BrightPay Blog

May 2017


BrightPay discontinuing Windows XP support

The technology that BrightPay utilises has been updated and improved. As a result of this improvement, BrightPay will no longer be able to run on Windows XP operating systems. This technological enhancement brings many performance, reliability and security improvements, while also opening up new possibilities for BrightPay’s development team to add further functionality. Users will not notice any obvious difference using BrightPay 2017/18 compared to previous versions as all the changes are operating in the background.

Microsoft discontinued support for Windows XP in April 2014. This means that Microsoft are no longer releasing upgrades for these systems. Although Windows XP machines may still work normally, it does mean that these PCs are more vulnerable to security risks and viruses.

If you are still using Windows XP, you should consider upgrading to a newer PC or operating system. Due to the greater security risks, more and more programmes and applications are discontinuing support for Windows XP. Internet Explorer 8 is also no longer supported. If your Windows XP PC is connected to the Internet and you use Internet Explorer 8 to surf the web, you might be exposing your PC to additional threats.

These security threats became a reality for many Windows XP users in recent weeks with more than 200,000 organisations becoming victims of the widespread ransomware attack, WannaCry. This cyber attack affected organisations across the globe, including hospitals, banks and government agencies. The majority of these victims were using outdated or older Windows operating systems, such as Windows XP and Windows Vista.

While we do apologise for any inconvenience this change may cause, it is the best decision for our customers’ security and user experience.

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May 2017


Keep your payroll data safe against Ransomware

Ransomware, like the name suggests, is when your files are held for ransom. It is a type of malware that essentially takes over a computer and prevents users from accessing their data until such time as a ransom is paid. The ransomware encrypts data on the computer using an encryption key that only the attacker knows. If you want to decrypt them, you have to pay. If the ransom isn’t paid, the data is often lost forever.

A ransomware attack, also known as WannaCry or WeCrypt, is currently spreading across the globe and is believed to have affected over 200,000 organisations. The cyber-attack struck banks, hospitals and government agencies in more than 150 countries, exploiting known vulnerabilities in Microsoft operating systems.

How to protect against a ransomware attack?

  • Think before you click – It is important to look for malicious email messages that are often concealed as emails from companies or people you regularly interact with online. It is important to avoid clicking on links or opening attachments in those messages, since they could unleash malware. However, unlike many other malicious programs, WannaCry has the ability to move around a network by itself. Once the virus is inside an organisation, it will hunt down vulnerable machines and infect them too.
  • Keep software up to date – Users should ensure that security updates are installed on their computer as soon as they are released. Last month, the NSA revealed software vulnerabilities in a Windows Server component which allows files to spread within corporate networks. Since then, Microsoft has released software patches for the security holes. Anyone who applied this patch more than likely was not affected by WannaCry. However, not everyone has installed these updates and so these users are susceptible to an attack. It is also important to note that the vulnerability does not exist within Windows 10, but is present in all versions of Windows prior to that, dating back to Windows XP. Support for Windows XP was discontinued in 2014, and so if you are using XP it is recommended to upgrade to a more secure system. It is important to keep all software packages up to date to maximise protection against attacks.
  • Keep backups of data files – Users should regularly back up their data, which will make it possible to restore files without paying a ransom. This can be done by saving files to a USB key, external server or a cloud sharing facility such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Individual software packages may also offer a backup facility, enabling you to automatically back up sensitive data, for example BrightPay Connect allows users to easily backup payroll data.

How can BrightPay Connect help?

BrightPay Connect allows employers to automatically and securely backup payroll data to a highly secure cloud server. Payroll data (including payslips, payroll reports, auto enrolment records etc.) is automatically backed up every 15 minutes ensuring that you will never lose your payroll data if you are the victim of an attack.

You may decide that you only want to use BrightPay Connect for payroll backups, however, the features listed below can also be availed of.

With BrightPay Connect, employers can invite their employees to their own self-service portal. Employees can login to their own personal account, be it on their PC, tablet or smartphone, where they can view payroll documents relevant to them, with a full history of payslips, P60s and auto enrolment documents. Employees can also request annual leave and view annual leave remaining through their portal.

Furthermore, BrightPay Connect provides users with an annual leave management facility and a document upload facility, where all information is stored within the same location. With the document upload, employers can upload employee contracts & staff handbooks, training manuals, employment documents and much more, which can be accessed by employers and employees on any device.

Find out more about BrightPay Connect with an online demo.

Posted byRachel HynesinBrightPay CloudEmployee ContractsEmployee HandbookEmployee Self ServicePayroll Software

May 2017


Understanding Your Employer Auto Enrolment Ongoing Duties

Auto enrolment is not a one off job and employers need to carry out a number of tasks on an ongoing basis. Automatic enrolment is a continuing responsibility for employers. Employers must complete the following tasks in order to remain fully compliant with the law.

