By Maximilian Clarke

Nearly two thirds of small business owners in the UK won’t stop working between Christmas and the New Year and only one in ten resents having to work during that time, new research from business software and service provider, Sage UK, today revealed.

The Sage Omnibus surveyed over 1,000 small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) from its 800,000 strong UK customer base and found that:

• 5% of business owners are planning on working on Christmas Day
• 7% of small business owners are planning on working on Boxing Day
• 10% of small business owners are planning on working on New Year’s Day
• 4 out of 10 business owners (39%) will work over the festive period, even though their business is officially closed.

According to Sage’s research, whilst 10% of entrepreneurs will be using the peace and quiet to plan for 2012, the majority will use the time to get on top of key business processes such as finances and payroll. One of the reasons business owners are happy to work during this period is that they can focus on tasks without distractions, and as a result 84% of respondents said that they are productive or very productive at this time of year.

However, with the majority of firms in the UK closing over the festive break the study also highlighted that this can pose challenges to the entrepreneurs that remain working. The top three frustrations for business owners are key suppliers being closed, banks being closed and IT support being unavailable.

The findings from Sage’s Omnibus come as the company announced the launch of Sage One Payroll, the first addition to its highly anticipated family of online software as a service tools, offering small business owners a simple, secure, low cost way to manage their payroll online.

Designed to help entrepreneurs who have no specialist payroll knowledge or IT skills to effectively and efficiently run their payroll, the software automatically takes care of all legislative updates and calculates statutory payments and deductions, giving business owners confidence that their payroll is accurate and peace of mind that that they are always compliant.

Sage One Payroll has been created to help firms with 15 or less employees to pay staff quickly and accurately online. It contains a number of features that save entrepreneurs valuable time, including:

• Automatic recording and updating of P11 records;
• Retrospective correction facility that means if a mistake has been made with pay earlier in the year it is easy to correct and ensures employees are compensated in the current pay run;
• Ability to export data for payroll year-end reports directly to HMRC website, eliminating the need to re-enter data.

Furthermore, because the software seamlessly integrates with Sage One Accounts, it helps provide a real time perspective on a business’ cash flow and can automatically make the information available to your accountant.

“Working over Christmas can prove quite challenging if you hit a problem but have no one to turn to because the support team are tucking into turkey,” comments Chris Stonehouse, Head of Sage Online. “That’s why Sage One Payroll comes with 24/7 telephone support 365 days a year, giving business owners access to an unrivalled infrastructure of payroll expertise and software support whenever they need it.”

“Sage has a fantastic pedigree within the payroll software space and this expertise has helped shape and inform our first SaaS payroll product. We also spent a lot of time consulting with small businesses and their insights fed into every element from the design to the language used, enabling us to create what we believe is one of the industry's most user-friendly pieces of software for processing the pay run.”

Costing only £5 per month for up to 5 employees, £10 per month for up to 10 employees and £15 per month for up to 15 employees, Sage One Payroll is one of the best value for money payroll software packages available. Until July 2012 it is available to businesses for free.

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