Getting Started

Create your account

The first step is to create a free account. This will give you free access to the full system for a month.

If you have a very complex payroll, or just need a little more time to figure out whether Smart Pay is right for you, let us know we can normally extend the free trial period.

To create your account simply follow the Get Started link from the top of or follow this link. Register user.

This is where you set your email address and password, make it a good one as it will be keeping your payroll data safe. When it's all entered click the Register button.

If you want to turn on two-factor authentication, this can be done from the settings inside Smart Pay. If you don't know what two-factor authentication is, the short answer is it's a security thing and a good idea. Here is a longer explanation if you want to know more.

Smart Pay will send you an email to confirm your email address. So you should have a new email with the subject Confirm your email. This is likely the first email we have sent you, so if you can't find it don't forget to check your spam folder.

In the email, there is a Verify your email button. Follow this to confirm your address. That's your account setup.

Follow the Login link to log in. This might be a good time to bookmark the login page or so you can find your way back nice and easily.

Set up your company

Once you have signed in you will be taken to a welcome screen. You can buy a licence at this point, but for this manual, we are assuming you are going for the free trial. So follow the Start Free Trial button.

The next screen asks for a few basic details about your company. If you don't have something like your company's ITIP Reference on you right now, don't worry it can always be filled in later. When you are finished click Next.

Smart Pay automatically saves the page every time you change fields or click on a button. So don't worry about saving your progress, it will all still be there when you log back in. Also fields like the company registration number that always come in a specific format have placeholder text to give you a bit of a hint of what we're expecting.

Departments, Smart Pay breaks employees up into departments. You need to have at least one department, but you can have as many as you want. Just click Add Department and give it a name. Once you are ready click Next.

Pay Frequencies, how often do you pay your staff? Smart Pay supports Monthly, 4 Weekly and Weekly. Just tick the ones that apply to your company and then Next.

Banking, allows you to create a bulk transaction file with the full list of payments for the payroll. This can be uploaded to your bank's website to process the payments in one go. If this sounds useful click Yes. If you do this manually or you pay your staff by cheque or in cash click No.

That's your company all set up. If you want to change anything click Back to go back a page. If you are happy click Create.

Add your people

You can't have a payroll without people. So the next step is to add a few details about the people you will be paying.

For the sake of this manual we are assuming you are paying employees not sub-contractors, sub-contractors work a little differently. We will cover sub-contractors in a future manual. Until then if you are paying sub-contractors, please let us know and we will be happy to walk you through the process.

Now you have your company set up, you should be looking at the People list. To add your first employee just click the Add button at the top.

First, it will ask you a few personal details about your employee. Forenames, Surname, Postal Address, and Email Address. Once you have those details in. Click Next.

Second, it asks for salary information. This lets you select the payroll, to dictate how often the employee is paid, as well as set their salary and expected working hours. Once you are happy click Next.

For monthly payrolls, the salary pay items are worked out from the annual salary down. This means you can input their annual salary and the monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly rates are worked out automatically. Click the Salary breakdown link if you would like to change these manually.

Next, are the national insurance and tax reference numbers. Not much to say here.

Pension, if you or your employee contribute directly to their pension this is where you input the values. The contributions will be included in each payroll automatically, but they can always be overridden if needed.

Click Finish and your employee is set up. You can now close your first employee and run your first payroll or add another employee.

Run your first payroll

Once your employees are set up, run your payroll by selecting Company on the left menu then clicking Run Payroll next to the payroll name.

After a second, you will be shown the Payroll Details. This is where you can add any new pay types or change employee hours.

Once you are happy click Complete. Smart Pay will then work out all the payment lines and create the payslip reports for your payroll run. From here by clicking on an employee's name you can see their payment breakdown as well as print out their payslip. You can also print out Pension, Accounting and Payment List reports and, of course, email the payslips directly to all your employees.

If you have input banking details for your company and employees this is where you can download the bank instruction file to upload to your bank's website. If not the Payment List report will give you a breakdown of the payments due to each employee.