Record keeping:

Employers must continually keep records of their auto enrolment activities including names and addresses of employees they have enrolled, records of when the contributions were paid to the pension provider, opt in requests, pension scheme reference or registry numbers and information that was sent to the pension provider. These records must be kept for a period of six years. Opt out requests or notices must be kept for four years.

Ongoing employee assessment:

You must complete an employee assessment each pay period to monitor any changes to an employee's age and earnings. For example, if an employee turns 22 or their qualifying earnings increase then they may become an eligible jobholder. Payroll software should handle this automatically for you. Be aware, HMRC’s Basic PAYE Tools will not cater for employee assessment. Additionally, new staff must also be assessed to see if they are eligible for enrolment.

Enrolling staff after the staging date:

All existing or new staff that become eligible will need to be enrolled into the pension scheme. As part of this, eligible jobholders will need to receive an enrolment letter informing them of how auto enrolment will affect them now that they have become eligible. These employees will have the right to opt out of the scheme within the opt out period.


Avoid Auto Enrolment Fines

Ultimately the responsibility of auto enrolment is with the employer. Employer payroll software will make auto enrolment must easier to manage these new duties on an ongoing basis. The Pensions Regulator will fine employers who fail to submit their declaration of compliance or comply with their duties. Make sure you avoid fines and fully complete all of the mandatory duties required.

Over 100,000 businesses now process their payroll through BrightPay. BrightPay is free for employers with three or less employees, £89 + VAT / per tax year for an employer licence and £229 + VAT / per tax year. Download a BrightPay 60 day trial to see just how user friendly it is.


Posted byKaren BennettinAuto EnrolmentEmployee RecordsPayroll Software

May 2017


BrightPay at the Excel in London

Last week, BrightPay attended Accountex, the UK's largest exhibition and conference dedicated to Accountancy Professionals.

It was great to meet so many existing and prospective customers.

Posted byPaul ByrneinPayroll Software

May 2017


Employer fined £42k for Non-Compliance of Automatic Enrolment Duties

Employer Johnson Shoes Company’s automatic enrolment staging date was 1st May 2014 and they had to file their declaration of compliance within the 5 months after the staging date by 30th September 2014, but they failed to do so by the deadline.

Johnsons were contacted by The Pensions Regulator several times advising them of their automatic enrolment duties and how to fulfil these duties. But Johnsons’ lack of action regarding their duties made The Pensions Regulator to use their enforcement methods.

TPR issued a Fixed Penalty Notice of £400 to Johnsons but Johnsons refused to pay this fine and asked TPR to review the penalty as they stated the pressures of work were the reason they did not fulfil their duties. As TPR had sent Johnsons several reminders in the year leading up to their staging date, giving Johnsons plenty of time to prepare, this excuse was not deemed to be a reasonable excuse by the TPR so the fine remained.

An Escalating Penalty Notice was issued which in Johnsons case was £2,500 per day due to the number of employees they have. This escalated to £40,000 total fine. As Johnsons also refused to pay this EPN fine The Pensions Regulator lodged a money claim with the County Court in order to recover the amount owed. In the end Johnsons were ordered to pay the £40,000 plus £2,000 in legal fees that The Pensions Regulator had to pay at the beginning of their claim, so total cost of £42,000 for Johnsons.

Johnsons are now fully compliant for automatic enrolment and their employees that are in the automatic enrolment pension scheme are in the same position as they would have been if Johnsons had been compliant at their staging date.

In a regulatory intervention report produced by The Pension Regulator it states this case shows that early engagement with the employer where non-compliance is identified is necessary. This cost to Johnsons could have been prevented if Johnsons had of being prepared for automatic enrolment and not ignored the communication from The Pensions Regulator.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinAuto Enrolment

Apr 2017


Auto Enrolment - Increased workload or increased opportunity for Bureaus?

This year, accountants and payroll bureaus will see a large number of their clients approaching them to assist with auto enrolment (AE). The process of complying with AE requires payroll expertise to calculate pension contributions for employees who are eligible and for employees who choose to join or opt into the pension scheme. 2017 will see the largest number of employers reach their staging date. At the end of March, we saw a new record of over half a million employers who have complied and fulfilled their auto enrolment duties.

The sheer volume of small and micro employers going through the AE process represents an opportunity for payroll bureaus to add a new service to their existing payroll services. Many of these small employers will be using HMRC's Basic PAYE tools (BPT) which will not cater for the needs of automatic enrolment. Basic tools is just that, a basic tool. It will not carry out the employee assessment required, produce communications to send to all employees, cater for enrolment, produce payslips that show both employer and employee contributions or create the pension data file to submit to the pension provider. This lack of functionality with Basic Tools is another reason why your clients may look to you for help with their duties.

