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.
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!
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!
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:
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!
Businesses are continuing to be massively impacted by COVID-19, and for many, their payroll solution may not be up to the challenge. At BrightPay, we believe that our COVID-19 response plan means that we are the perfect payroll partner to help you adapt to an ever-changing world.
Making simple changes and investing in payroll solutions with integrated cloud access can save money, improve productivity and increase profits. It is important to choose the right payroll software provider that will ensure COVID-19 does not slow down your bureau’s payroll processing.
Research different payroll software providers and compare them against what you are currently using. Choose the right payroll technology that not only streamlines your payroll processes but supports your business continuity needs.
Ask other providers what their customer satisfaction rating is, what are the hidden costs and how they are helping their customers through COVID-19.
''Complex CJRS claims, 4 weekly pay periods crossing into July, the beginning of flexible furloughing. We could be in the middle of a logistical nightmare, but thanks to @BrightPayUK our lives have been made considerably easier.’’ Lucy Stupples @autumn_ cottage – Twitter
‘‘BrightPay have made it easy for us during this difficult time. They have kept us up to date on their information hub on all matter COVID-19 related, with free webinars on CJRS matters and other resources.’’ Linda Nicholls – Trustpilot
''We have worked around the clock since COVID disrupted life as we know it to support our clients. However, it would have been a lot harder to provide that support if we didn’t use BrightPay. Well done team @ BrightPayUK.” Investment Bookkeeping @InBookkeeping – Twitter
Download the guide now: ‘Safeguard your payroll against COVID-19 and the (hidden) cons of the Job Support Scheme’
Originally introduced in March, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme & Furlough Leave has been extended beyond the original October deadline.
The Furlough scheme had been winding down over the last couple of months, with 70% government contribution to hours not worked in September and the employer paying 10%. In October the government paid 60% of the furloughed employees wages for their unworked hours, up to a maximum of £1,875, with employers contributing the remaining 20%.
The announcement made on 31st October in line with the second lockdown means that businesses can receive grants covering 80% of wages throughout November and the JSS implementation has been delayed to 1st December. The employer must pay for all the employer’s NIC and employer’s minimum workplace pension contributions on those wages and the grant will be for time not worked, up to £2,500 per month.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme allows all UK employers to access financial support to continue paying part of their employees' salary that would otherwise have been laid off due to the second lockdown. It prevents against layoffs and redundancies.
All UK companies are eligible: limited companies, sole traders who employee people, LLPs, partnerships and charities.
Employees who were on the employer’s payroll on 30 October 2020 will qualify to be included in CJRS claim for November; they don’t have to have been included in an earlier CJRS claim. The employee must have been paid by the employer, and that pay must have been reported on a RTI return before midnight on 30 October.
Furlough leave is available to all employees on a contract, including;
• full-time employees
• part-time employees
• employees on agency contracts
• employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
Flexible furlough will still run alongside full-time furlough, so staff may be brought back part-time to say, prepare the premises for the lifting of national restrictions, or to prepare for Christmas.
The same rules for flexible furlough will continue to apply as they have done since 1 July, so the employee may be furloughed for a couple of days or hours per week. No minimum time set for furloughed hours or working hours has been communicated.
However, each furlough claim must be for a period of at least seven consecutive calendar days.
• The employer must designate affected employees as furloughed workers.
• They should notify the employee that they have been marked as Furlough. Agreement from the employee may be required.
• HMRC must be notified of the employee designated as furloughed workers as well as details of their earnings. This is done through an online portal (not currently set up).
• HMRC will reimburse 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, based on the February earnings of salaried workers, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.
• Wages for those on variable hours, can be calculated based on the higher of either:
o the same month's earning from the previous year
o average monthly earnings from the 2019-20 tax year
If the employee has been employed for less than a year, employers can claim for an average of their monthly earnings since they started work.
• Employees remain employed, their continuity of service is not impacted.
• Employer may choose to top-up the other 20% of salary. If they don’t top-up the 20% it will be a deduction in wages.
• Wages paid through the scheme are subject to the usual income tax and other deductions.
Changing the status of employees to a furloughed worker remains subject to existing employment law. Generally, where an employee’s contract contains a layoff or short term clause employers should be able to place employees on furlough leave. Where there is no such clause, it is best advised to get agreement from the employee.
Additionally, a 20% reduction in salary will be a change in terms and conditions of employment. Where employers are not topping up the government payment, they should also seek agreement from the employee.
Given the current situation and the alternatives for those employees should they not agree, one can expect that most employees will agree. That said, prudent employers will seek to get their employees agreement as part of their furlough leave process.
A BrightPay UK (Windows) upgrade has just been released to cater for the extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This upgrade also removes previously released Job Support Scheme (JSS) functionality.
