Jan 2021

12

Customer Update: January 2021

Welcome to BrightPay's January update. Our most important news this month include:


Free Webinar: Optimising your payroll offering to improve profitability 

Many accountants would say that offering payroll as a service is not necessarily cost-effective and that it can be a very time-consuming process. But this doesn’t need to be the case. In this webinar, we explore various ways that accountants can automate payroll processes, and ultimately, become more profitable. 


Payroll in the Connected Era: How integration has transformed the world of payroll 

During this webinar, BrightPay will discuss the benefits of integrating your payroll and accounting software. We will also demonstrate how you can streamline the entire process from start to finish. Discover how you can free up time for you to spend on other tasks that really need your attention.  


Why employees love self-service apps (And you should too!)  

Today’s employees are accustomed to having information readily available. An employee portal can help fulfil that expectation with the added benefit of creating workflow efficiencies. The employee self-service app eliminates the burden of sending payslips, updating personal information, approving annual leave requests and answering leave balance enquiries for the payroll department. 

Find out more

HMRC announce more furlough changes for 2021 

HMRC have set out the detail of how the CJRS will operate from 1st February onwards, including a further extension to 30th April 2021. Join us on 2nd February as we recap upcoming changes to the furlough scheme and what these changes mean for your business. Plus, we will share some of the key lessons learned from processing payroll in a pandemic, and how it prepares us for payroll in the ‘next normal’.


Key payroll changes to keep an eye on in 2021 

If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you never know what’s around the corner. All the plans and predictions we made for this year fell through our fingers with the pandemic and global recession. Here we look at three things that are likely to happen in 2021 which those working in payroll need to keep an eye on. It’s always good to be prepared! 


Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update


Jan 2021

6

New financial support announced for businesses to survive lockdown

I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m Bill Murray in Groundhog Day - stuck in an endless purgatory of the same day repeating itself over and over again with no escape. Yes it’s another day, another lockdown and it feels never-ending. Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (in which case, is there room for one more?) you’ll know that England is now in a strict national lockdown until mid-February. That means that all non-essential business, schools and universities need to close and we all have to stay at home.

What does this mean for businesses and employees now who are once again affected by this absolute fiasco? Well, it seems it’s business as usual if you will pardon the pun, as not much has changed. However, Rishi Sunk did unveil “more financial support” for businesses affected by the lockdown measures yesterday morning (note my use of inverted commas). Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses will now be able to apply for one-off grants of up to £9,000 per property.
On top of these one-off £9k grants, a further £594m discretionary fund will be made available via local authorities and devolved administrations to support other businesses outside of these sectors who have also been affected by the lockdown.

There are already existing support packages in place though. These include grants of up to £3,000 for closed businesses, 100% business rates relief for hospitality, leisure and retail, and of course, everyone’s good ol’ pal furlough. While Rishi has been very quiet on further furlough support, the current scheme is due to run until the end of April as it is so this seems the government are still optimistic that we will be out of the woods by then with the rollout of the mass vaccination programme. Remember, you can apply for furlough at any time, even if you have never claimed under the scheme before.

Along with furlough, other notable absentees from Rishi’s measures included extending the business rates holiday (which ends in April), VAT cut, or an increase in statutory sick pay, despite calls from business leaders for such moves. Even with the new £4.6bn support package, is it enough?

With Englands’s lockdown due to be reviewed on February 15th and Scotland’s at the end of January we now enter another period of stasis. We can only hope that this really is the last time we have to endure this and hope that all the hard work that has gone into keeping businesses afloat and employees on the payroll over the past 10 months has not been in vain. Stay tuned for more updates over the coming weeks. And with that, I’m off to bake my seventy-sixth loaf of banana bread and have a cry into the tea towel.

