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  • The New Way to Pay Employees Apr 16, 2021 at 8:31 AM

    Do you want to simplify your payroll payments process? Your answer should be yes.

    A digital world needs digital payments, and you should be able to pay your employees directly from your payroll software. Payroll payments can now be initiated within BrightPay without the need for payment files, allowing for a flexible, secure and fast way for employers to pay their employees’ wages. Get ultimate convenience with real-time and 24/7 payments with Faster Payments, giving you the flexibility to schedule payments in advance or make last minute changes, if needed. BrightPay have teamed up with Modulr to offer this service to BrightPay users.

    BACs Payments

    A Bacs payment is one of the most common bank-to-bank transfers in the UK – in fact, eight in ten employees are paid this way. A Bacs transfer time usually takes three days for payments to be completed, with strict cut-off times for processing payments, so it is not suitable for immediate and same-day payments. But why? Although it’s an electronic system, it gets the weekend off, so payments can only be sent and received on business days (Monday – Friday, excluding public holidays).

    Faster Payments

    In 2008, the Faster Payments Service was introduced in the UK. It provides near real-time payments between bank accounts in the UK. Speed is the key benefit of Faster Payments. Recipients will typically get their money instantly (within 90 seconds), or within 2 hours of the payer actioning the payment. Faster Payments enables mobile, internet, telephone, and standing order payments to move quickly and securely between UK bank accounts, 24 hours a day.

    So, if your using payroll software and you want to pay employees a little closer to pay day, remove manual processes and eliminate costly errors, a Faster Payments solution, such as BrightPay’s direct payments facility, is for you. One-off and emergency payments can also be made at any time.

    Click here for more information on BrightPay’s integration with Modulr and register for our upcoming webinar.

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  • How Processing Payroll In-House Can Offer Financial Rewards Apr 12, 2021

    Are you currently outsourcing your payroll to an accountant or third-party payroll processor and thinking about bringing it in-house? As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses are now bringing their payroll in-house to save money. Fortunately for businesses, the cost of payroll software is becoming ever more affordable.

    Register for our free online webinar on 14th April where we will weigh up the pros and cons of processing payroll yourself, in-house versus your accountant doing your payroll for you. Our payroll experts will show you how to process your in-house payroll smarter, faster and more efficiently.

    Register here

    Choosing the right payroll software

    Be careful when deciding on your chosen payroll provider as there should not be any additional charge for important functionality such as auto enrolment, implementation costs or customer support.

    If you do decide to bring your payroll in-house and are considering BrightPay as your payroll software provider, book a free payroll demo. The demo will run through the payroll process using a sample company to show you all of the features and benefits that BrightPay has to offer including:
    • 60-day free trial
    • Free phone and email support
    • Furlough pay calculator and CJRS claim report
    • Online self-service portals for employers and employees
    • 99% customer satisfaction and 5-star rating
    • Integration with accounting and pension systems
    • Pay employees directly through BrightPay
    • Auto Enrolment and CIS at no extra cost
    In addition, processing your payroll in-house has the obvious benefit of increased control and instant access to your payroll and employee information. In BrightPay, you can custom build and save payroll reports to easily analyse any aspect of the payroll data. When outsourcing, you don’t have that level of control and instant access to payroll information.

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    Download free guide

    BrightPay is becoming the number one choice in UK payroll software. Read ourcustomer testimonials to see why.

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  • BrightPay introduces fast, secure payments to payroll, powered by Modulr Apr 8, 2021

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    BrightPay has partnered with the FinTech Modulr to offer a fast, secure and easy way to make payments part of payroll. The integration embeds payments directly into the payroll software, giving users a seamless and secure way to make payments at the same time as running payroll.

    Modulr replaces the need for accountants, payroll bureaus and employers to upload payment files to their bank, and instead make payments to employees through BrightPay as part of the payroll process. All the payroll manager needs to do is approve the payment and ensure their Modulr account is topped up.

    Modulr’s platform allows BrightPay to sync payroll calculations to payment entries, removing the need for manual processes through automation technology. This, in turn, saves payroll managers precious time by eliminating costly human errors when processing payroll payments, which becomes particularly critical when dealing with large numbers of employees’ salaries and high transaction values.

    Through the partnership, BrightPay provides superior efficiency for payroll managers with a seamless payroll workflow, while retaining the process security to which they are accustomed. Leveraging Modulr’s direct access to the UK’s real-time payments network, Faster Payments, BrightPay can help payroll managers deliver payroll on time, every time, with the flexibility of instant emergency payments.