During COVID-19, BrightPay have been running regular webinars to keep businesses and accountants up-to-date with the latest changes and the impact on payroll processing don’t miss the latest webinar.
18th November – 10.30am
In this webinar, we look at what you need to know about the re-instated Furlough scheme and new Job Support Scheme, including which employees are eligible, the level of government funding, and how the scheme is actioned through payroll. We will also share top tips to ensure COVID-19 does not slow down payroll processing. Plus, we will explore the rise in redundancies and the new changes regarding statutory redundancy and notice pay for furloughed employees.
What you'll learn:
• What the extended CJRS means for your business
• Everything you need to know about the Job Support Scheme
• Tips for safeguarding your payroll
• How BrightPay’s Job Support Scheme Calculator & Claim Report works
• How to calculate notice pay and redundancy pay for furloughed employees
• Top tips to ensure COVID-19 does not slow down payroll processing
BrightPay and other companies were required to offer essential functions such as supporting all RTI submission types, full automatic enrolment functionality and HMRC recognised.
Digital.com’s research team conducted a 40-hour assessment of over 210 payroll software companies across the web.
Digital.com reviews and compares the best products, services, and software for running or growing a small business website or online shop. The platform collects twitter comments and uses sentiment analysis to score companies and their products.
The award comes just one year after BrightPay was announced as the winner of ‘Payroll Software of the Year’ 2019 at the ICB Luca Awards. This also follows BrightPay winning Payroll Software of the Year 2018 at the AccountingWEB Software Excellence Awards.
With over 25 years of payroll experience, our products are used to process the payroll for over 250,000 businesses across the UK and Ireland. BrightPay also has an impressive 99% customer satisfaction rate and a 5-star rating on Software Advice.
BrightPay for SMEs
BrightPay includes several useful payroll features and support that are very beneficial for employers:
These are just a few of the many features we have in BrightPay that can help SMEs, but there’s so much more on offer.
Don’t miss out - book a payroll demo today to see these features in action and to discover more ways that BrightPay’s award-winning software can improve efficiency and save you time.
Thanks again to Digital.com for the award and all our customers supporting us during this challenging period.
Processing the payroll for your client’s employees and calculating payroll taxes accurately and on time are two of the most important tasks for payroll bureaus and accountants. That's why we have created this new webinar:
Thursday 5th November 11am
What you'll learn:
Tracking payroll figures in accounting systems is also equally important. In the past adding payroll journals was a manual process of exporting a CSV file from the payroll software, mapping the nominal codes and uploading them into AccountsIQ.
Without API integration between payroll and accounting systems, payroll journal information would need to be entered manually into the accounting system, which can result in errors and duplication of efforts. You may also need to make journal entries to fix mistakes. In order for this information to be included in financial statements efficiently, the payroll and accounting system should ideally be integrated through an API facility.
Payroll and accounting integration between BrightPay and AccountsIQ is a critical part of the payroll reporting process. BrightPay have now added an API payroll journal feature allowing users to create wage journals from finalised pay periods so that they can be added into AccountsIQ.
BrightPay produces the payroll journal in a file format that is unique to AccountsIQ allowing users to easily upload their payroll figures into their general ledger in just a few clicks.
Once you have entered your AccountsIQ login credentials, BrightPay will automatically retrieve your nominal ledger accounts so that you can easily map each payroll data item to the relevant nominal account. The nominal ledger mapping is then saved for an even speedier process going forward. The payroll journal can include records for payslips across multiple pay frequencies. Users then have the option to include individual records for each employee or merge the records for each unique date. A nominal account can be used for multiple items.
Some accounting programs come with payroll modules that are fully integrated from the outset. However, the payroll module can be expensive, outdated or/and lack basic automation features. BrightPay and AccountsIQ are multi-award winning software systems that increase efficiency, avoid duplication of efforts and reduce the possibility of manual processing errors. The accuracy and automation of this wage journal API will help to ensure that your books and your payroll journal match up. This can be a critical part of both payroll and accounting.
Webinar: Payroll in the Connect Era: How integration has transformed the world of payroll
To find out more about how you could benefit from the BrightPay and AccountsIQ integration register for the webinar now.
Thursday 5th November - 11am
In today’s technology-driven world, how well a business performs – whether it succeeds or fails – is increasingly dependent on how well it connects applications and integrates systems. That’s why BrightPay and AccountsIQ have teamed up, making it easier to keep your payroll and accounting systems aligned. Join BrightPay & AccountsIQ on Thursday 5th November to discover how you can streamline your payroll and accounting processes. Register today.
Before diving into the positives and negatives of the new Job Support Scheme I want to recap on what it is.
The new Job Support Scheme was announced by the government in September, and it'is designed to top up the wages of employees unable to work full-time because of coronavirus restrictions over the winter. Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.
Businesses will continue to pay their employees for time worked, but the burden of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.