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinCoronavirus


Dec 2020

21

BrightPay's Christmas Opening Hours

The management and staff at BrightPay would like to thank you for your valued custom in 2020 and to take this opportunity to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Here are our opening hours for the Christmas period:

Monday 21st 09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 22nd 09:30 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 23rd 09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Thursday 24th Closed
Friday 25th Closed
Saturday 26th Closed
Sunday 27th Closed
Monday 28th Closed
Tuesday 29th 09:30 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 30th 09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Thursday 31st 09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Friday 1st Closed

Call us on 0345 939 0019, email us at support@brightpay.co.uk or complete our online form.

Visit online documentation Online form

Dec 2020

18

Add some sparkle to Christmas with the perfect cloud solution

What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘cloud’ will vary from person to person. Some will think of the weather as they look, grumbling, out their front window. But others will be thinking about all that extra storage on their iPhone. The meaning of the word has changed in recent times and most of us will now think the latter. But what about those who haven’t a notion what you’re on about? What is the cloud?

The cloud is a general term for any computing service that involves hosting over the internet to deliver computing services in lieu of a hard drive. Services such as storage, payroll and HR information. The other key feature is that you can access these services or information anytime, anywhere from any device that is connected to the internet. In fact, you’re already using cloud services if you use social media, Google Drive and Dropbox to name but a few. And now the cloud has become a must-have for any business who wishes to keep up with the times.

I can hear some of you now: “It sounds great, but my employees would never use something like that”. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. A recent survey found that 48% of people believe technological advances will change the face of the workplace and a massive 87% of those said they would be happy to adapt to technological changes if the right tools were given to them. Wow! So how do I know which cloud platform to choose for my business?

I’m glad you asked! Our experts got together for a brainstorming session and found that there are four key things to look out for when choosing the right cloud platform for your business - cost, compliance, simplicity and connection. 

  • Cost - Your upfront costs should be minimised – using the cloud shouldn’t be an expensive luxury reserved for big corporations. Make sure it provides the option of having multiple users so you can delegate and give access to various people to manage payroll tasks and HR requests on your behalf.
  • Compliance - Make sure it takes into account your obligations as an employer with regards to things like the GDPR legislation, record keeping requirements and automatic enrolment duties. A good platform will have compliance built-in as standard and will manage it seamlessly.  
  • Simplicity - The most important thing to increase the uptake of a cloud platform is to make sure it is user-friendly and reduces the chance of human error. Look out for simplistic interfaces and whether or not training and support are available. The best of the best will offer this support for free. You should also be able to get set up and ready to go with minimal disruption to your business.
  • Connection - Make sure it offers features that are attractive to employees such as a downloadable app, a self-service portal and company-wide communication features. Because at the end of the day, your employees won’t give a damn about how excited you might be about something unless it works for them too. These features tie in with our ever-increasing digitally-minded workforce and will make them feel more in control and engaged.

So, there you have it… off you go now! Good luck scouring through the internet trying to find the perfect cloud platform. But…., well, ....it is Christmas after all and I’m feeling generous. Ah, what the heck, I’ll just let you in on a secret which is the best cloud payroll platform for businesses out there: our very own BrightPay Connect.

BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay’s award-winning payroll software and ticks literally every single box I just mentioned over the course of this post. I’ve done enough talking so instead let me show you. Book a demo today to find out why BrightPay Connect is the perfect fit for your business.

 

Merry Christmas everyone! Don’t say I didn’t get you anything!

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinBrightPay CloudEmployee Self ServicePayroll Software


Dec 2020

11

Furlough and holiday during the Christmas period

Can you believe there are only two more Saturdays until Christmas?! I for one am in full on festive mode. My tree is up, the baubles strategically placed on top and out of my cat’s reach, and I’ve been blasting my ‘Xmas Hits’ playlist at full volume throughout my apartment, much to the chagrin of my long-suffering partner. It feels like a well deserved holiday at the end of a very crap year and even more well deserved time off.

But this Christmas has posed a new problem for the world of payroll - what happens with furloughed employees, especially as many would normally take Christmas and New Year’s as annual leave? Can they be furloughed for this period?

