Jun 2021

21

Avoid penalties & pay HMRC within 90 seconds (even on weekends)

The late payment of income tax, National Insurance Contributions (NIC), student loan deductions and income tax due under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) can lead to penalties for employers and contractors of all sizes. With so much to think of when running a business, forgetting to pay your PAYE bill on time each period, can end up costing you.

Penalties for overdue payments:

Your bill must be paid by the 22nd of the next tax month if you pay monthly or by the 22nd after the end of the quarter if you pay quarterly. It can be easy to forget to pay on time, especially if you pay by card online, by Bacs or by cash or cheque at your bank, as with these methods you will need to allow 3 business days for your payment to process. If you are paying by direct debit for the first time you will need to give 5 business days for your payment to process and once set up, this method takes 3 business days to process. The waiting time for payments to process means payment deadlines can easily be missed, especially when weekends and bank holidays need to be considered.  

 

What steps can you take to insure you don’t miss payments to HMRC?

Choose a payroll software that displays amounts due and keeps track of payments to HMRC

Your payroll software should facilitate the recording of payments made to HMRC. BrightPay is a payroll software which has a HRMC Payments tab from which you can view a detailed summary of your tax, NIC and student loan liabilities for the current period. From here you can also add any CIS deductions, tax refunds from HMRC or any funding from HMRC which may apply. Your amount due to HMRC will be displayed, and once a payment has been made, you can enter the amount paid and payment date.

Having this function in the payroll software serves as a reminder to payroll processers to send their payments to HMRC.

Pay HMRC directly from your payroll software - within 90 seconds

As mentioned above, certain methods of making payment to HMRC can take between 3 to 5 business days to process. If the deadline falls on a weekend or bank holiday you must make sure your payment reaches HMRC on the last working day before it. The only method of payment that can guarantee same day payment to HMRC, even on the weekend or bank holidays, is when you make payment by Faster Payments.

New to BrightPay this year is an integration with payments platform Modulr. Since March, our customers have been using this integration to pay their employees directly from the payroll software. Now, we have added a feature which allows you to pay HMRC directly from the payroll software through Modulr, using the Faster Payments method. This means that with a few simple clicks within the payroll software, you can have your payments sent and received by HMRC in under two minutes. The simplicity and convenience of using this method over others means that payments can be made at the eleventh hour, without having to worry about penalties for overdue payments.

Book a free BrightPay demo today and learn how BrightPay can help you avoid penalties, stay compliant and make running payroll as easy as possible.

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Posted byElaine CarrollinPAYEPayroll Software


Jun 2021

16

We need to talk about automatic enrolment compliance

The past year has been rough for all businesses. (That’s my submission to the “Most Obvious Statement of the Year” awards - hope I win!) But seriously, we all know it’s been the pits. With everything going on it can be really easy to forget about all the commitments you still have to fulfil as an employer, even in the midst of a pandemic. Auto-enrolment is one such thing.

What is auto enrolment? Put simply, by law, every employer with at least one member of staff must enrol all those who are eligible into a workplace pension scheme which they must also contribute to. Since 2019, employers are required to pay 3% of employees’ qualifying earnings, the employee pays 4%, and the government adds relief of 1% tax - making the total contribution 8%. Tidy right? (It’s called automatic enrolment as it’s automatic for staff - they don’t have to do anything to be enrolled into a pension scheme. The employer should do this for them).

Well, some staff may wish not to avail of the workplace pension scheme you signed them up to for various reasons. But regardless, after three years, every three years, you must put the staff back into it. This is re-enrolment. With this you must complete a re-declaration of compliance to tell the Pensions Regulator that you’ve met your duties. If you don’t do this you can be fined.

