Skip To The Main Content

Pensions and Payroll Software: What is it and does my small business need it?

Laptop screen with coffee cup

The last year has seen a sharp rise in the number of businesses fined by The Pensions Regulator for Workplace Pension errors. The number of fines in 2017-18 was 35,810, up from 14,650 in 2016-17. Fines totalled £42m in 2017-18, up from £12.6m the previous year.The Pensions Act 2008 stipulates that every UK employer must put qualifying employees into a pension scheme and, where appropriate, pay contributions. The complexity of auto enrolment schemes means small businesses without in-house support functions are at risk of making errors when attempting to manage their schemes. FSB Workplace Pensions offers a straightforward and cost-effective pensions and, newly-launched, payroll solution, that is specifically designed to help small businesses ensure they are fully compliant.

What is it?

Auto enrolment software helps companies to be compliant with legislation, it automatically maintains compliance.

The software can come in two forms – as part of payroll software or through a ‘middleware’ solution.

Why should employers use it?

The most common reason that employers will use in their decision making are compliance, ease of use and price.

What do employers actually need to consider?

The first step an employer should take when making a decision should be to review their existing payroll software’s ability to facilitate auto enrolment and all the ongoing compliance that goes with it. If this proves to be suitable, for the reasons mentioned above, then this route should be the most efficient.

The second step, if payroll isn’t a viable option, would be to find out what the pension provider themselves can offer in terms of software and support.

We see payroll as the long-term solution for most small employers with middleware offering a service to employers with a weak payroll function or complicated benefits.

Sometimes employers will have very few options, if they are using HMRC Basic Tools software to run their payroll then this offers no auto enrolment functionality at all, the only option is to enter pension contributions (but you have to work them out).

Just tell me what I need to know.

The most important thing for an employer is ensuring that they remain compliant in what is an increasingly complex area. Having software is one thing but to ensure compliance an employer will need to be able to spot if the software has done something it shouldn’t have. To be able to do this, the person running the system will need to have an understanding of the legislation and the software they are using. The Pensions Regulator provides guidance on this, in fact there are 14 separate guides, each contain an average of 30+ pages! A lot to learn.

It’s all too much, can FSB help?

Yes! FSB Workplace Pensions has developed two simple services.

If your payroll software is ‘up to the job’ then you can get access to an excellent pension scheme, which is not available on the High Street. Not only that, but you will also be able to speak to our experts who will support and guide you through the setup process, all the way through to your Declaration of Compliance. This is our ‘Essentials’ service.

If your payroll software isn’t a feasible option, or you want the worry taken off your desk, then you may wish to consider our ‘Premier’ service. All you need to do each pay period is provide us with your employee’s gross earnings (and let us know if anyone has joined or left) and we will complete all the necessary processes. This includes, amongst other things, assessing your workforce, calculation and submission of contributions, providing mandatory communications to your staff as well as liaising with the pension provider. You will also have access to our employer assistance helpline should you have any queries, leaving you to get on with what you do best, running your business.

FSB Workplace Pensions from FSB

With expert advice and guidance from a leading provider, it's one of the most popular FSB Member Benefits.

Find out more