If something doesn't look right, the Remove button will take you back to the Payroll Details so you can make any changes necessary.

If you need to come back to the payroll later, an open payroll, one that hasn't been completed yet, can be reopened by going to Company and clicking on the payroll name under open payrolls. If the payroll is closed then the complete payroll history is available under Payments on the left menu.

That's it, you have input your company and employee details and run your first payroll. Until next week, you're all done!


This is where you can get a heads up about upcoming deadlines or bank holidays, change account settings such as your password, change your licence level, and download the data archive.

If your company is growing and you need to pay more employees, the licence button will allow you to change your licence level. The licences are charged annually, so if you change the level partway through a year the new licences will be discounted based on how much time is left on the current licence.

Settings will allow you to update your account settings. This is where you can update your password, change your email, or turn on two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is recommended as it will enhance your account security.

The data archive is a complete history of the reports generated for you by Smart Pay. It is a good idea to download the data archive now and then so that you have a local copy of your payroll information.

You can get back to the dashboard, by clicking on the logo on the top left.


The company is where you can change details about your company such as address and registration number, as well as manage lists attached to the company.


The most notable list attached to the company is the payrolls list. You can modify payrolls by clicking on the payroll name. This will let you change the current period, payroll name, or payroll frequency for a given payroll. New payrolls can also be added to the list as well as old payrolls removed.

You can not remove a payroll if it has people attached.

When editing payrolls you can also set the payroll day and select create automatically. If create automatically is turned on Smart Pay will automatically run the payroll on the payroll day and send you an email with the Payroll Details.

The run payroll button will open a new run for the selected payroll. This will create the default payroll lines and take you to the Payroll Details page. From there you can edit the employee hours and/or add one-off payments. Find out more under Payroll Details.

Open payrolls

If you create a new payroll with the run payroll button, but don't complete it there and then it will appear in the company under open payrolls next time you open the company. To go back to the Payroll Details simply click on the line next to the payroll name.


The employees are split up into departments. This is useful because it allows you to set department heads with the ability to approve timesheets.

By default there is one department called "Main Department" you can rename this and add as many as you like, but need to have at least one. The departments can be edited by clicking on the line next to the department name.


Banking allows Smart Pay to produce a bulk payment instruction file that can be uploaded to your bank's website to pay your staff.

To do this the banks require payer and beneficiary account details. This is where you can input the payer details. To edit the banking info click the edit button on the right.

That will take you to the banking details, this needs to be set to the bank account you pay funds out from to pay your staff. It is worth taking a note of the output format field as this will be used to pick which format Smart Pay saves the payment file to. Once you are happy simply click back to details to go back to the company


Projects are categories the employee timesheets can be grouped into. When an employee puts in a timesheet line from the employee portal they will be given the list of projects to pick from. They would normally be based on the pay types the employees have available such as standard time, overtime and the like. Or if the employee does client work then they could just as well be linked to a client-specific code.

Email Templates

The Email Template allows you to override the standard wording when payslips are sent out to your employees.

To edit the template click the edit button to the right. Then simply enter the payslip email wording and a preview of the final email will appear below.

For values that will change between emails, the template uses placeholders that get replaced by the real values when the email is sent. The preview uses a payment to a fictitious employee called "Jane Doe" to allow you to see what it would look like in a real email.

To use the placeholders simply put the value name between braces in place of the real value. So to add a greeting to the top of your email you might start by inputting "Dear {title} {surname}" that would then come out as "Dear Miss Doe".

email template

The placeholders currently supported are.

  • {title}
  • {forename}
  • {surname}
  • {fullname}
  • {period}
  • {paydate}
  • {periodname}
  • {paymonth}
  • {payday}
  • {date}
  • {year}
  • {salary}
  • {gross}
  • {niee}
  • {nier}
  • {tax}
  • {paymenttype}
  • {gender}
  • {department}
  • {company}


The people page lists all the people that work for your company. You can add someone new with the add button at the top, or click on the line next to an employee's name to view and edit their details.

Like the company, the employee details are split up into sections. To edit any of the sections simply click the edit button to the right. Then when you are finished click back to details to get back to the main screen.


