Getting staff paid accurately and on time, every time, should be the minimum expectation of a payroll team. Getting it wrong can lead to emotive and financial issues for both the employee and employer, as well as relations with the payroll team.

Payroll teams are human, so mistakes will occur from time to time, however many issues occur because of poor data and poor communication.


As part of National Payroll Week, we thought we would share with you the top five errors that our payroll team believe cause the most queries from clients and their employees:


  1. Starters: Inaccurate personal information, such as salary and working pattern, bank account details and email address, can cause delays in payments and/or the payment paid. Have you informed your payroll team of all starters? It may amaze you as to how many times employers have failed to inform their payroll team of all starters in time for their first pay date. A quick pay date fix for this would be a wage advance, but ensure you get your employee to agree to this and the recovery process.


  1. Incorrect Tax Codes and Student Loans: Linked to the above and mainly effecting the first few pay runs for new employees, applying the wrong tax code or Student Loan plan to an employee’s payroll record can result in over or underpayment of tax and Student Loan contributions. Ensuring an HMRC ‘Starter checklist’ is accurately completed and provided to payroll, along with a P45 where applicable, should ensure the employee has the correct tax code and Student Loan plan applied from ‘Day 1’. Other factors, such as additional employment, a submitted self-assessment and P11d form, and historic over or underpayments of tax, can lead to HMRC instructing your payroll team to amend an employee’s tax code. In most cases, the employee will need to contact HMRC themselves to update/correct their circumstances if they believe they are on the wrong tax code.


  1. Change of details: Remember to inform your payroll team of all changes to employee details that are in your control. This will include changes to their rate of pay and/or working pattern, including crucially, the effective date. What is the responsibility of the employee, but in most cases will be for you to pass onto payroll, is personal changes, such as bank details and their address. Has the employee opted-in, or out, of the pension scheme? It’s essential to provide and maintain accurate records.


  1. Variables to pay: Has all overtime, bonuses and expenses been captured and reported to payroll? Have they been reported against the correct employee and pay factor? Are employees aware of the cut-off date for variables to pay so they are not expecting payment for overtime worked between the cut-off and pay date? Has all absence been captured and reported so adjustments to pay and payment of Statutory payments can be processed?


  1. Leavers: Like what was mentioned within Starters (above), there have been many occasions when we have been informed about a leaver after their (expected) final pay date. This results in a correction to payroll being required and the data already reported to HMRC, and most probably, the potentially difficult task in retrieving the overpayment from the leaver. Your payroll team needs to be informed about the employees leave date, any under/over balance of their holiday accrual (if not controlled by your payroll team) and any other final adjustments to pay. Do your contracts of employment contain the necessary clauses to allow recovery of overtaken holiday? Is their final pay enough to cover overtaken holidays and loan balances? Are any there any changes need to their personal details, such as a change of address and their e-payslip being amended from a company to personal address?


To avoid these errors, it’s crucial for employers to work with their payroll team to have a robust payroll system, maintain accurate employee records, and regularly review and reconcile payroll reports. Many of the above errors can also be avoided by not leaving it until ‘the last minute’ to pass over to payroll for processing.


Robson Laidler provide a comprehensive payroll service for our clients. We work with you to improve processes and take away the stress of running your payroll, to ultimately give you back precious time for you to spend on your business, with family, or maybe just ‘you’ time.


Simply provide us with the payroll data in an agreed format, together with supporting documentation, and your nominated contact we will take it from there. When we have processed, checked, and balanced your payroll, we will/can:

  • Provide payroll reports tailored to the needs of your payroll.
  • Provide file copy payslips for reference.
  • Issue payslips and any necessary Automatic Enrolment correspondence to your employees, electronically through our portal.
  • Pay your employees directly via our BACS provider.
  • Issue P45s for leavers.
  • Report the necessary ‘Real Time Information’ submissions to HMRC.
  • Advise you, and process the payment of, the PAYE/NIC due to HMRC, having reported and accounted for necessary adjustments such as Employment Allowance and Statutory Pay recovery.
  • Submit the necessary pension files to your pension provider (from which they will take the amount due from you via Direct Debit).


In addition, when they are due:

  • Register your PAYE scheme and set up your payroll (one-off task).
  • Set up an Automatic Enrolment pension scheme, including submitting the ‘Declaration of Compliance’ (one-off task).
  • Process ‘Payroll Year End’, including providing ‘P60s’ to employees (annual task).
  • Discuss with you and process ‘Cyclical re-enrolment’, including submitting the ‘Re-declaration of Compliance’ (every three years).
  • Should the need arise, close your PAYE and pension schemes (one-off task).


If you would like to discuss how Robson Laidler can support you with your payroll needs, please get in touch by filling out our contact us form.