How to optimise payroll? From spreadsheets to cloud and automation


Who doesn’t love a spreadsheet? You know exactly where everything is, down to the last cell. You’ve spent countless hours, writing custom formulas to calculate specific values, companies are broken down into departments by sheet, the list goes on. Whatever it might be, it’s a work of art. You see the beauty in the numbers but god forbid you take a day off come payday, some unfortunate soul has to open up your beloved work and decode the matrix. This is where the limitations of spreadsheets within payroll show. 

In this blog post, we will discuss traditional payroll challenges and how they can be eliminated by using FreshPay, our specialist cloud-based payroll platform. 

Many companies still use manual processes and spreadsheets to manage their payroll and while this method may work for some small businesses with only a few employees, it can become more of a challenge for larger organisations and more difficult again as a payroll bureau. If you fall into any of these categories, the following may sound familiar to you:

  1. Time-Consuming: Calculating payroll using spreadsheets can be a time-consuming process that requires a lot of manual data entry.
  2. Errors: Spreadsheets are prone to errors, which can lead to incorrect payments, taxes, and benefits. These errors can lead to legal and financial implications for the organisation.
  3. Compliance: Payroll processing involves complying with various regulations and laws, which can be challenging to keep up with manually.
  4. Data Security: Storing sensitive employee data on spreadsheets or local computers can be risky, as these devices can be lost, damaged, or hacked.
  5. Lack of Visibility: With manual payroll processing, it can be challenging to get real-time visibility into the organisation’s payroll data.

Moving to FreshPay, as a cloud-based payroll system, enables companies and bureaus alike, to manage their payroll data efficiently saving both time and money. With automation for many of the manual tasks, the risk of human error is greatly reduced, allowing you to focus on more important aspects of the business and grow your client base.

As accountants and payroll professionals, our co-founders loved their spreadsheet creations so when it came to moving onto a payroll system, it needed to be the right one; however, the available software options weren’t individually able to fulfil their payroll needs. So what did they do? The logical solution of course! They decided to develop their own platform that embodied the technical ability of a spreadsheet and combined it with the benefits delivered by an online payroll platform. Here are just a few of the key advantages that are on offer when it comes to moving FreshPay. 


Time is money after all and is one of the key development objectives when it came to building FreshPay. Bulk edit, auto-enrollment assessment, and automated director-only pay runs are just a few of the features that are on offer when it comes to running payroll from the cloud. Gone are the days of needing to go back into a pay run to send the RTI and pensions once the data is finalised, information can be saved and submitted at any time, to process on a predefined date of your choosing. 


Integrations are key when it comes to saving time. Downloading journals, pension enrollments, tax code updates, processing pay runs, and paying staff and HMRC all take up valuable time and have always been a driving focus of our co-founders and is something that we’re constantly adding to. We connect directly with HMRC for automatic tax code updates, FPS and EPS submissions, and validation of CIS subcontractors, Xero for your journal integrations with both tracking categories and NI allowance included in the journal, PensionSync for auto-enrollment, and a compatible CSV download for your preferred payment provider are among a few of the connections which we have integrated. When it comes to payments, our go to is Crezco thanks to their complete payment solutions. Being able to remotely process payments, in bulk and instantly perfectly aligns with the vision of FreshPay and is why our co-founder continues to use them.  


Keeping up to date with tax code changes, HMRC submissions and pension contributions leaves any business susceptible to error. FreshPay is directly connected with both so whenever an update is needed, a letter is required to be sent or a notification needs to be pushed, the risk of that task being missed is a thing of the past. 

That being said, as with any system where some manual entry is required, there is always the risk of human error when it comes to populating numbers. An extra zero here, a 1 missing from there, these small errors can sometimes crop up when it comes to adding hours for employees’ pay runs. And, while you can submit pay runs ahead of the required payment date, if these mistakes do happen, or changes need to be made, there is always the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments. 


One of the primary challenges that come with spreadsheets, and even desktop software, is multiple users being able to access the data, securely and without corruption. This is a key focus of FreshPay, allowing you to work from anywhere, with as many team members, meaning that you can run payroll without risk or limitation. 

Reports are accessible to employers through the secure portal, where they can download payslips, payment reports, P30s, pension letters and any other reports that they need to keep the business up-to-date, compliant and running smoothly. Combined with the personal employee portal, where they can access all of their data, means that all parties are up to date and able to access the information that they need.  


Looks aren’t everything. But, if you can have an amazing tool, that is also easy on the eye, then that’s a win win! When designing FreshPay, the team were tired of the typical monochromatic tones or white cells, something that shines through with our clean interface. Intuitive to the user, with guides where needed, and a customer success team on standby, there’s no reason to continue staring at those little white cells any longer!

Making the change from the comfort of a trusty spreadsheet to any new software is an understandably daunting transition, which is why we always offer a 1-1 demo and trial period of FreshPay.

If you would like to hear more about the platform, see a demo, or just try it out, click here and a member of the team will be in touch. Once you’ve prepared to run payroll using Freshpay, you can use an open banking platform like Crezco to quickly and easily pay all of your employees at once.