But is it like a fine? Or a fine fine? Well, they can get pretty hefty, put it like that. If the Pensions Regulator isn’t satisfied with how you’re running a pension scheme they can issue a Compliance Notice, Improvement Notice or Unpaid Contribution Notice. They may also estimate any unpaid contributions, charge interest on them and recover any unpaid contributions. If they’re still not happy and feel you haven’t complied with your obligations then they’ll come to your house, kick your door down and slap you upside the head. Just kidding, but they will issue you with a penalty notice and fine. These include :

  • A Fixed Penalty Notice with a fixed fine of £400
  • An Escalating Penalty Notice that charges £50 to £10,000 for every day you are non-compliant depending on how many employees you have in the PAYE scheme
  • A Prohibited Recruitment Conduct Penalty Notice with a maximum fine of £5,000
  • A Civil Penalty Notice for non-payment of contributions, of up to £5,000 per individual and £50,000 per organisation
  • An Unpaid Contributions Notice - this requires you to pay unpaid contributions plus interest and may make the employer liable to pay the employees' contributions which are overdue.

Crikey! I did tell you they aren’t messing about! So how can you avoid getting a penalty? Well, you can leave sticky notes on your calendar for every three years to remember to re-enrol employees, or you can tie a piece of string around your thumb really tight to remind you, or you can use an automated payroll system that will do all of the hard work for you in the background.

BrightPay Payroll Software is just the ticket. It’s an award-winning payroll software that automates all auto enrolment duties including re-enrolling employees for both employers and payroll bureaus. BrightPay is compatible with 18 different workplace pension providers and includes direct API integration with NEST, The People’s Pension, Smart Pension and Aviva. The software carries out all the employee assessments automatically and even sends out automatically prepared enrolment letters personalised to each individual employee. There is so much more I can say about this but instead let me direct to this page where the full features are outlined.

But the best bit? While most of the payroll software providers charge extra for the service, BrightPay provides it at no extra cost. *Mic drop* - wow! If that isn’t music to your ears then you must be deaf. Head on over and take another mental load off your poor suffering shoulders. You’ll never have to worry about the Pensions Regulator kicking your door down ever again.

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Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAuto Enrolment


Jun 2021

11

3 APIs that your Business Should be Using

Have you ever been asked, “can’t you just use an API for that?” and thought to yourself “what the hell is an API and how does it work?”. APIs are a type of integration and are used in everyday life. API stands for application programming interface which allow two applications to talk to each other. APIs increase automation, improve efficiency and if you use APIs to your advantage, they'll make your life a lot easier.

If you’re a payroll processor you’re going to be very happy to hear that BrightPay payroll software includes a number of API integrations. These include direct payments from BrightPay, payroll journal APIs and integration with pension providers.

 

1. Direct Payments

BrightPay’s integration with Modulr will give you a fast, secure and easy way to pay employees and subcontractors through BrightPay. Get ultimate convenience with real-time and 24/7 payments including one-off and emergency payments. To avail of this integration, users will require an active Modulr account. Visit the Modulr website for more information.

Prior Problem: Time-consuming Bacs files and a 3-day process to pay employees

Our Solution: Pay employees in less than 90 seconds

 

2. Accounting Software

With BrightPay’s payroll journal integration, users will be able to directly send the payroll journal directly to the accounting package from within BrightPay. This accounts software integration eliminates the need to export the CSV file from the payroll software and import it into the accounting system, saving time and reducing the risk of errors. BrightPay includes direct API integration with Xero, AccountsIQ, Quickbooks Online and many more. A 'generic' CSV file journal option is also available for those who use other accounting software packages that are not listed on our website. Please note: the generic CSV file journal option is not part of the API integrations.

Prior Problem: Manually exporting wage journals and importing them into the accounting software

Our Solution: No more manual work – do it all within BrightPay

 

3. Pension Providers

BrightPay offers direct API integration with four pension providers: NEST, The People's Pension, Smart Pension and Aviva. This functionality means that users can submit their workplace pension data from within the payroll software directly into the pension provider. This API integration allows BrightPay users to send their pension data with one click.

