February 2015

Pension Auto enrolment - what does it look like so far?

We're well into this so what do we think so far? The first thing to say is that it really is a massive task, there is so much to learn and so much to get wrong. Compared with the previous biggest ever change to payroll, which was RTI Real Time Initiative, it has to be at least 20 times the effort and that's for our professional staff who are used to such.

It's also quite different as it involves deductions from pay, so requires employee liaison.

We have to use new additional (costly) software to handle the rules, not just to set up but for every payroll run ongoing. We're using Sage for this and of course the software had teething problems, not too bad but enough to take a lot of extra time. One issue was that the title Ms was not an option so we were forced to use Mrs. When we submitted these for checking they were rejected as the person was registered as a Ms. Get out of that!

The main thing we've discovered is the substantial amount of extra time we require to run the auto enrolment. Roughly it doubles our time - there are a good number of manual tasks that are required, even for the smallest payroll. Employers are maybe in for a surprise when the servicing bills come in, apart from the 1% and rising to 5% contributions they have to pay. Just as long as we're not blamed.

On a practical note we recommend first be sure of your staging date, unlike some of our clients who are at least a year late with the date they have in mind and second do get on and choose your pension provider. The rest can be achieved quite quickly - say a few months.

As regards choosing a pension provider we're not allowed to advise. There are perhaps three ways of doing this 1) do it yourself 2) use your IFA or adviser 3) pay a specialist.

Our policy is to make it look easy but it's not really. Don't delay, check it today