The personal section covers their contact information such as their address, phone number, and email. As well as a few points that relate to the payroll such as their marital status and if they require a work permit.

Employment and Salary

Employment and salary cover two halves. Their employment information such as the department, start date, status, and the payroll they belong to.

The salary can be set in two ways.

For monthly payrolls it is set from the top down, so you set the annual salary and update the weeks per year, days per week and hours per week as needed. Then Smart Pay works out the monthly, weekly, daily, and hourly rates from that. The salary breakdown link will let you manually override these if necessary.

For weekly payrolls, it is set from the bottom up. So you set the hourly salary and up from there.

Pay Types

Pay types are pay components that could be included in a payroll for the employee but, are not worked out from the main salary. Possible examples are a holiday pay rate or a bonus for working on the weekend.

You can add a new type by clicking the edit button on the right then, add a new type. For the new type, it will ask for a name, default units, and default value. The defaults can be overridden in the payroll but if you know what they are in advance it makes it easier to input each time. If both defaults have a value then the type will be added automatically to each new payroll. Otherwise, one can be left at zero and the type will be available in the payroll but won't be added automatically.

The new type also has several flags that change the ways it behaves when the payroll run is completed. The flags work by deciding if the line total value for that type is included in various calculations.

  • Include when working out Tax This includes the value in the taxable balance. Or another way of putting it is for tax, this makes it a gross value, not net.
  • Include when working out NIee This includes the value when working out NI for the employee. Or another way of putting it is for NIee, this makes it a gross value, not net.
  • Include when working out Nier This includes the value when working out NI for the employer. Or another way of putting it is for NIer, this makes it a gross value, not net.
  • Is a deduction This means that the value is deducted from the total not added to it.
  • Include in Pension percentage If the employee has a percentage of their wage that goes to their pension, then this included the pay type value in the total that the percentage is worked out from.
  • Is an Expense This included the value in expense reporting.
  • Is a director’s fee This includes the value in the director's fee totals.
  • Is sick pay This includes the value in sick pay reporting.
  • Is Holiday Pay This includes the value in holiday reporting.

So for the weekend bonus example from before. It could be set up with a name of "Weekend Bonus", a default value of say, £100, why not it's a nice round number. Zero default units, because they don't get it unless they work at the weekend. Then a tick in Include when working out Tax, Include when working out NIee, and Include when working out Nier to included it in the normal tax deductions.

NI / Tax

NI / Tax is where you can enter the tax code and NI number for your employee. Click the edit button on the right to change the numbers.


The pension section allows you to track pensions contributions as part of the payroll. Click the edit button to change the contribution numbers.

The pension contributions are split up into two sections.

Employee contributions, so contributions made by the employee that get deducted from the gross salary and invested directly into their pension fund.

Employer contributions, so contributions made by you the employer as an addition to the salary.

Both of these types can be percentages of the salary or fixed values. If you put a value in the employee or employer contributions they will appear as separate lines on the payroll for that employee.


Banking allows Smart Pay to produce a bulk payment instruction file that can be uploaded to your bank's website to pay your staff.

To do this the banks require payer and beneficiary account details. This is where you can input the beneficiary details. To edit the banking info click the edit button on the right then add new account.

This needs to be set to the bank account your employee has given you to pay their salary into. You can enter more than one account for an employee if they have requested the funds to be split, however, in most cases just one account will do.

Once you are happy simply click back to details to go back to the employee.


The payments section gives you the complete payment history for this employee in Smart Pay. Clicking edit on the right will give you a list of payments along with the period, pay and year to date numbers. The payslip button will also allow you to reprint the payslip.

If an employee has asked for another copy of a payslip, this is the place to go.

Payroll Details

Payroll Details is where you run each payroll. This is where you can override the salary, add in custom hours, add a new pay type, even complete the payroll and send the payslip emails. In short, there is quite a lot you can do on this page.