For employers who wish to carry out their payroll and auto enrolment tasks in house, they have the option to switch to payroll software that can support their employer auto enrolment duties. Check to see if your payroll provider can import from Basic PAYE Tools. BrightPay has a specially developed feature, where you can import your employer data into BrightPay from BPT instantly. There is no need for manual data entry. Some good providers even offer a free payroll software licence which includes auto enrolment to micro employers.

How much is auto enrolment software?

At this stage you should be aware that you should not have to pay an extra charge for auto enrolment functionality. Unjustifiably, some payroll providers are charging their customers for an auto enrolment module or add-on. Some are also charging per employee, per month which can be expensive. If you do the maths, you will soon see how this can add up over a yearly period. There are other payroll systems that can deal with auto enrolment but it can be a manual process of running reports every pay period with additional steps required to process your client through AE.

It is worth investing in payroll software that has automated auto enrolment technology. BrightPay has been developed specifically with payroll and auto enrolment automation in mind. Using an automated software will not only save you time but it can make you money. By improving efficiencies, bureaus will naturally increase productivity and profitability for each client. BrightPay can email payslips, send RTI returns, automate auto enrolment, manage holiday pay and a whole list of features.

An important thing to look out for is the ability to import your staff details into the payroll. BrightPay has the ability to import data via CSV file or FPS. You can also directly import each of your client's employer information into the program. At BrightPay, we have developed tailored import facilities from HMRC’s Basic Tools and Moneysoft where payroll bureaus can import multiple employer files at the same time. Read: Switching to BrightPay - Made Easier for you!

Increased opportunity?

With the right, automated payroll tools, the process of auto enrolment should be very straightforward, seamless and, above all, a profitable exercise. Without doubt, auto enrolment should be an additional service that your payroll clients should expect to pay for. For many accountants and bureaus, auto enrolment has been the perfect platform to increase revenue. The smaller employer is likely to be the least prepared for auto enrolment and are also likely to turn to a payroll professional to outsource their payroll and auto enrolment tasks. Additionally, clients will want to avoid being fined for non-compliance by the Pensions Regulator. This is another motivation to use a professional to get it right first time round.

Increased workload?

With the wrong tools, helping your clients through auto enrolment could end up being very costly and time consuming. Check how much your payroll provider is charging for auto enrolment. Your workload will be increase if you do not utilise an automated software. For example, your payroll software should automatically complete the employee assessment each pay period for you and then alert you of any new AE duties that need to be performed.

This assessment needs to take place on an on-going basis to monitor any changes to an employee's circumstance. If they turn 22 or if there is an increase in their earnings, they may become eligible. Auto enrolment does not just take place at staging, it is an ongoing process. As auto enrolment is an integral part of the payroll process, BrightPay believe that it should be an included feature as part of the price of your payroll package. Paying more money for auto enrolment software will eat into your profits and make for a poor bottom line.

BrightPay is the answer

BrightPay is a user friendly payroll package that makes your auto enrolment journey easy. BrightPay take the manual grunt work out of AE by automating employee assessment, enrolment, producing letters and is integrated with 18 pension providers. Book a BrightPay Demo where we will show how you can setup your clients in BrightPay and start the automated process once you reach your staging date. BrightPay will ensure that you can streamline your AE processing to maximise efficiencies and profits.

Related articles
Auto Enrolment - This is what you must know for 2017
Switching to BrightPay - Made Easier!
Payroll clients continue to ignore auto enrolment


Posted byKaren BennettinAuto EnrolmentPayroll Software

Apr 2017


Switching to BrightPay - Made Easier for you

As we move into the new tax year, employers and payroll bureaus across the UK are reviewing their software packages to ensure their payroll processing is working at maximum efficiently. There are many things to compare between different packages, such as price, ease of use, automation and support.

BrightPay’s development team have been working hard this past year to add as many new features that benefit our customers into the 2017/18 version of BrightPay. The ease of switching to BrightPay was a key priority for us to simplify the transfer process from other software packages.

Importing from Moneysoft & HMRC Basic PAYE Tools

If you are switching from HMRC Basic PAYE Tools or Moneysoft, we now have a seamless import, bringing in both employer and employee information for multiple company files instantly. Watch this video to see how easily you can import from HMRC Basic PAYE Tools straight into BrightPay.




Importing from other software packages

When switching from other payroll software packages, the first step is to set up your employer information. For bureaus with multiple employers, you can access your database or csv file with a list of your clients along with their payroll information, then you can easily set up the employers using our new bulk employer import feature.

