What is Payroll Projections in Excel?

As it can be a complex part of managing a business, many choose to outsource their payroll needs. This can, however, be an expensive option as well as an unnecessary one. With Microsoft Excel, it is possible for many, particularly small businesses, to manage their payroll projections in house with little effort.


Aside from the obvious advantages of saving money, there are several ways in which using Excel for payroll can be beneficial. The simplicity of the program means most are able to manage payroll projections with the minimum of fuss. Although more complex businesses might require expertise in this area, most can benefit from Excel.

What’s more, as Excel is ubiquitous in the I.T. and business worlds, many will already have a grasp of how the program works, meaning little or no training.

Excel has been designed with payroll in mind so businesses can make use of its Payroll Calculator, which contains built in templates to make the setup simple and formulas to help you calculate accurately.

Step by step guides

As previously mentioned, Excel is a fairly easy to use program that greatly simplifies payroll projections. While it can also deal with some of the more complex requirements of payroll, the basic functions are the most important.

Download the Payroll Calculator

The first thing you will need to do is download the Excel Payroll Calculator, which can be found on the Microsoft Excel website. Open the download in Excel and save a file with an appropriate name.

Employee information

Once opened you can start adding the employee information you wish to calculate into the template. This can include names, tax and national insurance percentages and earnings etc. You can even add information relating to deductibles, student loans and payments towards pensions.

Select Payroll Calculator

You must ensure that you have the payroll calculator selected before adding the details of each of the sections you wish to calculate. This can be found towards the bottom of the page.

Adding the information

Once you have set up the template and refined it to meet your requirements, the most time consuming part of the process will be adding the specific information relating to each employee. Although this can be laborious to begin with, once you have the template constructed, it will be much quicker to use in the future.

It is also important to add flexible information, such as overtime, holiday pay and sick pay, to the calculation as this can become problematic if you need to add it later.

Processing the information

Once the information has been added, Excel will automatically update the calculations, meaning you have nothing else to do and can let the template, if constructed correctly, do all the work for you. From here you can easily view information, including who may have taken the most holidays, sick days and overtime.

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Other options

While Excel is perfectly suited to some, there are other options available that should be researched in order to make sure you choose the right option for your payroll needs.

Other software

Excel is not the only program available to businesses wishing to keep their payroll process in house. As payroll can become quite complex, even for small businesses, there are many other software available, some of which is free, that provides other benefits.

Most premium software will provide HMRC compliance, allowing you to easily send information with little complication. The HMRC itself also provides a simple software template for businesses to process payroll information.

Prices vary enormously and will largely depend on the size of your staff. The smallest businesses will generally be able to access entry level software that is free to use.


Outsourcing remains the most hassle free, yet expensive, method of payroll processing. Small businesses can rarely afford to employ the services of a professional firm but those with a sizeable staff, over twenty for example, will often benefit from their employment.

The very largest of businesses may also be able to run their own accountancy department but for the majority of UK businesses, outsourcing is at least worth researching.

The benefits of outsourcing payroll are various and include the reduced risk of errors regarding tax payments, freeing up of staff to focus on the jobs they are trained to do and ensuring wages are paid on time and accurately.

Rob Binns Expert Market
Rob Binns Senior Writer

Rob writes mainly about the payments industry, but also brings to the table industry-specific knowledge of CRM software, business loans, fulfilment, and invoice finance. When not exasperating his editor with bad puns, he can be found relaxing in a sunny (socially-distanced) corner, with a beer and a battered copy of Dostoevsky.