Prior Problem: A lot of time spent importing and exporting files to send them to the pension provider

Our Solution: Send pension data to the pension provider with just one click

 

BrightPay invests a lot of time developing API integrations to improve the software and increase functionality for its users.

Book an online demo of BrightPay today to see how the accounts, pension and direct payments API integration features can benefit your business and help automate payroll tasks.

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Posted byHolly McHughinPayroll Software


Jun 2021

8

New Feature! Pay HMRC using Modulr

 

BrightPay’s recent partnership with Modulr was launched with the aim of providing our customers with the most seamless payroll workflow possible. The API integration allows accountants and business owners to pay employees directly from BrightPay.

Our customers responded to the partnership with enthusiasm, registering with Modulr to set up their accounts to try it for themselves. James Toulson, Managing Director of One Less Worry payroll services, who signed up to Modulr, had this to say after trying our new direct payments feature:

Responding to feedback:

Since launching the integration, we’ve worked closely with our customers to understand what worked well and what could be improved. One feature that customers felt would be particularly useful, was a direct payment method to HMRC using the Modulr integration.

To that end, we’re happy to announce that all BrightPay and Modulr customers can now pay HMRC the tax and National Insurance (and any other deductions) owed for each pay period, directly through the payroll software.

What does this mean?

This new feature provides a fast, secure and easy way to pay HMRC through BrightPay. It adds to Modulr’s already existing functionality that helps you to:

  • Pay Instantly (under 90 seconds)
  • Pay anytime, anywhere (including weekends and bank holidays)
  • Save even more time by cutting out numerous steps associated with Direct Debit and Bacs when paying employees and when paying HMRC
  • Cut down on errors associated with manual entry

Already a customer? You can view a step-by-step guide on how to pay HMRC using Modulr here.

Pricing Structure

Our aim of creating the best customer experience possible drove our decision to partner with Modulr, a fintech company which is transforming the way companies do business. Modulr are also the payments partner behind the digital banking app, Revolut.

With this partnership, we wanted to provide as many customers as possible with an improved payroll workflow. That’s why BrightPay decided not to receive any referral fees for this service. This allows our customers who register with Modulr to avail of it at a highly competitive wholesale rate.

Get in touch:

Interested in learning more? Get in touch with the BrightPay team to discover the benefits of Modulr’s integration by clicking here. Already a BrightPay customer? Book a demo directly with the Modulr team to learn more.

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Posted byÁine CourtneyinHMRCNew FeaturesPayroll Software


Jun 2021

3

The key to managing the annual leave backlog

Managers will likely be in a situation where many employees will request to take leave at the same time. Whether it’s during the summer months, winter months or during school holidays, there will be a higher demand for leave at certain times of the year. But how do you handle it?

Employers should have a clear policy on holiday requests. Typically, a “first-come, first-served” approach works well. While it might not be possible to please everyone and give them their requested time off, it is important that you deal with annual leave requests in a way that is transparent and fair to all employees.

With the average annual leave in the UK at approximately 28 days per year, a recent Glassdoor Annual Leave Survey revealed that the average UK employee only uses 77% of their annual leave per year. To achieve a better work-life balance, employers should encourage employees to take their full annual leave days every year to avoid burn out further down the line.

Where possible, managers should allow and accept the annual leave requested. However, managers have the right to decline holiday requests (with the correct notice) if the timing of leave would result in the business being understaffed and unmanageable.

If your business is faced with a high demand for annual leave for certain time periods every year, you can require employees to take annual leave on dates chosen by the employer. Employers must give the employee twice as many days’ notice as the period of leave requested.

By introducing BrightPay Connect, employees can access a self-service portal via an app on their smartphone or tablet device. They will be able to request leave 24/7 from anywhere, meaning they don’t need to be in the workplace to request leave. When an employee requests leave, the employer will get a notification to login to their online portal to approve or reject the leave. The requests will be time stamped so you can see the order in which they come in. Employers can access a company-wide calendar that will display all leave so that you can ensure adequate staffing before approving an annual leave request.