The scheme was originally set to open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months, until April 2021. However, the start of a second England-wide lockdown has prompted the Government to extend the original furlough scheme until December – pushing back the start date for the Job Support Scheme.
This scheme is designed to protect jobs where businesses are facing lower demand over the winter months due to coronavirus. 9.6 million employees are still on furlough leave across the UK, with the scheme still supporting 1.2 million businesses. This new scheme could help mitigate the impact of the end of Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ending on 31st October.
Employers can receive up to £697.92 per month wage top up of eligible employees unable to work full-time because of coronavirus restrictions over the winter.
An unexpected silver lining to the scheme is that employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria. This is a one-off payment of £1,000 to employers who have availed of the CJRS for each furloughed employee who remains continuously employed until 31 January 2021.
It’s far less generous than the current Job Retention Scheme - The Government contribution will be capped at £697.92 a month compared to the initial £2,500 plus associated Employers’ National Insurance and pension contribution under the Job Retention Scheme placing a greater responsibility on the employer to fund employment costs. In fact, under the scheme the government never pays more than 22% of the employees' overall salary.
The employer ends up paying more in wages than the hours they get in return - The percentage cost to the employer far outweighs the percentage of productive hours provided by that employee to the business and a stark reality is that it costs more than 50% more to employ several people working 40% of the time compared to fewer people working full time.
Employees cannot be made redundant or put on notice of redundancy during the period within which their employer is claiming the grant for that employee. Therefore, employers face the dilemma now of assessing demand for the forthcoming months for their business and making decisions about the number of employees required.
Job Support Scheme payments will be made monthly in arrears commencing in December, reimbursing the employer for the government’s contribution. The grant will not cover employer NICs or pension contributions, but these contributions will remain payable by the employer. This means that the overall cost of employment for employers is higher than simply their contribution to employee salaries.
Sadly, it does not appear that the Job Support Scheme will avoid a rise of redundancies over the coming months as employers seek to manage their cashflows to survive the winter months. Join our latest webinar to find out more about the New Job Support Scheme and whether it’s right for your organisation.
In this webinar, we look at what you need to know about the new Job Support Scheme, including which employees are eligible, the level of government funding, and how the scheme is actioned through payroll. We will also explore the rise in redundancies and the new changes regarding statutory redundancy and notice pay for furloughed employees.
What you'll learn:
2020 has been a transformative year for most businesses. Many employers have had to take a long hard look at how they manage their employees and make significant changes in the wake of COVID-19 in order to adapt to what is quickly becoming the new normal. For a large proportion of these businesses, allowing employees to work remotely is playing a central role in that change. And this throws up some challenges.
Remote working isn’t a new phenomenon. Cloud innovations have made it possible for people to work from home for many years. However, most businesses have been reluctant to embrace this practice up until now. This is because, when employees are spread out, even the most basic tasks such as distributing payslips, applying for annual leave and internal communication can be more difficult.
Today, however, employers are finding themselves in a position where they must allow employees to work remotely and find clever solutions to these challenges. And BrightPay Connect is one such solution that makes remote working easier for everyone.
You might not think that remote working has any impact on processing payroll, especially if you’re a small business with just one payroll administrator. But there are a number of ways that remote working can indirectly impact payroll. It also has numerous knock-on effects on human resources management which need to be addressed in order for a business to thrive.
Here are some examples of the payroll and HR challenges presented by remote working:
BrightPay Connect is a cloud portal add-on to our payroll software. While the payroll software gives you everything you need to process your payroll, BrightPay Connect offers a range of additional features that streamline your human resource management.
The features of BrightPay Connect include:
If your business is embracing remote working and trying to find ways to facilitate this new practice, then book your free BrightPay Connect demo today and let our team of experts show you just how much easier remote working can be.
The Department of Education have announced the new student loan thresholds that will apply from 6th April 2021.
The repayment threshold for Student Loan Plan 1 will increase by 3% and the repayment threshold for Student Loan Plan 2 will increase by 2.7%.
The repayment threshold for the Postgraduate loans will remain the same.
For any loans before 2012, Plan 1 Loans will apply and for loans after 2012 Plan 2 Loans will apply.
Earnings above the thresholds for both Plan 1 and Plan 2 for 2021/22 will be calculated as normal at 9%. The rate of the postgraduate loan type introduced in the 2019/20 tax year will continue to be calculated at 6%.
Summary of the Student Plan thresholds:
A Student Loan Type 4 will come into effect from 6th April 2021 for students who have taken a loan out in Scotland. The First Minister has committed to the student loan repayment threshold which will rise to £25,000 in Scotland from April 2021.
In BrightPay 2021/22, the new student loan repayment thresholds for both plans will automatically be calculated by the payroll software and the appropriate student loan deduction applied.