the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) from 1 September 2020 and will run until 31 March 2021.
What you’ll learn:
Hear from Payroll Experts
From the Revenue Commissioners:
Even if you can’t make it, register now and we’ll send you a recording.
The Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme – also known as TWSS, was in operation since 26th March, and it ended on 31st August. The subsidy was processed through the payroll as a non-taxable addition, and instead, the subsidy will be taxable and USC-able via an end of year review by Revenue.
Employees will be taxed via a reduction in tax credits and cut off points from 2022. Revenue have confirmed that the liability will be collected over 4 years to avoid hardship. Employees will have the opportunity to pay it in full before then if they wish.
There are two stages to the TWSS Reconciliation process. For stage one, employers are required to report the actual subsidy that they paid to employees on each pay date.
Thesaurus Payroll Manager have made it easy to create these TWSS CSV Reconciliation files within the 'Reports' section on the payroll software. The CSV file can then be uploaded in the Employer Services section on ROS, as per Revenue's requirements. This file must be uploaded to ROS by 31st October. If you do not provide this data about payments to your employees, Revenue will recoup the total temporary wage subsidy paid and related interest charges.
Stage two of the reconciliation process is due to commence later this month, and during this stage, the total subsidy payable amounts will be compared against the subsidy amounts paid to the employer. Revenue will then determine the amount of TWSS, if any, owing back to Revenue from employers.
A Statement of Account will be sent to your ROS inbox. You will either be paid any additional amount due to you by Revenue or be required to repay any amount that you owe to Revenue.
In some cases, an employer may decide, or Revenue may instruct the employer, to repay to Revenue some or all the subsidy refund payment received from Revenue. Employers can repay excess subsidy values to Revenue via a new facility within ROS, this can be done under Payments & Refunds by selecting ’Submit a Payment’ and then TWSS (Employer). Customers should no longer use the Revenue bank account details previously provided for repayments of TWSS.
Only subsidy amounts should be repaid to Revenue through this method - Do not include any repayments in respect of income tax and USC through this RevPay facility. This should be done separately under PAYE EMP to ensure that the payment is correctly reflected on the employers PAYE EMP balance.
To ensure that the TWSS was operated correctly, Revenue are conducting a programme of compliance checks on all employers who availed of the scheme at any stage. Letters are being issued to employers and tax agents. Revenue were previously sending these to certain employers/agents via MyEnquiries. Since the start of October, Revenue have started sending them direct to the main ROS inbox, along with all other correspondence, so there’s a greater chance that they could be missed.
The letter will set out the steps that employers need to take to verify their compliance with the regulations of the TWSS.
Employers will need to confirm:
At this point employers are not expected to provide detailed documentation to prove that they have met the employer eligibility criteria but based on the summary provided, Revenue may look for more detailed information in some cases.
If you receive such a letter, please note that there is a 5-day time limit to respond to the Revenue’s request. It is essential that employers respond promptly as failure to do so will lead to immediate escalation. Therefore, it is important that employers keep an eye on both the ROS inbox and MyEnquiries or the letter.
This Revenue compliance check is not part of an audit or intervention. Instead, it is a request for information to provide assurance that the scheme was operated as intended by employers.
In addition, the compliance check programme will address any issues identified in respect of the operation of PAYE Modernisation by employers over 2019 and 2020. It will also provide an opportunity for employers to address any other outstanding tax issues that they may have.
For the latest payroll updates don’t miss our next free webinar, where we are joined by Revenue.
10.30am | 19th November
If you are unable to attend the webinar at the specified time, simply register and we will send you the recording afterwards.
2020 has been a transformative year for most businesses. Many employers have had to take a long hard look at how they manage their employees and make significant changes in the wake of COVID-19 in order to adapt to what is quickly becoming the new normal. For a large proportion of these businesses, allowing employees to work remotely is playing a central role in that change. And this throws up some challenges.
Remote working isn’t a new phenomenon. Cloud innovations have made it possible for people to work from home for many years. However, most businesses have been reluctant to embrace this practice up until now. This is because, when employees are spread out, even the most basic tasks such as distributing payslips, applying for annual leave and internal communication can be more difficult.
Today, however, employers are finding themselves in a position where they must allow employees to work remotely and find clever solutions to these challenges. And Thesaurus Connect is one such solution that makes remote working easier for everyone.
You might not think that remote working has any impact on processing payroll, especially if you’re a small business with just one payroll administrator. But there are a number of ways that remote working can indirectly impact payroll. It also has numerous knock-on effects on human resources management which need to be addressed in order for a business to thrive.
Here are some examples of the payroll and HR challenges presented by remote working:
Thesaurus Connect is a cloud portal add-on to our payroll software. While the payroll software gives you everything you need to process your payroll, Connect offers a range of additional features that streamline your human resource management.
The features of Thesaurus Connect include:
If your business is embracing remote working and trying to find ways to facilitate this new practice, then book your free Connect demo today and let our team of experts show you just how much easier remote working can be.