Once you have the ability to export the employer data from your payroll you can import a csv file or FPS file into BrightPay. This will allow you to instantly add all of your employee information into the payroll compared with manually typing in all of the information. If your current payroll software allows you to export your payroll information (such as Sage, IRIS, etc), the easiest way to import employees is via CSV file. This will import all employee information, including year-to-date figures if the transfer is mid-year.

If you cannot export such a file from your current payroll software, then you have the option to import using a Full Payment Submission (FPS) file. This will import all the information that is included on an FPS to HMRC, including NI letter, tax code and year to date figures. However, this method will not import information not included on the FPS, such as employee email addresses, bank details, annual leave entitlement, departmental allocation etc.

Along with an improved transfer process, we have also introduced a number of exciting new features this year, including the ability to batch send RTI submissions, export a payroll journal to accounting packages, automatically retrieve coding notices and much more.

BrightPay 2017/18 is Now Available

You can now purchase BrightPay 2017/18. The bureau licence is just £229 + VAT, per tax year including unlimited employers, unlimited employees, free auto enrolment and free phone and email support. The single employer licence is is £99 + VAT, per tax year and includes unlimited employees, free auto enrolment and free phone and email support.

Book a BrightPay demo and find out why our customers give us a 99% satisfaction rate. Alternatively, you can avail of our 60 day free trial and parallel run with your existing software.

Posted byRachel HynesinPayrollPayroll Software

Apr 2017


Over 500,000 Employers have completed Automatic Enrolment

At the 31st March over 500,000 employers have completed their automatic enrolment duties according to the most recent Declaration of Compliance reports from The Pensions Regulator. This report shows that over 7.6 million employees are now saving in a pension and for their retirement. In the first quarter of 2017 136,000 small and micro employers completed their declaration of compliance.

A Declaration of Compliance needs to be completed and submitted to the Pensions Regulator within five months of the staging date. A Declaration of Compliance is the employer informing The Pensions Regulator that they have met their automatic enrolment duties.

If you do not submit your declaration of compliance in time you may be fined. It is a legal duty that the declaration of compliance is fully completed with the correct information and submitted on time.

Should you be experiencing any issues regarding your automatic enrolment process or collecting the relevant information for your Declaration of Compliance contact The Pensions Regulator immediately. The Pensions Regulator's website has a help section:

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinAuto Enrolment

Apr 2017


Employers Must Publish Their Gender Pay Gap Differences

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 for private and voluntary-sector employers comes into effect at the start of the new tax year. With that, large companies (i.e. those with over 250 employees) will legally have to reveal the gender pay gap in their workforce. Thousands of employers will begin recording their gender pay gap figures for the first time and must publish their results before the end of the tax year.

At 18.1%, the difference between the average pay for men and women is at an all time low. The new legislation hopes to drastically reduce the gap. Experts are suggesting that these reporting provisions will likely do more for pay equality than equal pay legislation has done in decades. The government are hoping that by exposing company’s pay disparities they will be forced to take action and eliminate gender pay gaps, arguing that it could increase annual GDP by £150 billion.

Unfortunately, the 18.1% pay gap does not show the differences in the rate of pay for comparable jobs. The Office for National Statistics has provided an interactive tool to discover the gender pay gap for your job. According to the government the reasons for gender inequality are complex and can include:

  • more women work in lower paid jobs or sectors.
  • women are more likely to work part-time, which can mean a lower rate of pay.
  • Under representation of women in senior roles. This may be due to stereotypical attitudes about gender roles, lack of flexible working or women taking time to look after their family.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission will enforce the following rule where: Companies who employ more than 250 people must provide data about their pay gap, the proportion of male and female employees in different pay bands, a breakdown of how many women and men get a bonus and their gender bonus gap. This legislation applies to over 9,000 companies, with over 15 million employees.

BrightPay - Payroll and Auto Enrolment Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted byAdam KeenaninEmployee RecordsEmployment Update

Apr 2017


HMRC to update Tax Codes for Adjustments for PAYE throughout the tax year

Currently with HMRC if there is an underpayment of tax that is owed at the end of the tax year the process is that it can be coded out, by means of adjusting the tax code for the employee in the next tax year, or the tax is to be paid by the employee in full. From May 2017 onwards HMRC will make automatic adjustment to Pay As You Earn tax codes using real time information as they occur.

HMRC will be watching the data being submitted from Full Payment Submissions by employers and pension companies from April 2017 onwards. HMRC will then be assessing individuals and projecting whether an employee will be due to have an underpayment of tax by the end of the tax year. Where this occurs HMRC will amend the employee’s tax code in order for the collection of the tax be in the current tax year and not be left owed at the end of the tax year. This proactive approach from HMRC ensures that the majority of tax owed will be collected in the same tax year.

Posted byDebbie ClarkeinHMRCPayroll Software