A late change to UK taxation has forced users to install an update to their accountancy packages, Computer Weekly has learnt this week.
Dennis Keeling, chairman of the Business & Accounting Software Developers Association (Basda), said several software firms, including market leader, Sage, were caught out by late changes to UK tax law. Keeling said that all accountancy software firms had to issue an update to their users.
John Rutherford, chairman of the Basda payroll working group, said the Inland Revenue announced a lastminute re-interpretation of National Insurance legislation which affected employee net pay. "Software suppliers had to get their accountancy packages changed by 6 April," he said.
But some suppliers had already rolled out the 2000/2001 tax updates to their payroll software. "Suppliers did not know [of the change] until it was too late," Rutherford continued.
Users had to apply another update to their software to comply with this late change to UK tax law.
Rutherford said the problem had been exacerbated by the Government not publicising the changes effectively.
A spokesman for the Federation of Small Businesses told Computer Weekly, "The last thing users need is an outdated package which gives out the wrong information." In a lot of firms people end up loading the software themselves which is a lengthy process," he said.
Mark Huey, programme director at Meta Group, said that it can take from as little as a few hours to several months to update software, depending on the complexity of the update. "It makes sense for users to stay up-to-date with the patches issued by suppliers."
Accounting software supplier Sage has acknowledged that some of its users experienced problems with its software during the end-of-year accounting period.
A company statement said there have been minor problems experienced by some users of Sage Payroll. "With approximately 80,000 payroll customers using different combinations of hardware and software, it is inevitable that this occurs."
To overcome issues relating to end-of-year payroll, Sage appointed a dedicated payroll year-end manager and provided a further 80 support staff to make 300 staff in total. It has also launched a payroll year-end Web site.