28 September 2023

December is a busy month for payroll managers as they prepare for year-end reporting and plan for the new year ahead. Payroll is a deadline driven part of every business and demands special attention during the festive season. Early planning can ensure a streamlined and successful December pay run.

  • Review dates: Pay dates commonly fall toward the end of the month, where they may clash with bank holidays. In that case, the business may decide to pay staff early. It’s important to review this with the wider business in advance, so that a decision can be made and any change to the pay date can be communicated to employees.
  • Double-check resources: Because of the bank holidays, the end of December is an extremely popular time for people to book leave. It's best to plan ahead, making sure that those individuals involved in payroll processing are available at key times in the month. This includes people such as finance managers or those with authority for payment sign offs.
  • Work with your payroll team: Whether payroll is run in-house or with an outsourced provider, most businesses will use a payroll processing schedule that outlines the key deadlines and steps to be taken each month. Once the year’s final pay date is set and the availability of key people is confirmed, it is important to review other deadlines and communicate them. Adjustments may be needed to ensure the new deadlines will be met. 
  • End-of-year bonuses: Will there be any additional payments, such as a bonus scheme? Start gathering information from the business now so that payroll can make sure extra payments go through on time. Business hours are fewer in December than in a usual month, so planning is key.
  • RTI reporting: If you decide to bring forward your December payment date, do not report the change on your December RTI submission. The submission still needs to be filed with HMRC on or before your normal payment date. It will affect staff who receive universal credit or state benefits if you change the payment date in your payment system. 
  • Payslips: Even if the December payment date changes, payslips should still detail normal payment dates, rather than the date staff are actually paid.
  • PAYE: Don’t forget to pay your PAYE liabilities. These will be due on or before 22 December 2023 if you pay electronically (19 December 2023 if paying by other means).

For more information on how RSM can help you streamline your payroll process, please contact Simon Balaam.