In a recent report about lessons for SMEs around auto enrolment the CIPD urges small and medium sized companies to start planning now in order to avoid unnecessary costs and guarantee access to the best advice and pension scheme for their business.

The report was based on a survey that revealed how many SMEs fear that they may struggle with the costs related to setting up auto enrolment. Over a quarter said that they will need to reduce pay growth, over a fifth expected to have to freeze pay, and almost a quarter predicted a knock-on effect that might include cuts to bonuses or overtime.

We join the CIPD in advising SMEs to start planning now. Some of our top tips for any business who wants to start preparing include:

·       The End of Year process through RTI is much simplified as information has been supplied to HMRC through-out the year. There is no need to send additional submissions eg. P14’s and P35.

·       The End of Year return is processed via either the FPS or EPS by indicating this is the final submission for the tax year and completing the mandatory declarations. Check with your software supplier for guidance on how to complete the new process using your Payroll software.

·       Each month as part of RTI, you will have reconciled your submissions and payments to HMRC. Take the last submission as a time to ensure your payments reconcile for the tax year to avoid any discrepancies.

·       You must still issue your employee’s with a P60 form by 31st May.

·       P11d and P9 forms must also be prepared and submit as these forms have not been replaced by RTI submissions.

·       If after completing your year-end you find a correction needs to be made, this must be done via an Earlier Year Update (EYU) submission.

Of course, an even easier way of preparing for auto enrolment would be to implement the functionality within your HR system and let the tools guide you through the process. With the Cascade module, for example, you get powerful, proactive features that are incredibly easy to use.