    Paul Byrne, MD at BrightPay:

    “The traditional payroll process, while an essential part of business operations, is a hindrance to payroll managers. It’s simply inefficient, prone to mistakes and vulnerable to online attackers. And takes up too much of a payroll manager’s already stretched time. We’re proud to be working with Modulr to finally bring payments into the payroll process, and drive the efficiencies that all businesses need.”

    Tom Kelly, accountancy and employment services lead at Modulr:

    “With the rate of technological innovation in payments, it makes little sense for traditional payroll systems to be disconnected from the payment mechanism. Powered by Modulr, BrightPay’s new service ensures flexibility by bringing a host of benefits to customers who can now send ultra-fast, secure payments that saves them time and headaches.”

    Interested in learning more? Register for our free webinar to learn more about BrightPay’s integration with Modulr.

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  • IR35 and Payroll: What you need to know Apr 2, 2021

    How will IR35 affect payroll?

    IR35 reforms are set to be introduced to the private sector on April 6th, impacting contractors’ employment status, and how businesses operate and manage their hiring processes. Medium and large-sized businesses will be affected. The reforms, originally meant to have been introduced last year, are expected to bring £3.1bn in additional tax revenue.

    What is IR35 and how is it changing?

    IR35 (off-payroll working rules) is an anti-avoidance tax legislation that aims to determine a genuine business (e.g. personal service company) from that of a ‘disguised employee’. A contractor is considered to be a disguised employee when, instead of being treated as a separate business, they are operating and being treated as an employee. There has been wide-spread non-compliance with the rules, and the new reforms aim to combat its misuse.

    Under the reforms, the employer is now responsible for assessing whether the contractor is employed or self-employed for tax purposes. HMRC expects that with this new responsibility, the employers will take a more compliant approach to IR35 assessments. The employer’s assessment of the worker’s employment status is communicated in a Status Determination Statement (SDS). It is advised that the HMRC’s assessment tool, known as CEST, is used for this as it comes with the assurance that HMRC will agree with the result as long as reasonable care has been taken.

    How is BrightPay ready for IR35?

    Changes to workers’ employment status will not only have a significant impact on HR but also on payroll processing. If a worker’s employment status has been determined as being ‘inside’ the IR35 rules, they will need to be treated as an ‘off-payroll worker’ on the payroll. BrightPay payroll keeps this process quick and straight-forward. If a worker has been deemed to be ‘inside IR35’, the employer must apply income tax and National Insurance to their pay, just as they do for regular employees. However, off-payroll workers are not entitled to other employee entitlements, such as auto enrolment, holiday entitlement and statutory pay.

    Therefore, when an off-payroll worker is being set up on BrightPay the ‘off-payroll worker’ option must be selected in the ‘Tax, NICs, RTI’ tab. This action disables entitlements that do not apply to inside IR35 contractors. To read more about these entitlements, click here.


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    Learn more about IR35 and how BrightPay caters for it:

    How can you prepare for IR35? What advice can you give to your PSD clients? In our upcoming webinar, co-hosted with industry expert Jas Jhooty, Director at emTax, we will be discussing what contractors and employers can do to best prepare, reviewing essential steps contractors can take to reinforce their self-employed status and demonstrating how to manage off-payroll workers on BrightPay. To register for this free webinar, click here.

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  • The Impact the National Minimum Wage Rise has on Furloughed Employees Mar 31, 2021

    The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour most employees are entitled to by law. An employee's age and if they are an apprentice will determine the rate they will receive. This is very topical at the moment as new minimum wage rateswill come into effect on 1st April 2021 and the furlough scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021.

    Employees are only entitled to the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage for the hours they are working. Therefore, where furloughed staff are paid 80% of their wages, this might mean they get less than the minimum wage, and this will be the second time that furloughed workers will be affected by this.

    However, employers are required to pay employee's their normal wages for any hours worked during furlough, and this also includes time spent during work-related training. This means that employees are entitled to the appropriate minimum wage rate for the hours they are working or doing work-related training under minimum wage rules.

    Where the pay is less than the appropriate minimum wage entitlement, the employer will need to pay additional amounts to ensure at least the appropriate minimum wage is paid for both working time and 100% of the training time whilst furloughed.

    Keep up-to-date and join the BrightPay team for our upcoming COVID-19 webinar on Tuesday 20th April at 10.30 am where we examine how the furlough scheme rules are going to change between now and September and what these changes mean for your business. We will also demonstrate how BrightPay payroll software caters for CJRS and furlough. This webinar is free to attend for all employers 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.

    Book your place now

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  • Contractors, get ready for IR35 Mar 30, 2021

    How can contractors prepare for IR35?