You can have multiple users on BrightPay Connect meaning each department/line manager can approve leave for their own department. More information on user access and permissions can be found here.

Book a 10-minute online demo of BrightPay Connect to discover how it can benefit your business.

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Posted byHolly McHughinAnnual Leave


Jun 2021

1

Customer Update: June 2021

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


Leaving Lockdown & The Ongoing Need for Furlough       

Although the UK is approaching the end of the roadmap out of lockdown, many businesses will need to avail of the furlough scheme until its very end in September 2021. Join BrightPay for a free webinar on 16th June where we discuss the furlough changes that are taking effect from the beginning of July.

Book your place now Webinar agenda

Disaster Recovery and How Cloud Backups Can Help   

Data loss poses a serious and unpredictable risk for many businesses. Never lose your payroll data again with BrightPay Connect as it maintains a chronological history of your backups. You can restore and download any of the backups to your PC or Mac at any time. 

10-minute demo

Digital Banking and its Impact on the Payroll Sector 

Rather than using the traditional Bacs payment services to pay employees, you can use Faster Payments Service to send money in real-time between bank accounts. A digital payments infrastructure offers greater payroll flexibility, reducing unnecessary stress. 

Read more

How to Manage the Annual Leave Backlog  

A self-service system is the simplest way to manage your staff's annual leave – both from a HR and employee perspective. Give employees control to request annual leave, view leave taken and leave remaining all through an app on their smartphone or tablet.  


Make your Payroll Bureau Service Stand Out   

Introducing new cloud technologies to your clients and their employees can make it easier to grow your practice while saving money, time and improving efficiencies. Download this guide to discover easy steps you can take to ensure your bureau service stands out.   

 

Posted byHolly McHughinCustomer Update


May 2021

28

P11D & working from home expenses: What you need to know

Businesses who provide expenses or benefits to their employees or directors need to inform HMRC and pay tax and National Insurance on them. To do this, you report the details on a P11D and P11D(b) form. The deadline for submitting the forms is Tuesday July 6th.

Filing end of year tax returns can be a busy and stressful job for employers and their accountants, this year even more so, with Covid-19 lockdowns complicating matters. Although there are many types of expenses and benefits which require you to pay tax and National Insurance for, there are thankfully, exemptions for expenses associated with working from home. For many businesses, whose employees were required to work remotely this past year, this will alleviate some of the hassle during this busy time.

Employee Reimbursement:

In May of last year, a temporary exemption was introduced for reimbursements of coronavirus-related home office expenses. Employees can be fully reimbursed for equipment expenses made from 16 March 2020, free from Income Tax and National Insurance. The exemption only applies to equipment that was bought as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and would have otherwise been provided by or on behalf of the employer. This exemption was due to end on 5 April 2021, but was recently extended and will now stay in effect until 5 April 2022.

What are considered at-home expenses?

HMRC considers remote working expenses to be:

  • Office equipment such as computers, office furniture, internet access, and stationary
  • Additional household expenses, such as electricity, heating, or broadband

P11Ds do not need to be submitted for at-home office equipment, as long as that equipment is being used for work purposes.

Additional costs can only be reimbursed if there is an actual increase in costs incurred by the employee. You do not need to report additional household expenses if payment or reimbursement to your employees does not exceed £6 a week (changed from £4 to £6 in April 2020) or £26 a month.

When it comes to broadband expenses, it will only qualify as an additional cost that can be reimbursed tax-free, if the employee is required to install a new broadband connection. If one already existed, it cannot be reimbursed.

Which employees are eligible?

Typically, employees are eligible if they regularly carry out their employment duties while working remotely, i.e. those who work at home frequently or whose at-home work follows a pattern. During the Covid-19 pandemic, HMRC will accept that all employees working from home are eligible because offices are closed or because the employee was required to self-isolate.