Right now employers across the country are preparing to bring their employees back to work. This requires some adjustments as we all do our best to adapt to “the new normal”. For businesses where staff can work from home, this means facilitating remote working. And for businesses where staff must come into the workplace, it means finding ways to make the workplace as safe as possible to protect employees.
The good news is that, regardless of which of these two categories your business falls into, Thesaurus Connect can help make this transitional phase easier for both employers and employees. In particular, our document upload facility is of huge value when it comes to making the necessary preparations and keeping your employees updated on what changes they can expect when they come back to work.
Using Thesaurus Connect, employers can upload any kind of document to distribute to employees through a secure online portal. These documents can include everything from company policies, handbooks and news items to more sensitive information such as employee files.
When uploading each document to the portal, HR managers can choose which employees can view it. They may choose to make it available to all employees, in the case of a Healthy and Safety policy for example, or they may choose to make it only available to one individual employee or a team/department.
Once the document has been uploaded, employees will receive a notification letting them know. They can view and download it via their employee dashboard on a laptop or PC, or via their Thesaurus Connect employee app on a mobile or tablet device. The HR manager or employer will be able to see who has read the document on a time-stamped log.
While this facility offers significant benefits to employers at any time of the year regardless of the circumstances, it is even more beneficial now during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is because under the new Return To Work Safely Protocol (a document released by the Government which outlines what businesses must do to prepare for returning to work), employers are obliged to create and share a significant amount of documentation with employees.
This documentation includes a COVID-19 Response Plan, detailing all points of relevance relating to COVID-19 in your workplace, and Pre-Return To Work Forms, which must be completed by employees at least 3 days before their return to the workplace.
The protocol also specifies that information and guidance should be provided by employers to workers, which should include:
By making all of these documents available on Thesaurus Connect, employees can access everything they need in one secure online hub and download anything they need straight to their smartphone. Employers can also send out reminders to employees who haven’t accessed a particular document, to make sure they do so before they come back to work.
In addition to the usefulness of Thesaurus Connect’s document upload facility in making preparations for returning to work, it has several benefits in more general terms.
1. It’s More Sustainable
It goes without saying that uploading documents to an online portal is significantly more sustainable than printing them all off and sending them out to each employee. This is a great way to add to your businesses efforts to “go green” where possible.
2. It’s Faster
It’s also much faster to upload your company documents in this way than to send them out via post. Plus, being able to track when your employees have opened, read or downloaded them means that you can ensure everyone is ready before returning to work.
3. It’s Trackable
The fact that employers can check who has read the uploaded documents is crucial to ensuring that your staff comply with new government guidelines on workplace safety during COVID-19. For example, if an employee was to ignore health and safety measures and claim that they didn’t know such measures existed, you could simply check whether or not they had read the document on your employer dashboard. This adds a level of protection for employers if any potential disputes arise.
4. It’s Customizable
Human resource managers will love the fact that they can choose who can and cannot view documents. That’s because not only does Thesaurus Connect allow them to store and share all company-wide information online, but it also provides them with a secure portal where they can store all employee-related files, without worrying about employees seeing them.
5. It’s Secure
Finally, Thesaurus Connect provides much needed security at a time when data protection has never been more vital. Infinitely safer than storing paper-based files and sensitive information, Connect’s cloud backup means that you don’t need to worry about losing data or having it fall into the wrong hands.
Join Thesaurus Software on Thursday 13th of August at 10.30am for a free COVID-19 & Payroll webinar. In this webinar, we explore some key changes to the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme, the payroll implications or rehiring employees and employee’s annual leave entitlements during COVID-19.
Register today for your free place, and if you can’t make it on the day, don’t worry. You’ll be able to watch the webinar on demand at any time that suits you.
Roderic O’Gorman, Minister for Children has announced that three additional weeks of parents leave has been proposed for Cabinet approval for parents of children born during the Covid-19 pandemic. This means parents leave will increase from two weeks to five weeks for new parents with children born after 1st November 2019. The rate of pay for this additional parents leave will be €245 per week. But this additional parents’ leave will not be available until it comes into effect in November 2020.
Every parent is currently entitled to two weeks’ parents leave in the first year when their child is born or adopted on or after 1st November 2019. Parental leave is different where a parent is entitled to take unpaid leave from work up to a current maximum of twenty two weeks to look after their children. This is changing to twenty six weeks on 1st September 2020.
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Please note, with our new licensing model there is only one download which covers both Standard and Bureau customers.
Thesaurus Payroll Manager offers a 60 day free trial from the date of installation. This free trial is fully featured with complete functionality. The software can be licensed at any time during the trial period.
We have prepared a help sheet to guide you through the set up.
2020 Thesaurus Payroll Manager caters for all relevant budget changes and includes improved PAYE Modernisation functionality.
Thesaurus Payroll Manager 2020 licenses can be purchased by clicking here.