    The roll-out of IR35 into t he private sector this April is causing a lot of issues for contractors, recruitment agencies, and businesses alike.

    The incoming reforms are moving the responsibility away from the contractor and onto the employer, impacting businesses’ operations and hiring processes. In the past year, we’ve seen large organisations place blanket bans on the hiring of limited company contractors to avoid the risk of penalties. However, such hiring freezes are unsustainable and is a striking example of a short-term solution to a long-term problem.

    Contractors are a necessary resource for many projects, providing essential skills, flexibility, and advice. A complete ban is a costly solution, both in terms of money and talent. Although the responsibility of establishing who is inside or outside IR35 will now be the employers’, it is worth spending time on strengthening your position as a contractor, to help make this judgement easier.

    HMRC have promised to take a lenient approach in the first year, saying:

    “Customers will not have to pay penalties for inaccuracies in the first 12 months relating to the off-payroll working rules, regardless of when the inaccuracies are identified, unless there’s evidence of deliberate non-compliance.”

    It is advisable that you take this time to prepare as much as you can. With forward planning, you will be in a better position to prevent your employment status from changing. Reinforce your contractor status with the following actions:

    1. Provide an accurate employment status

    To begin, assess your employment status using the ‘Check Employment Status for Tax’ tool provided by HMRC. Your employment status is determined by several factors, such as substitution acceptance, control over your work, and how costs are funded. If you fall outside of IR35, you can send the results to the organisation hiring you, to show that they will need to pay your earnings in full, without deducting Income Tax and National Insurance contributions.

    2. Review your contract:

    Develop the self-employed aspects of the contract with your client(s). It should reflect your self-employed status, allowing you to set your own time, and control how and where the services are delivered. Avoid including clauses typically associated with employee contracts, such as set working hours, a set working address, a job title, notice period, and overtime rates. Your contract should include a detailed substitution clause. This should outline how you are responsible for sourcing, hiring, and paying a suitably qualified substitute who can provide the same service if required.

    3. Adjust your payment structure:

    Rather than being paid on a weekly or monthly schedule, issue an invoice upon completing the project or upon completing project milestones. A penalty clause can be included in the contract for failing to meet a deadline. This can help distinguish a contractor from an employee.

    4. Improve your business practices:

    To strengthen your position as a contractor, you should follow sound business practices such as having a website. Having a strong online presence can help existing and prospective clients understand your business. A professional website gives people an easy way to contact you, allows you to showcase a portfolio of work, and helps to build client trust.

    Interested in learning more about IR35 reforms, how they will affect you, and the impact it will have on payroll processing? Register for thisupcoming webinar which BrightPay will host with industry expert Jas Jhooty, Director at emTax. BrightPay hosts frequent webinars, free-of-charge, to support the accounting and bookkeeping community. Check out the full list of our upcoming webinars here.

    Is your payroll ready for IR35? BrightPay Payroll software is fully prepared for the upcoming IR35 changes. Click hereto discover how BrightPay caters for contractors deemed to be inside IR35,as well as the contractor processing their own payroll.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
    BrightPay Payroll Software



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  • Self Assessment tax deadline - how to avoid late penalties Mar 26, 2021

    January already seems a distant memory, and all the incessant reminders about the self-assessment tax return deadline with it. Honestly, I heard from HMRC more than my own mother, but at least they got their point across! But as we all know, HMRC kindly extended the payment deadline for self-assessment tax to April 1st to give us all a bit of well-deserved breathing space. But this time around it might have been easy, without all the reminders everywhere, to forget about this new deadline as the last few months have flown by despite being stuck indoors in another national lockdown and absolutely nothing exciting happening.

    So, here is your reminder: if you have not yet paid your self-assessment tax then you have until April 1st - which, unbelievably, is NEXT WEEK - to pay any outstanding liabilities or set up an online payment plan to avoid penalties.

    The agreement with HMRC was that if you were struggling to pay your tax bill on time (which was originally January 31st) due to coronavirus related issues, then as long as you let them know, you could defer the payment until April 1st and then you wouldn’t be liable for a 5% late payment penalty charge. If the tax remains outstanding after this date then you will be slapped with the 5% late charge and further penalties will be applied at the six and twelve month marks (August 2021 and February 2022) on any outstanding tax.

    There are a few ways to pay. You can pay online, via your bank or by post. You can also arrange a monthly payment plan online at GOV.UK which allows you to put a set amount of money away every month via direct debit which is then used to pay your bill. Alternatively, setting up a ‘Time to Pay’ arrangement allows taxpayers to spread the cost of their self-assessment tax bill into monthly installments until January 2022. This has proved popular, especially under the current circumstances, with almost 117,000 setting up self-serve ‘Time to Pay’ arrangements online totalling more than £437 million.

