We released BrightPay 13/14 (version 13.0) on 19th March, 2013. It has since been downloaded nearly 2000 times, and we've received some great feedback. Big thanks to all our customers!
This morning, we released our first maintenance release, version 13.1. This is an important update which contains several minor new features, improvements and bug fixes. When you launch BrightPay, it will check for and offer to download this update automatically. Alternatively, click Check for Updates in the Help menu. To download the upgrade manually, click here.
So, as the title of this blog posts asks ... What's New?
Real Time Information
First and foremost, the most obvious new feature in BrightPay 2013/14 is full, HMRC recognised support for RTI. We believe that we have the best RTI implementation on the market. We've already covered RTI support in previous blog entries (e.g. here, here and here), so won't go into the same detail now. But here are a few tips which you may not have already picked up:
- The number of pending RTI submissions is always visible, showing in an orange box in the main RTI tab.
- Until RTI submissions are sent, they are automatically updated with any changes you make to employer, employee or payment details.
- You can send multiple RTI submissions at once, and continue to use the rest of BrightPay while submissions are sending.
- You can view the Gateway Logs for each RTI submission to see the exact back and forth messaging between BrightPay and HMRC during the submission process.
- If the worst happens during the sending of an RTI submission (e.g. power failure), BrightPay will gracefully cancel the submission and allow you to restart the process when you are back up and running.
- You can edit the default RTI submission timeout in File > Preferences.
- If you have sent an RTI submission to HMRC outside of BrightPay, you can mark it as being already sent in BrightPay (having done so, you can also unmark it as being already sent).
Refined User Interface Design
Since the beginning, of all the work that has gone into creating BrightPay, the most by far has been in the design of the user interface (UI). BrightPay 2013/14 is our best yet. We refined how it looks and feels, making managing your payroll an even better, easier experience. Some of the highlights:
- Less is more. A major part of BrightPay's design over the years has been to show only what's relevant on screen, without the unnecessary visual clutter that plagues so many software applications. In BrightPay 2013/14, we took it even further, optimising the screen real estate and refining the layout of commonly used features.
- Edge-to-edge design with more breathing space. We removed unnecessary lines and borders while slightly increasing some of the space between on-screen controls. Overall, it makes BrightPay cleaner and clearer.
- More 'flat' design. A big trend in UI design is the use of 'flat' design, without visual effects such as gradients, drop shadows and bevels. We have have evolved the design of BrightPay in line with this concept, keeping it modern, fresh and simple.
New Payroll Features
The addition of RTI has over-shadowed some of the other new features and improvements in BrightPay 2013/14. But that doesn't make them any less important. The majority of these are in response to customer feedback and requests, so remember, if there's something that you would like to see in BrightPay, don't hesitate to get in touch.
- Named hourly and daily rates. You can now add a named hourly or daily rate and make it available for use by all employees, or save it just for one employee. There is no limit on the number of rates that can be added, and each can be specifically marked as an overtime rate. There are various ways in which one might use this feature, and so we've put it in various places in BrightPay:
- Manage global named rates (i.e. those available for use by all employees) in Employer > Hourly/Daily Rates
- Manage an employee's named rates in Edit Employee > Payment tab.
- Choose or add a new global, employee, or one-off named rate directly in payroll in the new hourly/daily payment rate selection.
- Edit addition and deduction types. You can now edit BrightPay's built-in list of addition and deduction types, as well as add your own.
- Live calculation as you type. In BrightPay 2013/14, payslip totals now re-calculate as you type. In fact, throughout BrightPay, all text input fields will now update and validate as you type. It's a subtle, but big improvement.
- The payslip totals calculation preview now shows only the relevant totals. For example, it won't show Statutory Payment amounts or Student Loan deductions unless there are any. Similarly, things like the separation of taxable and NIC-able additions and deductions are only shown if applicable.
- A new Cost to Employer field shows the total employer liability for each employee.
- New starter and leaver processes. With RTI, the P45, P45 Part 3 and P46 are no longer relevant. Starter and leaver details are now reported in real time along with other employee and payment information. With this in mind, the starter and leaver processes for BrightPay 2013/14 have been re-thought. For example, before RTI, when an employee was to leave, you would make their final payments, and then afterwards prepare the P45 with the leaver details. Now, you must enter the leaver details before making the final payment, so that the relevant FPS submission is complete and correct. To aid this, BrightPay now lets you confirm starter and leaver details as you finalise payslips. If you enter starter/leaver details in advance, BrightPay will pick them up in the relevant pay period. You can still print a P45 (or export a digital copy).
- An employee's department(s) and payment method/details are now tracked and recorded on a period-by-period basis.
- Two new options have been added to printing, emailing and exporting payslips:
- Ability to show employee's address
- Ability to show employee's number of annual leave days remaining
- Several enhancements have been made to the Pay Employees feature:
- Ability to indicate the available monetary denominations for the cash requirement.
- Ability to edit employee bank details directly within this feature.
- Ability to use smart tags in naming the bank payments file name.
- New Bank of Scotland bank payments file format.
- The annual leave year start date can now be customised for each employee, so that BrightPay will now correctly calculate annual leave days remaining for annual leave schedules which do not align with the tax year (e.g. January to December).
- Support for the Regional Employer National Insurance Contributions Holiday for New Businesses scheme.
- Ability to manually set any Attachment Order as being a priority order, with correct handling.
- 'Holiday Funds' have been renamed to the more appropriate 'Savings Schemes'.
This list covers all the important updates. There are many more minor ones, as well as 'under the hood' performance and reliability improvements.
And we're not done yet! We'll continue to bring you new features during the course of the 2013/14 tax year. Keep an eye on this blog for details.
Bright Contracts – Employment Contracts and Handbooks.
BrightPay – Payroll & Auto Enrolment Software.