Processing payroll can be a sizeable, multifaceted and complex undertaking for a business, no matter your shape or size. Although time-consuming and often a considerable source of stress for business owners and managers, it is an important function within your business and it is not something that you can avoid.
Changing legislation can present challenges
The legislation that governs how payroll and pensions must be processed and administered is constantly changing making it difficult to stay abreast of at times.
April is a particularly busy time for payroll changes, with this being the start of the new tax year, but updates are endless and so employers must be on the ball all year round.
Sure, paying your staff correctly and on time is essential if you are to keep your team and the taxman happy, but that isn’t where your responsibilities end.
In fact, payroll encompasses everything from tax codes, to pensions contributions, benefits, expenses and bonuses, to name but a few, meaning an awareness of your obligations and attention to detail is of paramount importance.
You must be prepared to accommodate legislative changes, as they happen, and continue to administer your payroll accordingly.
Are you up-to-date?
Though challenging, keeping up with legislation really is the key to ensuring you are compliant as an employer.
It sounds relatively straightforward but, when you’re juggling all the other day-to-day tasks associated with running a business, it can be all too easy to let small changes, such as an increase to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or an increase in minimum pensions contributions, slip through the net.
Should they fall foul of the regulations, employers will almost certainly face undesirable consequences.
To help us all to save better for our retirement, the Government introduced its auto enrolment initiative, which has now been rolled out throughout the UK. By now, all existing employers should have enrolled eligible employees into a qualifying workplace pension, as an easy way to help them start saving for the future.
Existing employers were given a staging date; the date on which their automatic enrolment duties would commence. However, new employers who took on workers for the first time on or after 1 October 2017, have an immediate obligation to enrol eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme. Their duties take effect on the first day that the first member of staff began working for them, known as their ‘duties start date’.
Under automatic-enrolment legislation, it’s important you monitor employees, so you can ensure they are enrolled when they need to be. Having accurate payroll data available at all times can help you to identify who among your workforce, if anybody, is eligible.
The current legislation also requires employers to re-enrol eligible staff, who left their pension or reduced their contributions, back into a compliant scheme every three years (typically the third anniversary of their original staging date, if applicable).
Employers must also complete and submit a re-declaration of compliance to tell The Pensions Regulator (TPR) how they have met their re-enrolment duties, even if they do not have any workers to re-enrol.
Re-enrolment and re-declaration are legal requirements and a failure to comply could result in a fine.
The consequences of non-compliance
Failing to keep on top of your legal obligations as an employer can attract significant financial penalties. It isn’t just your money that is at stake though, but your reputation as well. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), for example, will publicly ‘name and shame’ those businesses who repeatedly fail to comply with the rules.
Outsourcing as an option
Have you ever considered lightening the administrative load by outsourcing your payroll function? If not, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you find processing payroll time-consuming and confusing?
- Are you sometimes uncomfortable with Real Time Information reporting and other electronic filing requirements?
- Are you concerned about fulfilling your auto enrolment responsibilities?
- Are you concerned that your payroll is not being run correctly and that mistakes are being made?
- Would you like to reduce the cost of maintaining up-to-date payroll software?
- Could the time and money spent on payroll be better utilised elsewhere in your business?
If you find yourself answering ‘yes’ to any of these questions, now might just be the perfect time to make your payroll needs a priority and talk to one of our dedicated team of experts.
GH Payscheme is a professional payroll bureau service, developed specifically to help businesses operate more efficiently and cost-effectively. We offer a comprehensive, confidential and competitively priced solution for businesses of any size, operating in any industry sector, in any location. To find out more about how we can help you, contact us today.