    HMRC have also issued fresh warnings over new scams that have popped up targeting self assessment customers. Be extra vigilant of emails that take you to copycat HMRC websites or phishing scams. Also, if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from HMRC demanding payment or asking for personal details then hang that phone up as if it was your crazy ex calling and then burn the phone for good measure. Just kidding, but definitely hang up and feel free to call HMRC on an official number if you’re still not sure.

    If you have yet to pay your tax bill, basically the message is to get it done as soon as you can, try not to miss the deadline and if you’re still stressed about anything then just give HMRC a call who will be happy to help. If you’re still stressing after speaking to them then wine helps, in my professional opinion.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Introducing BrightPay’s New Journal API Features Mar 25, 2021

    BrightPay's payroll journal feature allows users to create wages journals from the finalised payslips for upload into specific accounting softwares.

    We are delighted to announce BrightPay’s new API integration with even more accounting software solutions for 2021/22 including ClearBooks, FreshBooks, QuickFile and Zoho (coming soon). This joins our growing list of journal integration options - AccountsIQ, FreeAgent, KashFlow, QuickBooks Online, Sage One, Twinfield and Xero.

    A 'generic' journal option is also available for those who use other accounting software packages and can be saved for future use.

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    Are APIs useful?
    APIs are the little pieces of code that make it possible for software applications to talk with each other. With this direct integration, users will be able to directly send the payroll journal to the accounting package from within BrightPay. APIs make this background communication possible. So, it’s very useful for the end-user as it 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.

    Interested in finding out more?
    Stop copying the same figures from the payroll into your accounting software! Discover how you can free up time for you to spend on other tasks that really need your attention. Join our free online webinar on 30th March at 11.00 am where we will discuss the benefits of integrating your payroll and accounting software. This webinar is aimed at employers and payroll bureaus. Both new and existing customers are welcome.

    Book your place now.

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  • How to successfully bring payroll in-house: What every employer needs to know Mar 22, 2021

    Your Success Depends on Several Factors
    Choosing whether to bring payroll in-house or to outsource it can be a difficult decision and depends largely on your particular situation. When it comes to payroll, there is no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach. If you are considering processing your own payroll, know that you are not alone. A recent study found that over the last few years there has been a steady increase in the number of businesses who are bringing payroll in-house.

    There are a number of potential benefits that makes the move attractive. Reduction of costs, increased control, and a more integrated HR/Payroll experience to name but a few. However, taking on the responsibility of managing payroll and ensuring your employees get paid accurately at the correct time has multiple challenges associated with it. If you’re at a crossroads in deciding how to manage your payroll, consider these challenges and how you can reduce their risk.

    1. Remaining tax compliant:
    Keeping on top of changes to payroll legislation can be hard work. If you’re thinking of bringing payroll in-house first review the capacity of your team and prospective payroll processor. Failing to get it right can be damaging both reputationally and financially, and possibly ending with HMRC issuing you a substantial fine.

    However, having the right payroll software can and should offer significant protection against such problems. Using a payroll software such as BrightPay Payroll, you can trust that you will be notified of any changes that may affect your payroll. With no additional charges for mid-year upgrades, you will always have the most up-to-date software that is in line with current payroll legislation.

    BrightPay’s quick response and expert guidance to legislative changes was particularly evident in 2020. We were awarded a COVID-19 Hero Award (Suppliers) at the Accounting Excellence Awards for our exceptional customer support and frequent product updates to cater for furlough scheme changes.

    2. Keeping your payroll data secure:
    If you’re concerned about sharing confidential employee information with a third party, you may decide that managing your payroll in-house is necessary. Before you decide anything, make sure you fully understand the GDPR legislation and how BrightPay can help you achieve compliance. There is a password protection feature for both the payslips and the software itself. BrightPay Connect, the payroll cloud add-on offers a secure self-service portal for employees to remotely access their payslips. Additionally, users can enable Two Factor Authentication which provides a second layer of protection. To learn more about GDPR and your legal obligations click here.

    3. Integrating your payroll with existing financial tools:
    Bringing payroll in-house will also require you to examine what current financial tools you or your accountant uses. Your accounting software is the essential hub of your financial system and being able to integrate it with your payroll software can help cut down on errors and time wasted. Review your system requirements and check whether your payroll provider allows for API integration. BrightPay’s payroll journal feature allows users to create wage journals from finalised pay periods so that they can be added directly into various accounting packages, including AccountsIQ, SageOne, and QuickBooks Online.