Submitting P11Ds

On BrightPay payroll software you can produce P11Ds for sending to HMRC after year end, which includes your Class 1A NICs declaration and details of the expenses and benefits provided including cash equivalents. This feature is provided to our customers at no extra cost.

To learn more about BrightPay’s features and how they can benefit your business, book a free demo today.

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May 2021

25

Free Webinar: Optimising your payroll offering to improve profitability

Remote Payroll
 
Traditionally, many accountants would say that offering payroll as a service is not necessarily cost-effective and that it can be a time-consuming and tedious process. But this doesn’t need to be the case.

Today, your payroll and HR processes can be more automated and streamlined than ever before. It’s now feasible for payroll to be profitable for bureaus offering it as a service.

In this webinar, we explore various ways that accountants can automate payroll processes, and ultimately, become more efficient. Discover how you can work smarter and faster with BrightPay.

What you’ll learn:

  • The benefits of integrated payroll and accounting systems
  • How batch processing can transform your payroll performance
  • How you can streamline client communications
  • Top tips for expanding your client base
  • Pricing Strategies that work – what other practices are doing
Please note: This webinar is specifically designed for accountants, bookkeepers and payroll bureaus
 
Don’t miss out – book your free seat here
Webinar Information

The webinar takes place on 1st June at 11.00 am and is free to attend for all accountants and payroll bureaus.

If you are unable to attend the webinar at the specified time, simply register and we will send you the recording afterwards.

Posted byElaine CarrollinEventsPayroll Software


May 2021

21

What are the biggest GDPR advantages of BrightPay Connect?

BrightPay Connect is an online payroll and HR tool that offers significant benefits to help your business comply with the GDPR legislation. BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay on your PC or Mac that introduces powerful new features. The main objective of BrightPay Connect is to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of payroll work to keep in line with the GDPR guidelines by linking your payroll data to the cloud to enable new features.

 

Automatic Cloud Backup

Are you keeping your payroll files safe and protected? It is important to keep them protected in case of the event of fire, theft, cyber-attacks and damaged computers. BrightPay Connect is the solution. When you link an employer to BrightPay Connect, it will be automatically synchronised to the cloud as you run your payroll or make any changes. It is hosted on Microsoft Azure for ultimate performance and reliability. BrightPay Connect keeps a chronological history of all backups which can be restored at any time. 

 

BrightPay Connect Icon of cloud with arrow pointing up

Employee Self-Service Portal

Are you trying to find ways to improve your time-management skills? You can invite employees to their own self-service online portal which can be accessed using a smartphone app or any web browser. Employees will be able to securely access and download payslips, P60s, P45s, submit annual leave requests and view leave taken and leave remaining and also view the personal details you currently hold for them, and request to make updates such as change of address, etc.

 

Bureau / Employer Dashboard

Are you looking for an easy and secure way to share documents? BrightPay Connect provides a self-service dashboard to both accountants and employers so they can access payslips, payroll reports, amounts due to HMRC, annual leave requests and employee contact details. You can also securely share resources, upload HR documents and get payroll data approval from the client electronically.

 

BrightPay Connect Icon: Computer and phone showing self-portal app

No Conflicting Payroll Copies

BrightPay Connect includes improved remote working functionality, including a ‘version checking’ feature when opening an employer, and an ‘other users check’ when opening an employer to prevent the risk of conflicting copies.

  

Two Factor Authentication

Two Factor Authentication is a second layer of protection to re-confirm the identity for users logging into Connect through an internet browser or through BrightPay. This improves security, protects against fraud and lowers the risk of GDPR data breaches as users can access sensitive employer and employee data in Connect with the increased security layer. Click here to find out more about how this feature works.