Under PAYE Modernisation, employers no longer file a return with Revenue at year end or provide a year end statement to employees.
To access frequently asked questions on year end, click here.
Thesaurus Connect is an optional add-on that provides automated backup of your payroll data to the cloud and a powerful web-based self-service dashboard for employers and employees.
Connect is billed at the end of each calendar month based on your total number of active employees in that month. Payments for Connect are automatically taken using the payment details you set up in your Thesaurus Account. There is no contract.
The management and staff of Thesaurus Software Ltd would like to thank you for your valued custom in 2019 and to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
Our office will be closed on the 24th, 25th and 26th of December, it will re-open on the 27th of December; it will also be closed on the 1st of January.
If you are an accountant working in practice, you may know that I was once one of you, before I escaped to the leafy suburbs of IT.
While in practice, part of my income came from providing a payroll bureau service.
This came with its challenges as I was tied to it, it wasn't very profitable and not all of my payroll clients understood that I actually needed to have the employees' hours before I could do the payroll.
I would send them their payslips with a summary report, reminded them when to pay Revenue and, in return, they would grudgingly pay my fees.
That was twenty years ago. A lot has happened since then, the two main things being technology and PAYE Modernisation.
I wish that PAYE Modernisation had been around in my time. I could really have used it to convince some of my less conscientious clients to change their ways or else. The "or else" being the big stick of Revenue fines.
Technology has enabled a lot of things. The arrival of the smart phone, cloud services and increased internet speeds have been transformative.
In my practice days, I had one client who considered themselves at the forefront of technology. They would have been blown away seeing the way their employees could now receive their payslips on their smart phone and all the other cool things e.g. holiday requests, a document portal and so on. Mind you, if I was still practising and had that same client, I think that these are things they would expect.
That same client would also expect to be able to log on to their own portal and get whatever payroll information they wanted 24/7.
What we are starting to see now is that this type of client is becoming more of a thing. A large part of the driving force for this is their increasingly youthful workforce. Millennials grow up with a smart phone attached to them and they want as much of their life on it as possible.
Another feature that I wish had been around in my time is getting clients to effectively update their own payroll. What I mean by this is that instead of the various ways they would send the hours (word documents, emails, scraps of paper), they would now log in to their portal, update the hours and these would flow seamlessly in to the payroll. Plus everything would be logged and time stamped, so they couldn't blame me if an employee was overpaid or not paid at all.
All of the above would have certainly transformed my basic payroll service of 20 years ago and forged a client base less likely to defect to some new accountant trending on social media.
The clients would still be getting the same attention as always but the "value added" would be enormous. They get to look much more modern with their employees, which can help with attracting and retaining employees. They also gain access to a HR tool with which they can manage holidays, roll out documents and ensure that employee contact information is always current. The vast majority of small/micro employers have nothing like this.
In the UK, this value added payroll service is more common than it is here and I have asked accountants there what they charge. As you can imagine it varies quite a bit and will depend on the type and size of business, but I have heard rates as high as £10 per payslip for higher net worth clients with the average closer to £5.
This type of pricing would certainly have catapulted my small bureau service in to one of my more profitable activities as the cost of all this technology can be as little as 8c per employee per month.
Paul Byrne fca
PAYE Modernisation was introduced on the 1st of January 2019 and affects the way all employers process payroll. It is the most significant change ever to the Irish PAYE system. It is important that all employers and payroll processors understand their new real time reporting obligations.
Thesaurus Software and Revenue have teamed up for another series of free, CPD accredited PAYE Modernisation webinars. These upcoming webinars have a new agenda. We will look at what has happened since PAYE Modernisation has gone live and at the challenges businesses are facing.
The webinars are aimed at giving you an overview of how the new real time reporting works, the benefits of this new system and how to make sure that your business is PAYE Modernisation compliant. We will peel back the PAYE Modernisation legislation to outline clearly how PAYE Modernisation affects the payroll process and what is expected from you in 2019 and going forward.
Due to the high level of interest, it is expected that the training webinars will soon be completely booked out. Book your place now to avoid disappointment.
The first webinar in the series takes place on January 30th and is CPD accredited for accountants and payroll bureaus. Due to phenomenal demand, we have also added more dates in February.
Thesaurus Software is the number one payroll software provider in Ireland with two different payroll packages to choose from - Thesaurus Payroll Manager and BrightPay. Both systems include full PAYE Modernisation functionality at no extra cost. We have worked closely with Revenue to ensure that both systems are fully PAYE Modernisation compliant.
Our products are used to process the payroll for over 125,000 business across Ireland and the UK. BrightPay won the Payroll Software of the Year 2018 award at this year’s Accounting Excellence awards. With a 99% customer satisfaction rate, our customers can rest assured that all required functionality is catered for.
We have made it easier than ever before to switch to BrightPay or Thesaurus Payroll Manager - You can import your payroll data from Sage, Collsoft, Big Red Book, and many others in a matter of minutes.