    Interested in learning more? Download our new guide on bringing payroll in-house or book a free online demo of BrightPay today to discover more about BrightPay and the many ways it can benefit your business.

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  • 6 payroll mistakes (and how to easily avoid them) Mar 16, 2021

    Payroll is an essential aspect of any business and one which is important to get right. Whether you are running payroll for the first time as a new business or if you have decided to begin to run your payroll in-house, having previously outsourced to a payroll bureau; here are six mistakes to watch out for when processing payroll.

    1. Not complying with HMRC

    When you run payroll, you need to report payroll information to HMRC. You may be charged penalties if you do not report the correct information to HMRC or if you do not submit the information on time. It is necessary that you use a HMRC recognised software that can report PAYE information online and in real time, known as RTI. Using a HMRC recognised software is needed for:
    • Recording your employees’ details.
    • Working out your employees’ pay and deductions.
    • Working out any statutory pay your employees’ may be entitled to.
    • Working out how much you owe to HMRC.
    2. Not complying with GDPR

    When processing payroll, you are dealing with a lot of personal information. Using a GDPR compliant payroll software means you and your employees can rest assured that all personal data is stored and managed in a safe and secure manner.

    3. Not complying with automatic enrolment

    It is a legal requirement for employers to enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension scheme which both the employer and the employee will contribute to. There are certainauto enrolmentduties that employers must carry out in order to be fully compliant. Some of these duties are once off actions and others are ongoing duties which involves monitoring changes in your employees age and earnings. Every three years, employers must carry out the re-enrolment of any staff who may have left the scheme.

    4. Not backing up payroll data

    When running payroll, it is highly recommended that you alwayskeep a backup of all payroll data. It is also advised that this back up is saved somewhere other than on the hard drive of the computer you use to process payroll. Using a cloud platform or an external device to back up data is the safest option to ensure you never lose valuable information, should something happen to your computer.


    5. Having inexperienced or untrained staff run payroll

    While using the right software has made processing payroll easier than ever before, it is still not something that should be assumed is easy and straightforward to do. When staff running payroll are inexperienced or untrained, you are leaving your business open to problems like employees being paid the wrong amounts, penalties for non-compliance, time wasted correcting errors and overall damaging your reputation as a business. It is also important staff keep up to date and informed with any changing HMRC legislation or employee entitlements.

    6. Inefficiency and human error

    Your efficiency when running payroll will depend greatly on the level of automation used. Automation cuts down on the repetition of uncomplicated tasks. Automation not only saves your business time and money by allowing you to process payroll quicker, it also does so by reducing the possibility of human error. A payroll software must be used to automate payroll processes.

    Solution:

    You have two options when it comes to ensuring none of these mistakes are made by your business when processing payroll.

    Option One: Outsource your payroll to a professional.

    Option Two: Choose a payroll software that ensures all these mistakes are easily avoided.

    While outsourcing your payroll duties to a professional might seem like the simplest option, it may not be the most cost effective one. You can save money while having the same peace of mind that your payroll is correct by running your payroll in-house with the right payroll software.

    BrightPay is a multi-award-winning payroll software thatautomates payroll processing. The software is constantly performing tasks in the background, which helps streamline your payroll workflows. BrightPay’s integration with HMRC, accounting packages and pension providers automates payroll tasks while also ensuring that you can easily stay compliant.

    BrightPay will automatically assess new employees for auto enrolment each pay period and inform you of which employees need to be enrolled. Our software will then continue to monitor staff and inform you of any changes in eligibility, giving you peace of mind that all your auto enrolment duties are taken care of. BrightPay even automatically prepares customised letters which employees must receive, informing them of their auto enrolment rights.

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    When it comes to the General Data Protection Regulation(GDPR),BrightPay Connect, our optional cloud add-on, helps you stay compliant by offering a secure online portal for employers to share payslips with their employees as well as other HR documents. Our newest feature,two-factor authentication, adds a second layer of security for employers logging into BrightPay Connect. A security code will be sent to the user via email or text which needs to be entered to log in to the employer dashboard, lowering the risk of data breaches.

    While there will be a learning curve with any new software, BrightPay’s user friendly interface and intuitive design makes that learning curve a lot less steep. BrightPay’s website has a comprehensive library of support documentation that takes you step by step through payroll processes. If you cannot find the answer you are looking for, BrightPay’s support team can be reached by phone or email; offering BrightPay customer’s free help and guidance when they need it.

    Other useful resources that can be found on our website are our guides and ebooks, video tutorials, blogs and webinars. Previous webinars can be watched on demand from our website. We also host weeklylive webinarswhich anyone can join for free.

