Job Share (Part Three)

This is fast becoming the most brilliantly boring week of entries I’ve ever written on this blog. And that’s saying something. Today I paid the nurses, in an exciting set-piece ending to the saga of the payroll. But was it really the ending? Answer: no. It’s still a very important part of what the exercise is all about, though. Sitting there with a pile of pay reports put into nurse reference order (every nurse has a number on the payroll system), each one with the requisite timesheets attached, I could finally enter the details into the Sage Payroll program. First, though, I had to go through the numbers and manually highlight every nurse who needed to be paid. With many hundreds of nurses registered, it’s a bit of a pain, but was merely the first of many times that all the pay reports have to be worked through one by one.

Then it was time to action any tax changes. I had a P45 to enter for one nurse, so I put the details into Sage and whizzed the amended info off to HM Revenue and Customs via the convenient online link. Oh, and then I realised that I’d forgotten completely about holiday pay. Any nurse who requests holiday pay has a form filled out for them, which has to be put on top of their pay report and timesheets before entering the pay details so that it’s remembered. As my memory is more like that of a blancmange than an elephant.

And then gloriously I could finally enter the pay details, going through each nurse in turn, adding together the totals of their shifts (sometimes over two or three pay sheets) and their mileages to put into Sage. Then it was time to print out a copy of the payslips. This being done, they each had to be stapled to the relevant nurse’s pay sheets. While doing this, the timesheets were separated and put into a big pile for later filing. The stapling bit also acts a final check to spot any payslip that looks hopelessly wrong.

The payslips all checked out, so I printed off the payment summary report and the update records check report, which list all aspects of the nurses’ pay – including, most importantly, the net pay which actually ends up in their bank accounts. Time to physically pay them, then, using the Bankline system from Royal Bank of Scotland. We (the taxpayer) own them, by the way. Ha! It’s an easy but fiddly system with a few bugs and inconsistencies – the main annoyance being that while you can now use “faster payments” for single transactions to most types of bank account (these payments arrive within two hours), for bulk payments – ie. paying a load of nurses at once – you’re still only able to do standard BACS, which if paid on a Wednesday will arrive on the Friday. One’s a Japanese bullet train, the other’s the Stockton and Darlington railway.

Every nurse has a line on the bulk payment system, so it’s very important to concentrate, as it would be very easy to make a mistake and pay the wrong person a lot of money. When all the payments had been entered, the next screen totalled up the amount (I checked it matched the payment summary report), and I did some spot-checks on a few of the larger amounts to make sure that there really weren’t any errors. Next it was time to grab the little bank machine, enter the prompted challenge code from Bankline, remember my PIN number, and then input the response into Bankline. The system then said that the payment was processing. Excellent! Nurses paid.

Now for the tedious bit. I printed out another copy of the payslips, which come out two per page, and cut them into sizes to fit the special Sage payroll envelopes. Then I sorted them into A to Z order. I cut the second copies of the pay reports to also fit the envelopes, and – yep, you guessed it – put them into A to Z order as well. I fetched a big pile of new timesheets and “monitoring working hours” forms (a useless legal requirement that agency workers are sent, to ensure adherence to the European Working Time Directive – hardly anyone ever fills them in), and a lot of stamps. So, now sitting in a line on my desk were the following:

1. Payslips in A to Z order.
2. Pay reports in A to Z order.
3. New timesheets.
4. Monitoring working hours forms.
5. Stamps.
6. Sage Payroll envelopes.

For each nurse I matched the specific payslip to the specific pay reports, added as many timesheets as they had worked shifts, put in a monitoring working hours form, and stuffed this whole concoction into an envelope. Address in the right place to see it in the window, natch. Small second class stamp for one or two new timesheets, large second class stamp for three or more new timesheets.

Two hours later, I had a mountain of post to give to the office postie. FIN.

In tomorrow’s fourth instalment of amaze: invoice factoring! Sage accounts excitement! And more!

This post was sponsored by Narcoleptics Anonymous…

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