Where a bank holiday (namely Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day) falls inside an employee’s period of furlough and that employee would have normally worked this bank holiday anyway, then their furlough will be unaffected. However, if the employee would normally have taken these days as part of their annual leave then you, as the employer, have two options:

a) They can take the bank holiday as leave - If the employee does take the bank holiday as annual leave whilst on furlough then holiday pay must be paid instead.

b) They defer the bank holiday - if the employee doesn’t take the bank holiday as annual leave then this must be deferred as the employee will still be entitled to these days as leave. So they can take them at a later date.

So what happens with holiday leave during furlough then? Furloughed employees still continue to accrue annual leave entitlement as per employment law. Employees can agree to vary their holiday entitlement with their employers as part of their furlough agreement but workers are still entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of statutory paid annual leave each year. This is non-negotiable.

Employees can still take holidays whilst on furlough though if they are being flexibly furloughed then any hours they take as holiday during the claim period should be counted as furloughed hours and not working hours. You should not place employees on furlough just because they’re going to be on paid leave or because you usually do less business over the festive period. (However, if you expect your business to be shut down completely or to be severely affected over the 2 week period due to the pandemic then you can of course still claim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).

A nice succinct summary of this I read online reads as follows:
“If you were going to furlough [employees] anyway then there is nothing to stop you doing it whilst they are on (pre-booked) holiday, or forcing them to take holiday (provided you give them adequate notice). If, however, you are 'furloughing' them because they've booked a couple of weeks off, then you are abusing the system and do not have a valid claim.”

This does mean that you will have to pay the employee’s holiday pay at the normal rate of pay and will be required to pay employees who are on holiday additional amounts over the grant to make up their usual holiday pay. If an employee usually works bank holidays then you can agree that this is included in the grant payment.

Whew! So a lot to digest but I hope that helps to clear things up a little bit. But as always, if in doubt please check the full guidance on the HMRC website. And once that’s all sorted, get your tinsel headdress on, pop open the mulled wine and start looking forward to the coming festivities!

 

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAnnual LeaveGDPRPayroll Software


Dec 2020

4

BrightPay win COVID Hero Award

I’ve been called a hero a couple of times in my life. There was that time at uni when I whipped out a bottle of Apple Sourz at an afterparty. Or there was the time when I saved a baby bird from being eaten by my dog. But none of these times hold a candle to how good it feels to be part of the team at BrightPay Payroll Software who have won the COVID Hero Supplier Award at the Accounting Software Excellence Awards 2020.

Sure, it would have been great to do a clean sweep and win all the awards going, (we were nominated for 3 in total) but this one has a special place in our hearts as we have put so much into making sure our customers have felt supported during what has surely been one of the toughest periods of time in living memory. So to be not only recognised for our efforts but awarded for them, well - let’s just say *gulp* sorry I just need a moment I have something in my eye.

There were a number of criteria that were considered by the panel for this award. Judging took into account the speed, time and relevance of businesses’ COVID-19 response and how many customers accessed it. They were looking for businesses that really went the extra mile and thought outside the box to make their customers feel supported, whilst also managing to reflect their brand values.

As BrightPay’s core brand value is to provide outstanding payroll software with amazing customer support at affordable pricing, the fact that we managed to maintain this during the pandemic and up our ante to match the ever-changing needs of our clients AND be awarded for it is very special indeed.

Speaking at the Accounting Excellence Awards, host extraordinaire Mike Goldsmith said “the judges saw that BrightPay went above and beyond to support their clientbase and payroll professionals at a time when they were under pressure with furlough claims and interpreting guidance. BrightPay did this through a coordinated strategy that went beyond product enhancement. Their success in this was evidenced by high customer satisfaction and impressive reach with their support material.”. Brb, off to print this off on t-shirts for all the staff.

So thank you to all our customers as, without you, we really would be nothing! This will be an extra reason to celebrate at our virtual Christmas party this weekend (any excuse for an extra glass of bubbly!).

