A vast majority of SMEs are at risk of missing their staging date

By Louise Mulgrew | 14th August 2015 | 3 min read

According to recent reports from The Pensions Regulator (TPR), thousands of small to medium sized businesses are at risk of missing their staging date.

The Pensions Regulator recently stated that only 29 per cent of those staging in 2016 were fully aware of their date and only 46 per cent of those staging in 2017 were aware of their responsibilities.

With these worrying figures, it is thought that many of these businesses are at risk of missing their staging date through a lack of preparedness.

Pensions expert Roger Sanders, managing director of Lighthouse Group, advises business owners to familiarise themselves with the requirements and assess their business as soon as possible, even if their staging date is two years away.

As TPR explain, preparing early for your staging date is advised because it gives you plenty of time to ensure you have the correct processes and software in place to deal with the new legislation.

With auto enrolment set to affect 1.8 million businesses between now and 2018, the pressure on existing resources will become greater - known as the capacity crunch.

Roger explains:

'Automating as much of the data gathering, collating and transmissions as possible will significantly lower both the margin for error and the overall cost to the business. Choosing a pension provider that offers locally-based support in person as well as from an administrative centre will also make all the difference,' Sanders adds.  

'While there may be a small additional cost, being able to concentrate on running their business while knowing they are meeting the requirements, and are therefore unlikely to be fined, can make it worth every penny for SME owners.'

As you can see, automating the process is extremely important because it reduces the margin for error. This is where the IRIS AE Suite™ comes in. The IRIS AE Suite™ automatically assesses your employees' eligibility for enrolment into a workplace pension scheme, distributes payslips and P60s electronically and generates the legally required pension communications to be published to your employees' secure online portals. In addition to this, the IRIS AE Suite™ also produces the pension output file that is then uploaded to your pension provider.

Continuous assessment is extremely important because your staging date does not spell the end of your auto enrolment responsibilities; it is actually the beginning. As well as completing and submitting your declaration of compliance to TPR, you must constantly assess your employees' eligibility for auto enrolment into a workplace pensions scheme each time you pay someone, even if no one is eligible to be enrolled at that time. This is because you must show that you are constantly assessing the eligibility of your employees.

If an employee turns 22 or has an increase in hours one week; making them eligible; and you don't enrol them, you will be non-compliant with the workplace pensions legislation.

The IRIS AE Suite™ sits within your payroll. This is the most logical place for auto enrolment to be carried out because this is where the majority of the information needed to run assessment is based already - why run your payroll, export data, upload to a piece of middleware, run assessment, export information, re-upload to your payroll and run your payroll for a second time? It just makes sense to run it within your payroll. The IRIS AE Suite™ runs in the background every time you click "run payroll", truly putting the "automatic" in auto enrolment.

Why not sit on one of our free, no obligation demonstrations of the software where one of our auto enrolment experts will walk you through the IRIS AE Suite™ and show you how you can save a vast amount of time and money on your auto enrolment process.

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