    Why not book a free demo today and discover how BrightPay can help you avoid payroll mistakes and make processing payroll a breeze.

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  • Why are people switching to BrightPay Payroll Software? Mar 12, 2021

    Ah Spring, I can just taste it in the air, can’t you? The sun is shining, the days are longer and with Spring comes the good ol’ annual spring clean. Personally, my apartment is gleaming - but that’s also due to lockdown induced cabin fever. In any case, it’s also a good time to spring clean your business and look at what you can do to make your life a little easier. Coupled with the approach of the new tax year, what better time to look at your payroll processes and see how they can be improved.

    But where to even start? Well, luckily I’ve done all the hard work for you and can confidently recommend BrightPay Payroll Software as the perfect fit for all your payroll needs. So let me tell you a few of the many reasons why customers are switching to BrightPay.

    Let’s start off with the basics. Payroll software can tend to be clunky and dated but not BrightPay who is definitely ‘the cool mom’ of the payroll world. BrightPay is totally modernised and user-friendly. Even those who have no experience with payroll have commended it on how easy it is to use due to its modern interface and usability.

    Not only that but the software is inherently intuitive and forgiving which adds to its ease of use. For example, when sending your payroll journals to your accounting software, you only need to do the nominal ledger mapping once and the software will remember this action for next time. Your monthly reports, once set up initially, can then be re-run with current payroll dates easily. On top of that, you can go back on any pay period and rectify any mistakes that have been made - we’re all human after all!

    As for furlough, BrightPay has absolutely killed it this year in terms of helping customers process their CJRS grants and subsequent furlough payments. BrightPay has an in-house software development team who are lightning quick to respond to any changes in the payroll world and create solutions. The CJRS feature basically automated the process of calculating furlough payments and was so successful that the company won a COVID Hero Award for their efforts. But this adaptability is indicative of just how good BrightPay are in dealing with any obstacles that come your way.

    Another reason why people are making the switch is thanks to everyone's favourite impending migraine, aka the upcoming IR35 reforms which come into effect in April this year. Under the new rules, any external contractors will have to be registered as employees for tax purposes. As they’re not technically employees, these off-payroll workers are not entitled to various employee entitlements, such as statutory pay, auto enrolment contributions, and holiday pay. This is proving an administrative nightmare but luckily, BrightPay allows users to simply disable these benefits for contractors who are ‘inside IR35’ at the click of a button.

    Likewise, under the CIS (Construction Industry Scheme), contractors may be required to make a deduction from a subcontractor’s payments which is then passed to HMRC. BrightPay includes a full CIS module which allows you to add all subcontractor types, including companies, trusts, sole traders and partnerships to your payroll. Payments can be processed on a weekly and/or monthly basis, and subcontractors can be paid a basic gross pay, hourly pay or daily pay. With many payroll software providers, this is normally an additional add-on, but BrightPay offers it at no extra cost!

    Another excellent feature that BrightPay offers is Batch Operations which allows users to batch process the payroll for several clients at the same time, which is particularly useful to bureau users. This feature enables you to process or perform a task such as finalising payslips, send outstanding RTI and CIS submissions for multiple employees at the same time all at the click of a button.

    Pretty compelling right? But it’s such a headache making the switch, isn’t it? Not with BrightPay who offer migration assistance for those who have seen the light and are ready to make the switch. Not only that but they also run a weekly webinar on how to switch to BrightPay. Trust me, this will be the biggest favour you do for yourself other than getting the vaccine and buying that extra bottle of wine in your weekly shop.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • 4 ways the new budget affects you Mar 4, 2021

    So yesterday, after weeks of whispers on the grapevine and speculations in the press, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak finally unveiled his much anticipated budget. Obviously the past year has been unprecedented in terms of impacts to businesses and livelihoods so people have been on tenterhooks waiting to see what measures are being put in place to alleviate the pinch we've all felt. But amidst all the jargon and the Mr Speaker this, Mr Speaker that, how does the new budget affect YOU - the normal everyday (and no doubt very attractive and funny) businessperson.

    (1) Clearly furlough was top of everyone’s list. With the roadmap to exit lockdown set to end on June 21st, the furlough scheme has been extended all the way to September. No this doesn't mean that lockdown might last until then also, it simply means more time is being given to businesses for the economy to bounce back and to help reduce redundancies. Hopefully by September it will be back to some semblance of normality. Furlough will stay at 80% of employees’ wages for hours they cannot work which is welcome news. From July onwards, employers will also be expected to contribute to a percentage of their employees’ wages.

