When you’re ready to pay your employees, you can do a pay run. This is where you check and edit the default pay details for each employee you’re paying, before recording the payroll transactions. Once you’ve finished the pay run, you can pay your employees, using cash, cheque or bank transfer. If you're subscribed to Essentials Accounting Starter or Essentials Accounting, read the note below on your pay run process.

Before you start

Before you can do your first pay run, make sure you’ve set up all the employees you want to pay, and entered their details, including any additional pay types, allowances and deductions that you want to include in their pay. See Set up employees.

Before you can finish your first pay run, you’ll also need to have completed the payroll setup, by choosing which bank account you’ll be using when you pay your employees’ wages. See Set up payroll.

Paying your employees 

  1. In the Pay centre, choose the dates and duration of the pay period. Dates must be within the current or previous payroll year.
  2. Select which employees to include in the pay run.
  3. Click in the Email column to select which employees you want to email payslips to. Note that you need to have entered their email addresses on the Employee details tab of their employee record.
  4. Click Start pay run. The Pay run page appears, displaying a list of employees included in the pay run, along with a detailed view of the first employee’s pay.
  5. Check the employee’s pay details. If required, you can change the number of hours worked. Depending on the selections you made on the Earnings/Deductions tab of the current employee’s record, you can add hours of overtime, bonus or commission amounts, or change the default amount of any earnings or deductions as required. If a pay type is not shown, make sure you’ve selected it on the Earnings/Deductions tab of the employee’s record. See Set up pay items (earnings and deductions).
  6. (New Zealand) If the employee has taken leave or has worked on a public holiday and you want to include this in their pay, click Holidays & Leave, then select the type of leave and make any required changes to the calculations. For more information, see Entering leave and holiday pay on a pay run (New Zealand).
  7. (Australia) If the employee has taken annual or personal leave, enter the number of hours of leave they have taken on the relevant line. Their available leave balance for each type is shown next to the Hours field. Note that if an employee has taken leave, you might need to adjust the normal hours worked to make sure the total number of hours is correct. For more information about managing employees’ leave, see Managing your employees’ leave

    Changing the PAYG/PAYE tax

    If you need to pay more or less tax for an employee, click on the employee's PAYG/PAYE amount in the grid and type the new amount. This must be the last change you make to the employee's pay in this pay run, as any additional changes will cause the PAYG/PAYE to be recalculated at the default rate. If this is an ongoing change to the employee's tax, you'll need to manually override the default amount each time you do a pay run.

  8. Once you’ve finished checking and editing the employee’s pay, click Next employee. A detailed view of the next employee’s pay appears.
  9. Repeat from step 5 until you’ve finished checking and editing the pay for all employees in the list.
  10. When you’re satisfied that all the pays are correct, click Review payslips. All payslips for the current pay run are displayed so you can check them for any irregularities. Don’t print the payslips now, as they will be printed at the end of the pay run. If the payslips aren’t correct, you can click Return to pay run and make any required changes to the pay run. The Pay run summary page appears, showing a summary of the pay run for all employees.
  11. Check the pay run summary. If you need to make corrections or confirm any details, you can click Return to pay centre. You can then edit the current pay run by clicking Start pay run on the Pay centre page. If you’re happy that the pays are correct, click Looks good. The pay run is processed and payslips are emailed to the employees you selected in the Pay Centre.
  12. Click Print payslips to finish pay run. The payslips are created and appear as a PDF in your web browser. You can then print them as you normally would. You can now make the wages payments to your employees. For more information, see Paying your employees.
  13. If you're paying any employees electronically, you're be prompted to download a bank file which you can upload to your online banking site. Click Download bank file and choose where you want to save the file. Learn more about paying employees electronically.

Using Essentials Accounting Starter or Essentials Accounting?

If you're subscribed to Essentials Accounting Starter or Essentials Accounting, you have a limit of one employee per pay run. If you try to pay more than one employee, you'll receive the following popup:

popup with upgrade button and info

To pay more than one employee per pay run, you'll need to upgrade your subscription. Click Upgrade now to be taken to Subscription details, where you can view your upgrade options.


How do I fix the "Looks like you don't have permission to access this page" error?

How do I fix the "Looks like you don't have permission to access this page" error?

The following message might display when trying to enter a new pay:

message stating Looks like you don't have permission to access this page

To fix this, you need to make sure each employee has the "hours per week" information specified. Here's how to check:

  1. On the Payroll menu, click Employees.
  2. Click an employee's name to display their details.
  3. Ensure there is a number (greater than zero) entered in the hours per week field under Pay details.
    pay details with 38 hours per week entered 
  4. Click Save.
  5. Repeat steps 2-4 for each employee.
How do I email my employees' payslips?

How do I email my employees' payslips?

To email an employee their payslip, record their email address on the Employee details tab of their employee record. Learn more about entering employee details.

When you do a pay run, select the email payslip option for the employee.

email payslip option selected for 2 employees

Can I add a note to an employee's payslip?

Can I add a note to an employee's payslip?

You can add a note to an employee's payslip on the Pay run page (after clicking Start pay run). Add your note in the Notes to appear on payslip field for the selected employee. Selecting another employee lets you add a different note.

Continue processing the pay as normal.