Related articles:

Payroll & COVID-19: Growth and profit opportunities
Free Webinar: Extended Furlough Scheme Explained
Why are BrightPay the perfect payroll partner during challenging times?

Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAwardsCoronavirus


Dec 2020

1

Customer Update: December 2020

Welcome to BrightPay's December update. Our most important news this month include:


Important HMRC update: Extended furlough scheme 

Still confused about the extended furlough scheme? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. In this webinar, we deep-dive into what you need to know about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and what it now means for your business.


Is moving to the cloud the best way to manage compliance during COVID-19? 

Anyone involved in managing a payroll will acknowledge that compliance is one of their biggest challenges. COVID-19 has made this task even more difficult. The big question was, how do we maintain strict control over payroll data and processes while away from the office? With workforces now dispersed, here’s how BrightPay Connect can help you. 


Payroll & COVID-19: Growth and profit opportunities in challenging times 

Payroll bureaus are urged to plan and prepare for the upcoming challenges COVID-19 brings to their payroll services. Now is the time to plan and future-proof your payroll bureau for survival. This guide lifts the lid on how to safeguard your payroll services for profit and mitigate against upcoming COVID-19 scheme changes. 

Safeguard your payroll against COVID-19

COVID-19 and the challenge of pricing your payroll services

GoProposal and BrightPay discuss how to address the challenge that most accountants face, over-servicing and under-charging. We look at how technology will be key to the future profitability of your payroll service (and why clients should expect to pay for it). Learn how new automation turns daunting payroll tasks into smooth and profitable tasks. 


Furlough Extension: Full Guidance Published - Here’s a Recap

With the furlough scheme due to end back in October, and a replacement Job Support Scheme due to begin in November (and then promptly being cancelled again) you could be forgiven for being a little confused over the current status of the furlough scheme. Here we look at what the newly extended furlough scheme means for your business. 


Streamline Annual Leave Management this Christmas

It’s safe to say that Christmas is going to look very different for all of us this year. But the one thing that will remain the same is employees wanting time off over the holiday period. But don’t worry, we’re here to take the pain out of managing your employee leave this Christmas with BrightPay Connect. 


Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update


Nov 2020

18

New Real Living Wage Rates Announced

The Living Wage Week took place from 9th to 15th November 2020 and as part of this week the new living wage rates details were announced. The new rates apply to employees aged 18 years of age and older from 9th November 2020, but employers who are already part of this scheme will have six months to apply the new pay rises.

The new London Real Living Wage announced by the Living Wage Foundation, has increased by 10p from £10.75 to £10.85 per hour. This helps reflect the higher cost of living facing families in the city. The UK Living Wage rate has increased by 20p from £9.30 to £9.50, an increase of 2.1%. The Government's current national minimum wage for over 25s is £8.72, which is £78p less than this rate.

It is estimated that over 250,000 employees will be affected by the new real living wage increase. An employee working 37.5 hours per week being paid the new Living Wage rate of £9.50 will earn more than £1,500 more annually compared to an employee on the current national minimum wage for over 25s. And an employee working the same hours per week in London being paid the new Living Wage rate of £10.85 will earn more than £4,000 per year compared to an employee on the national minimum wage for over 25s.

The total number of accredited Living Wage organisations is nearly at 7,000. Over 800 employers have been accredited by the Living Wage Foundation since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic. New companies that have signed up include Capital One, Tate & Lyle and All England Lawn Tennis Club.

An upgrade to BrightPay payroll software has now been released catering for the new Living Wage rates. For information about the Living Wage Foundation visit the Living Wage Foundation website here.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinPay/Wage


Nov 2020

12

BrightPay Shortlisted For Two Top Payroll Awards

We are delighted to reveal that we have been shortlisted for both ICB LUCA Payroll Software of the Year 2020 and ICB LUCA Friendliest Software of the Year 2020. Having won the LUCA Award for Payroll Software of the Year last year, 2019, we are hoping to make it two years running.