Open Payroll

While the payroll is open, payroll details will list all the employees on the payroll, along with their gross pay, tax deductions and net salary. If you want to see the breakdown click on the line next to the employee name and it will show you all the pay items for that employee.

From here you can add another salary item with the add salary item button or add a pay type with the add pay type button. The salary items are calculated from the main salary, so hourly, daily, double-time and the like. Pay items are any custom items you have added from the employee page. So job-related bonuses or expense payouts. If you want to remove any of the items from the payroll, click the X on the right.

new pay type

You can add a new pay type with the add new type button. This works in the same way as the pay types from the employee, look under employee Pay Types for more info. By default, new types only apply to this payroll, if you want the new pay type to be included in the next payroll tick the Keep option.

If you are running your payroll a few days in advance. You can override the payroll date from the box at the top. When the payroll is completed, all the payments will be tagged with this date.

You can remove all the lines for an employee and Smart Pay will generate a payslip for zero. This can be useful for weekly employees that are on holiday as it prevents gaps in their payslip history. If you want to remove them completely, simply remove the lines and then click the remove employee button.

Employees that have been added after the payroll was run, or that have been removed are listed at the bottom. If you want to add them back in use the Add button next to their name.


When the payroll is completed, the payroll details page shows the payment breakdown for each employee on the payroll, as well as gives you the email and reporting options.

This is where you can print out your payment list, accounts and pension reports, download the bank instruction files and send the payslip emails.

If you want more details you can click the line next to the employee name and it will give you the payment breakdown as well as let you print the payslip and T14 reports.

Payment details

If it doesn't look right, the remove button will reopen the payroll and allow you to change the payment lines.


The payments section allows you to see all the payment batches that have been run inside Smart Pay. When you click on payments in the menu it will give you a list of all of the payment batches that have yet to be sent out to the employees. If you want to see batched that have already been sent out as well, click the show complete button.

To see the full breakdown click the payment batch line and it will open the Payroll Details page for that batch. More on the Payroll Details page can be found under Payroll Details.


Approvals allow you to approve employee timesheets. Approving a timesheet changes the timesheet status when you run the payroll. If there is an issue with the timesheet you can send it back to the employee with a note explaining the reason for rejection.

Alternatively, employees can be named as department heads from the company Department Details. That will give them the right to approve timesheets for employees in their department. You will be able to see if a department head has approved a timesheet from here and when you run the payroll from the Payroll Details page.

Employee Portal

The employee portal allows employees access to their data held in the payroll. This can cut down on HR requests as well as allow staff to let you know if something is incorrect. If you log on to the employee portal, this is what you will see.

employee portal

Your Details

The your details section allows you to see personal contact information, national insurance numbers, NI tables, tax codes, pension contributions as well as banking information. In short the important bits that need to be right.

Along with the personal details the your details section also allows you to access the complete payroll history that is in Smart Pay. Clicking the payslip button will download a fresh copy of the payslip for that period.


Timesheets allows you to submit timesheets right in the payroll. Once a timesheet is submitted it will be sent directly to HR or your department head depending on how it has been configured.

To submit a timesheet simply select the week the timesheet is for with the edit button on the right. Then add a line by picking a project, adding some hours and a description. To add a second line click the add button. To remove a line click the X on the right.

The values will be saved automatically as you type so no need to remember to save.

If you want to come back to the timesheet later use the back button to go back to the week list. To submit the timesheet for approval use the submit button. Timesheets in review are listed under the weeks so you can see their status.

If a timesheet gets rejected it is listed under the weeks with the return note attached. Clicking on edit on the right will allow you to edit the timesheet and resubmit it.


If you are a department head you will get an approvals option on the left menu. This allows you to approve or reject timesheets submitted by employees in your department.

To review one of the timesheets awaiting approval simply click on the timesheet line and you will be given the option to approve or reject. If you reject a timesheet you will be asked to input a note explaining the reason for the rejection. Simply add the note and click reject. The timesheet and note will then be delivered back to the employee.

On the main timesheet list clicking the show complete button will show you the history of approved timesheets. Clicking roll back will undo the approval and put it back in the awaiting approval list.