Skip to content
logo Knowledgebase

Export and import employee details in Sage Payroll

Created on  | Last modified on 


This guide will help you to export and import employee data from Sage Payroll.


Sometimes you may need to export and import employee data from one company to another within Sage Payroll. 

This may be because you need to transfer the employees from one company to a company with a different tax registration number. 

Sage Payroll contains basic import and export templates to allow you to extract then re-import employee data. 

NOTE: If you are transferring employees mid-year to a different payroll with the same tax registration number, you can use the Transfer Employees wizard instead. 


Export your employee data

You can use Advanced Report Writer (ARW) to export employee data from your existing Sage Payroll data quickly and easily. 

  1. From the Windows desktop, open the relevant tax year version of ARW. For example, ARW 2021.
  2. When prompted to log in, enter the same log in details as you do to open Sage Payroll, then click Ok.


    TIP: If you do not have an icon for ARW on your desktop, please follow these steps
  3. On the menu option, highlight EE Basic Details
  4. Click Excel.

This will open Excel and a file containing all your current employee data will be created. 

Amend your excel file

After exporting your employee data, you then need to amend the data before you can re-import it back to Sage Payroll. 

At this point, if you only need to import some of the employees, you can delete any of the employees you don't need from the Excel file. 

Depending on your requirements, some fields may or may not need to be adjusted. 

NOTE: You should not delete any columns from the export file. The export is specially configured to import into Sage Payroll. 

Fields you should consider include:

  • Employee Codes
    • If you want to adjust the employee codes, you should enter the new desired employee codes now.
    • You should make sure they meet the required formatting for your business.
    • If you are importing into a company that already contains employees, you should make sure the employee codes are not already in use in the payroll, otherwise the existing employee data may be overwritten.
      TIP: We recommend employee codes of at least four digits and not containing any letters. For example, 0001.
      You might need to change the formatting of the column in Excel to add the leading zeroes. 
  • Tax Status 
    • This should be set to E for Emergency in the new Payroll. This will update when you start to import RPNs from Revenue. 
  • Finish Date and Finish Period
    • If entered, these should be changed to 0.
  • Start Date
    • This should be adjusted to the start date in the new company.
  • Departments and Cost Centres
    • You may need to change or remove these, depending on if the new company uses or will use Departments and/or Cost Centres.
    • These will need to be created in the new payroll before you can import the data. 
  • Holidays
    • You may or may not want to adjust or remove Holiday data
  • CSO
    • CSO data is not typically carried over to a new company, so this should be removed if present

You may also need to check the formatting of any fields, such as bank account details, particularly to ensure they are formatted correctly and any leading zeroes are present. 

Once you have amended the file as required, you must also delete the headings row(s). This will typically be rows 1 and 2 of the spreadsheet.

After this, you can then save the file as a .csv file.

We recommend saving it with a name of EEDetail.csv and would recommend saving it on the C:\ Drive, such as C:\EEDetail.csv.

Create the new company

If required, you should create the new company and payroll within Sage Payroll. 

For more information on how to do this, please refer to this guide. Read more > 

After creating the Payroll, you may also need to then craete departments, cost centres and any payments or deductions required.

You can either do this manually, or by using the Copy Files utility to copy data from the previous payroll. Read more > 

Amend the .IMP file

To do a data import in Sage Payroll, a .IMP file must exist to tell Sage Payroll how to import the data.

A .IMP file configured to import the EE Basic Details export automatically exists in the background of Sage Payroll. 

You need to check and make a slight tweak to the file before you can import the data. 

To find the .IMP file:

  1. Open your existing Sage Payroll data.
  2. Click Help, then System Information
  3. Click the link next to Data Directory.
  4. Locate the EEDETAIL.IMP file.

NOTE: You may wish to copy this file to the desktop or another location you can access easily. 

To open and amend the file, you should right-click the EEDETAIL.IMP and click Open With..., then select Notepad.

You need to scroll down and find the line that says data=.

TIP: By default this will typically say data=C:\PROGRAMDATA\MICROPAY PROFESSIONAL\2017\\EEDETAIL.CSV

You should amend this to where you have saved the .CSV. 

If you saved it in the recommended location, you should amend this to data=C:\EEDETAIL.CSV

You can then close the EEDETAIL.IMP and say Yes when prompted to save the file. 

Import the data

You are now ready to import the data into your new payroll. 

  1. Open Sage Payroll and log in to the new payroll as normal.
    NOTE: Before you proceed, you must take a backup of your payroll data
  2. On the menu bar, click Miscellaneous, then Data Import then Data Import.
  3. Browse to and select the .IMP file you saved and amended in the previous section.
  4. Click Open.
    TIP: If prompted to view the import log, click Yes.
  5. Check the details of the data import are correct.