    (2) When it comes to the self-employed however it is not business as usual (if you will pardon the pun). From next month, a fourth grant will be available to eligible applicants worth 80% of three month’s average trading profits capped at £7,500. A fifth grant will also be available from May but with this particular grant the amount paid will depend on the amount of turnover lost. So those businesses whose turnover has fallen by less than 30% will only receive a grant that is equal to 30% of average trading profits. In good news though, those who can provide tax returns that show they were trading in 2019-20 will be eligible now for the fourth and fifth grants. This means that some 600,000 more people will now be eligible to claim.

    (3) One of the biggest announcements was the increase in corporation tax to 25% in 2023 which hopes to bring in billions of additional revenue for the Treasury. However, small businesses with profits of £50,000 or less will remain at the current rate of 19% meaning around 70% of UK businesses will be unaffected. Only companies with profits of more than £250,000 will be taxed at the full rate of 25%.

    (4) Although income tax is not rising (big PHEW), the tax bill that people may face in the future could go up. Currently, if you earn over £12,500 then you pay 20% income tax and 40% if you earn over £50,000. These thresholds will go up to £12,570 and £50,270 in April and will be frozen until April 2026. Read more about the new Income Tax thresholds here.

    In other news, 5% deposits for mortgages are back for properties worth up to £600,000. The stamp duty holiday has been extended until 30 June (it was due to end in March) which means no stamp duty will be paid on the first £500,000 of a property purchase. This will reduce to the first £250,000 until the end of September, And finally, all duties on wine and beer will remain frozen for another year. And if that is not an excuse to pour yourself a nice big glass of wine, I don’t know what is!

    For a full list of all measures announced by the Chancellor today head to the GOV.UK website.


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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • Furlough set to be extended until June Mar 2, 2021

    Where were you when the roadmap was announced? I was sat in my bed in my pyjamas - I hadn’t gotten dressed in days - drinking my second glass of wine of the afternoon with tears in my eyes. Was this freedom being dangled in front of our eyes yet again? I mean, it all sounds a lot more optimistic now, especially as the NHS and not Boris’s mates are in charge of the vaccine rollout. So with this roadmap comes a glimmer of hope and a little less uncertainty. This is set to be reflected in the new Budget which the Chancellor is set to announce on March 3rd.

    We’ve had a few hints of what to expect but the one that will be most anticipated is an expected extension to the furlough scheme which will hopefully run now all the way to the end of June in line with the proposed roadmap.

    Since January the number of people on furlough has skyrocketed by 700,000 as stricter lockdown measures were introduced. The Treasury revealed last Thursday that on January 31st, around 4.7 million people were furloughed, up from 4 million a month earlier. Across the UK, around 11.2 million employees in total have been paid under the furlough scheme and, as of February 15th, a total of £53.8 billion had been claimed since the furlough scheme began last year. Absolutely mental!

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    In addition to the CJRS and SEISS, businesses took out a further £2.2 billion of government backed loans in the last month, bringing the total amount borrowed under the various loan schemes to nearly £73 billion.

    These figures go to show just how successful and widely used the furlough scheme has been so an extension would be welcomed with open arms!

    Also expected to be announced in the budget are plans to scrap a raise to the Income Tax personal allowance (which is due to rise from £12,500 to £12,562), a possible raise to capital gain tax and an extension to the Stamp Duty holiday which was due to end in March. We may also see a freezing of alcohol duty in order to give pubs a boost when they reopen which is music to my ears and a move that I will wholeheartedly support every night if needs be - for the *hic* good of the country of course!

    Until tomorrow none of this will be set in stone but it is a good indication of what is to come and I think we’ll be ok. It’s not like the government would do a U-turn on something they’ve said - right? Stay tuned on Wednesday and I’ll bring you all the gossip as it unfolds.

    You can also register for BrightPay’s upcoming webinar where the panel of payroll and HR experts will examine any changes to furlough that are announced tomorrow. Register here.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software


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  • Self employed set to suffer needlessly under new IR35 reforms Feb 23, 2021

    The self-employed have had a rough year. Well, we all have, but they've had a particularly rough time. Although The Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) did its best to meet the shortfall of wages, company directors who take their incomes from dividends missed out on huge sums of money and are still feeling the pinch. Coupled with delayed tax payments now being due along with continuing financial difficulties due to Covid-19, the IR35 reforms still going ahead as planned is like a proverbial slap in the face for our poor suffering self-employed.

    Quick recap: the IR35 reforms mean that, from April 6th 2021, off-payroll workers - so contacts, freelancers etc - will be treated as full time employees and businesses who use their services will be responsible for setting the tax status of contractors they hire to ensure they’re paying the same tax and National Insurance contributions as their “on-payroll” counterparts.