The LUCA Awards are the ‘Oscars’ of the bookkeeping profession and are presented in recognition of the year’s outstanding bookkeepers and the many organisations and vendors that complement the valuable work that they do. It will be down to ICB students and members to vote and determine which payroll software provider is the best and friendliest.

Our recent BrightPay customer survey suggests some of the reasons why we have been shortlisted:

  • We asked: How satisfied are you with BrightPay Payroll Software?
    You said: 47% of our customers said they were extremely satisfied, 43% said they were very satisfied and 9% said they were satisfied with BrightPay. This comes together to a total of 99.6% customer satisfaction rate, which is fantastic news for everyone on the BrightPay team.

  • We asked: How satisfied are you with BrightPay Connect?
    You said: An incredible 97.9% of our respondents said they were satisfied with BrightPay Connect, our optional add-on to the payroll software. The most highly rated BrightPay Connect features included automatic cloud backup (99.6%), online employer dashboard (99.5%) and employee self-service portal & app (99.4%).

  • We asked: How satisfied are you with BrightPay's Customer Support?
    You said: The majority of customers rated BrightPay's telephone support (97.35%), email support (98.2%), online help documentation (98.1%) and online video tutorials (99.2%) as excellent, very good or good, giving our customer support team an overall satisfaction rate of 98.2%.

  • We asked: How would you rate BrightPay’s handling of COVID-19?
    You said: 98.6% of customers answered that they found our handling of COVID-19 overall to be either excellent, very good or good - in particular, our free online COVID-19 webinars (99.4%), payroll upgrades (98.8%), online help and support (98.3%) and phone and email support (97.4%).

The winners will be announced as part of the 11th Annual Bookkeeping Summit, being held virtually at the awards evening on 17th November. Best of luck to all the finalists!

Related articles: 

Posted byZoe ColverinAwardsBookkeepingPayrollPayroll Software


Nov 2020

3

Customer Update: November 2020

Welcome to BrightPay's November update. Our most important news this month include:


The Original Furlough Scheme is back: Who can claim? 

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) was due to come to an end on 31st October 2020. However, with further COVID-19 restrictions announced, the CJRS has been extended for another month until 30th November 2020. This also means that the introduction of the Job Support Scheme, which was due to start on 1st November 2020, has been postponed until December. 

Free Webinar

COVID-19 & achieving business continuity in the cloud 

In the ‘new normal’, employers and employees expect to access their payroll information in the cloud. Self-service online portals are changing the way businesses interact and communicate with their employees, whilst providing the cloud functionality to get things done smarter and faster. BrightPay Connect enables clients to submit employee hours, approve the payroll run, manage their employees’ leave, run payroll reports and much more.


Safeguard your payroll against COVID-19

In this guide, we look at how you can overcome payroll processing inefficiency in a crisis. Discover top tips to ensure COVID-19 does not slow down your bureau’s payroll processing and how you can respond quickly and effectively to avoid disruption in the future. 

Safeguard your payroll against COVID-19

Free webinars: HMRC updates, redundancy and safeguarding your payroll 

Join our payroll and HR experts in our upcoming webinar as they talk through a range of topics, including the extended CJRS, the Job Support Scheme, HMRC updates, redundancy, API integration with accounting software and safeguarding your payroll against COVID-19. Guest speakers include AccountsIQ & GoProposal. Limited places available.


Reduce payroll overheads to futureproof against the impact of COVID-19

As businesses look at creative ways to save jobs, many are moving to reduce their business overheads. Savvy businesses have already saved thousands by opting for a payroll provider that does not have an additional charge for auto enrolment, CIS or customer support. BrightPay is one of the most competitively priced payroll software on the market with no contract ties. Making simple changes and investing in payroll solutions with integrated cloud access can save money, improve productivity and increase profits.


Posted byRachel HynesinCustomer Update