Auto enrolment a fear for UK SMEs - Sage finds Accountants most trusted to assist
New research of 600 small business owners from software and services provider Sage UK shows that accountants, as the leading source of advice to small businesses, are well placed to assist cashflow fears generated by the incoming auto enrolment legislation.
More than one quarter (26%) of firms said they were planning to speak to their accountant regarding how to implement the changes to their payroll. Accountants finished ahead of pension providers (22%); external business consultants (7%); and independent financial advisors (1%), underlining the fact that accountants are seen as the best source of advice for small businesses when dealing with legislative changes affecting the bottom line.
The same study found that impact on SMEs’ cash-flow was the biggest fear of business owners when auto enrolment is introduced (29%), on which accountants are well positioned to support their clients. The findings of the study are announced on the same day that Sage launches its new specialist auto enrolment software, Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition, and a new Pensions Module to assist in the automation of auto enrolment tasks.
A lack of understanding of the new legislation is cited by nearly one in 10 (9.5%) of respondents, while just under 9% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) felt that updating payroll processes and the increased administrative burden was the biggest worry.
Auto Enrolment is part of the government’s workplace pension reform legislation that aims to address the long term pension crisis by increasing the number of people in the UK who regularly pay into a pension, achieved by automatically enrolling eligible employees into a scheme. Auto enrolment requires both employees and employers to contribute into a qualifying pension scheme.
Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition and The Pensions Module have been created to put small businesses in control of their auto enrolment preparation, providing all the information they need for a seamless and stress free move to fulfilling their new responsibilities.
“Businesses can be confounded when dealing with new legislation, but our research has found once again that accountants are best-placed to help their clients navigate these changes,” said Paul Tooth, Managing Director of Sage’s Accountants’ Division.
“Our advice to businesses is to speak to an accountant, who can advise on cash-flow and financial planning. The experience, knowledge and in-depth understanding that they can offer, means that auto enrolment presents a fantastic opportunity for accountants to build and develop their practice.”
“We’ve built Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition to help accountants implement the known and existing payroll processes of their clients to do all the heavy lifting. Ensuring compliance with the new legislation is key, but just like with RTI, accountants and business owners will need support to lighten the admin load and we’ve brought all our experience to the new products to help cut down on the number of man hours auto enrolment will require.”
Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition is the latest feature release of Sage 50 Payroll and has been designed to handle all of the critical preparations employers need to make ahead of their staging date to ensure that their auto enrolment transition is seamless and stress free. Key performance upgrades include:
Pensions Centre – Everything the employer needs to get prepared: action planning, progress tools, reminders and support, all delivered in the most user friendly format
Automatic Enrolment Cost Forecaster – Everything needed to calculate the current and future cost of Automatic Enrolment for the employer, providing the information required to minimise the financial burden of Automatic Enrolment
Sage Business Community – In-product access to Sage Business Community where payroll users can share common experiences of Automatic Enrolment and benefit from peer to peer support
Launched at the same time, the Sage 50 Payroll Pensions Module is a brand new piece of software that seamlessly integrates with Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition and automates significant amounts of the administrative burden of Automatic Enrolment.
Further information (external website)