The Pension Regulator (TPR) is developing a tool to support Auto-Enrolment for users of HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools (BPT). The tool is being put together to potentially help the 200,000 or so small and micro employers who use BPT and are due to stage over the next two years. But, will the tool be the silver bullet smaller businesses are looking for? Neil Lagden, Head of Bond Payroll Services, questions whether SMEs, already overburdened with complex procedures, need yet another system to get to grips with at what is a critical time in the Auto-Enrolment process.

The new tool from TPR will be developed after it consulted in April and May 2015 and found that there was widespread recognition that users of BPT will require automated support for Auto-Enrolment. The decision to develop a basic tool was in recognition to the fact that significant numbers of BPT users will not seek a more integrated solution and will attempt manual calculations.

However, while having a tool to make the Auto-Enrolment process is appealing, it is understood that that the tool will be very basic, and will still involve a large proportion of manual data input between systems. Manual input is without doubt a time heavy task and one which is not without error – and those smaller organisations struggling with the process may find that they are again taken away from core objectives – growing and maintaining their businesses, to the roller coaster of Auto-Enrolment admin. It remains to be seen how many companies will take up and use the tool but savvy SME and micro employers are considering it prudent to work with an outsourced payroll provider in order to take the burden off of their shoulders.

Neil Lagden, Head of Bond Payroll Services, comments, “For SMEs and Micro-Businesses the Auto-Enrolment process can be daunting, and failure to comply with legislation can potentially result in heavy fines. The tool which has been developed by TPR is helpful to those smaller businesses struggling with Auto-Enrolment, however, in order to get the support they need in order to carry out the process efficiently they may want to consider outsourcing payroll in order to ensure that the process is free from error and the communications stage is well taken care of. Having the advice of a professional, or access to a knowledgeable sounding board is critical when it comes to new legislation.”

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