Accountants failing to prepare should prepare to fail

By Louise Mulgrew | 16th October 2015 | 14 min read

In our research conducted back in June and July 2015 on businesses and accountancy practices, we found that accountants not preparing early for their first client's staging date are more likely to be less confident about the legislation.

IRIS conducted research into over 300 businesses and 69 accountancy practices to find out how aware they were of auto enrolment and the legislation surrounding it. Those surveyed were also asked questions about how prepared they were for auto enrolment and how confident they were in handling the responsibilities.

In the latest research from The Pensions Regulator (TPR), 74% of accountants have been contacted by businesses regarding auto enrolment. In the next couple of years, this figure is expected to rise as there is around 1.8 million businesses set to have to meet their auto enrolment duties.

From the research that we conducted back in June and July, we have found that 26.09% of accountancy practices were "not very" confident with dealing with their clients auto enrolment responsibilities. An excerpt from the research study says:

Analysis was undertaken by IRIS on those accountants who said that they were not very confident about handling their clients’ auto enrolment responsibilities and how long in advance they started preparing for auto enrolment. For those accountants who explained that they were not very confident, 77.78% of them said that they expected to start preparing for auto enrolment less than 12 months before their client first staged.

This is contrary to the advice that The Pensions Regulator has given about preparing at least 12 months in advance of staging dates to ensure that they have as much information as possible about the workplace pensions legislation. This advice is reflected in analysis that 54.55% of accountants who prepared 12 months or more before their first client staged said that they were “very confident” that they could handle their clients auto enrolment responsibilities.

The main message to take from this is to make sure that you are preparing early, with plenty of time to help your clients through their auto enrolment.

The TPR's research suggests that a large number of small businesses get in touch with their business adviser, IFA or accountant. Make sure that when you receive this phone call, you are prepared to give the right information.

You can prepare for this by downloading our Auto Enrolment Accountancy Kit Bag. In the Kit Bag there is all of the information that you need to help educate your clients about the workplace pension reform legislation.

We've put lots of useful information in to the Auto Enrolment Kit Bag to help you provide clear messaging to your clients on your services and on the changes that auto enrolment will bring to businessess.

The Kit Bag will also help you to realise your earning potential from auto enrolment - a service that you should be charging your clients for. In the Kit Bag are joint-branded example letters that you can customise with your own logo, On-Demand Webinar links and also an introduction to auto enrolment presentation.

Following on from a massively successful IRIS World we have included in the Kit Bag a video of Mark Paraskeva, CEO of IRIS SME Division giving a talk on simplifying staging with auto enrolment software.

Download your free Auto Enrolment Accountancy Kit Bag