BrightPay Connect Icon of Computer and phone with lockscreen

 

Data Input

Bright Pay Connect allows users to securely send payroll entry requests and payroll approval requests to their clients, changing the way payroll bureaus interact and communicate with clients. Once the hours are added/imported, information can be automatically synchronised to the employer file. Bureaus can then securely send a payroll summary back to the client for approval through BrightPay Connect. This will eliminate the need to exchange emails, reduce the double entry requirement and minimise errors from manual data input. Inputting data through BrightPay Connect’s secure portal will help with GDPR compliance.

Additionally, there is an audit trail of the requests being approved by the client. The audit trail includes each of the steps taken by your client and includes payroll files approved and submitted by the client.

 

HR & Annual Leave Management

BrightPay Connect also includes an employee calendar, which can keep record of all employees past and future leave including annual leave, unpaid leave, absence leave, sick leave and parenting leave. Employers can upload sensitive HR documents such as contracts of employment.

BrightPay Connect Icon of Calender

 

24/7 Online Access

Do you want to be in control at anytime and anywhere? BrightPay Connect allows mobile and online access at any time of the day. This fulfils the GDPR best practice recommendation to provide remote access to a secure system where individuals have direct access to their personal payroll data.  

 

If you are interested in BrightPay Connect, why not attend one of our free online demos!


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Posted byHolly McHughinAnnual LeaveGDPRPayrollPayroll Software


May 2021

18

The importance of automated backups

Gather round the fire young payroll processors and let me tell you a tale of terror. The year is 2021, you’ve been in lockdown and working from home for the past year. All of your important work is stored on your trusty laptop. Not only that, but you’ve been processing payroll for a client who employs 20 people...and it’s payday. All of a sudden BAM! Your coffee cup knocks over and spills all over your laptop and the screen goes blank. It won’t switch back on. All your data has been lost. Did I mention its payday?!! Come back, stop screaming! It’s only a story!

But here’s the thing, it’s not a story. These accidents happen literally all the time and all the more so since we’ve been working from home with pets, children and other halves who have no respect for personal boundaries. In my case, my cat was trying to catch a fly and knocked my coffee cup over (yes really) but I’m sure everyone has their own story of misfortune to tell.

But accidents aren’t the only way in which your data can be permanently lost. Pretty soon we’ll returning to our offices again and with that comes the perils of the workplace such as:

  • Your office could be physically broken into and your equipment stolen.
  • You could lose your laptop by accidentally leaving it on, say, the tube.
  • There’s a fire or property damage and your computers are beyond repair.
  • You are a victim of cybercrime where your computer is infected with ransomware or other harmful viruses.

Luckily there is a simple way to avoid the terror of losing all of your precious work and payroll data and it’s - yup you’ve guessed it - backing up your data.

Now, some of you may be manually backing up your data and that’s great. But there is a much easier way. BrightPay Payroll Software offers an add-on called BrightPay Connect that automatically, yes automatically, does this for you every time you run your payroll or make any changes to it. Any work you do gets automatically synchronised to the cloud.

Cloud back-up with BrightPay Connect

Let’s talk about the cloud. It gets a bad rap sometimes and people seem to be a little tentative about it. But in actual fact it is an absolute ideal information storage space. It’s also easily accessible, remotely accessible and quickly accessible no matter where in the world you are (dependent on WiFi). So if you have any problems or lose any of your payroll data you can literally pluck it out of the sky and restore it to your computer.

Not only that, but BrightPay Connect maintains a chronological history of your backups so you can restore or download any of the backups at any time, whether it’s to a PC or a Mac. You can also backup onto your existing computer or simply download a backup to a brand new computer that hasn’t been destroyed by coffee, enabling you to get up and running right where you left off, no matter where you are.

So basically a secure, encrypted software that automatically stores your data in the cloud, making it easily and remotely accessible? Yes please - you’d be mad not to! And you don’t have to get rid of your cat either. For more information about BrightPay Connect, book a 20-minute demo that goes over all of the additional functionalities.

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Posted byAoibheann ByrneinBrightPay Cloud