J F Hornby & Co - Chartered Accountants

As more small and micro companies, including general practices move closer to their staging dates, many are starting to take a look at the auto enrolment solutions on offer.

With a range of solutions to choose from, supplied by various types of providers: pension, payroll, independent financial advisors and accountants, for smaller businesses with less legislative experience, it’s difficult to know where to turn.

What do you do when it goes wrong and how do you avoid falling victim to a poor solution?

IRIS spoke to Rachael Akister from Chartered Accountants, J F Hornby & Co in Cumbria regarding their experience after their original auto enrolment solution choice, Sage, left them manually assessing and entering information every month.

“We initially started with Sage for both clients who were staging. The Sage module despite all its promises and sales patter, wasn’t making the evaluations correctly. It was enrolling people who should not have been enrolled, marking everyone entitled and taking contributions from everyone”

After alerting Sage to what they discovered was a known issue, they were left with only the following impractical solution: going in to the CSV file and manually overriding the assessments for each employee.

Following repeated assurances and an update in the software, they cautiously moved forward with their second client and found yet another problem, the assessment of employees

They then turned to IRIS and the IRIS AE Suite™ for help having used IRIS at another company. After several months of using the IRIS solution, Rachael said “I can’t fault your auto enrolment product because it’s doing what it should be doing, for the right people with the right evaluation”.

With such a difficult start to auto enrolment for the practice, Rachael and her team have been on top of checking the reports and assessments and have been very pleased with the results from their IRIS payroll software and AE Suite; “I don’t have any concerns with the IRIS AE Suite”.

Such is the positive experience of the IRIS auto enrolment solution from J F Hornby, that “As a practice, we’ve made the decision that everybody who’s going to stage next year is going straight over to IRIS right from the beginning of the tax year”.

Auto enrolment is new to all businesses and the changes brought about by the new legislation are complex and require early education and preparation to allow businesses to gain a full understanding of how to adapt and ensure compliance.

Preparing early is key to ensuring your solution will keep you compliant. Although your solution may say it will do the job, the only way to know is to complete a test run. As the team from J F Hornby found, checking the system post-staging is equally important to the pre-staging preparations. The Pensions Regulator advises to start your auto enrolment preparations 12 months before your staging date.

IRIS have auto enrolment and payroll experts on hand and have worked closely with the TPR to ensure the IRIS AE Suite™ is fit for purpose and provides compliance for your business.