    The problem is that this has led to a swathe of large companies in the tech and pharmaceutical industries, most notably Deloitte, placing a blanket ban on working with limited companies and personal service companies (PSCs) from April 2021 onwards. This is a seemingly knee-jerk reaction to ensuring that they remain compliant to the new IR35 rules - albeit by circumventing them entirely as contractors will have to work with such companies via employment agencies or umbrella companies.

    The reason for using an umbrella company or the like is that it requires the contractor to cease trading as a limited company and become an employee of the umbrella company. As a result, the private sector firm is not required to determine the tax obligations and employee status of said contractors as they are already an “employee” of the umbrella company. A move as sneaky as my cat around an unattended roast chicken.

    It seems a really clever and easy way to circumvent the rules and to lay the responsibility at someone else’s feet and for that I commend them. But besides hurting the self-employed who are now essentially banned from working as before with large companies, it is also hurting the companies implementing the ban as, besides the additional costs they will incur using these intermediary parties, they will be at the back of the queue for any talented contractors who will now look elsewhere to companies that will treat them more fairly. And rightly so!

    Don’t get me wrong, it won’t be a walk in the park for businesses who want to play ball with the new rules. They’re messy and confusing and no one is trying to say otherwise. Determining the tax status of external contractors can be a daunting task and confusion may well lead to incorrect deductions and possible litigation which is literally last on the list of anything that anyone needs just behind a double root canal. But engaging with the reforms is worth doing and the advice is for contractors to encourage those with whom they do business to seek a supportive and structured solution instead of running away from it, which is in both parties interests.

    Basically put in the work now and it will undoubtedly come back to you down the line. A compliance led approach underpinned by a quality compliance solution is easier to apply than most realise. And all the self-employed can then flip the bird at all those companies who decided to take the easy way out when they’re sniffing around their skirt tails in a few years once things have died down.

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    BrightPay is hosting a free IR35 webinar with industry expert Jas Jhooty, Director at emTax. Discover how to comply with the upcoming changes to the off-payroll working rules, and how they will affect your business and payroll processes. Plus, learn how you can obtain ‘outside IR35’ SDS rulings for as many contractors as possible to keep 'inside IR35’ contractors to a minimum and reduce costs from April 2021. Limited places available - click here to book your place now.

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    [​IMG]Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • How to use BrightPay to Automate...Everything! Feb 19, 2021

    When used in the workplace, automation is about implementing a process to complete repetitive, uncomplicated tasks, using as little manpower as possible. Automation has become so intrinsic to productivity in the workplace, we have come to take it for granted. Whether it is photocopying a document or using a cash register to put through a sale, technology enables us to complete tasks quicker and easier than ever before.

    As a bureau or business owner, completing your employees or client's payroll can be a tedious and tiresome undertaking. By automating certain tasks, you can save you and your business time which will in turn save you money or allow you to increase profits. BrightPay is a payroll software that automates payroll processing. BrightPay’s intuitive design and user-friendly interface makes it easy to use for even the non tech savvy among us. The software is constantly performing tasks in the background, which help streamline your payroll processing, including:
    • Automatically calculating and displaying PAYE, National Insurance contributions, Student Loan deductions and other applicable addition and deduction amounts as you type.
    • Client documents and folders are automatically exported into an organised folder structure for each client.
    • Full Payment Submissions are automatically created as you process the payroll.
    These are just three examples of the many actions that take place automatically within BrightPay which make payroll processing a breeze.

    Integration with other software

    APIs (Application Programming Interface) facilitate communication between two or more software applications. Example of APIs in everyday life would be when you use PayPal to pay for something within an e-commerce platform or when sites like Booking.com collect hotel accommodation availability from providers. As you can tell from these two examples, APIs can make certain processes, quicker, more convenient and straightforward for the user.

    BrightPay has used API integration in the following ways to automate payroll processing:

    • Integration with HMRC
    BrightPay is a fully HMRC recognised payroll software and uses an API to communicate RTI (Real Time Information) submissions with HMRC to report payroll information and work out how much needs to be paid to HMRC. BrightPay’s payroll software also includes a full Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) module at no extra cost. Through the CIS module you can verify subcontractors with HMRC and submit the monthly return (CIS300) to HMRC.

    • Accounting Software API Integration
    BrightPay includes direct API integration with a number of accounting packages including Sage One, QuickBooks Online, Xero, FreeAgent, Kashflow, Twinfield and AccountsIQ. Your payroll journal can be sent directly from BrightPay to your accounting software. This integration cuts down on errors which may happen when you manually upload your journal file into the accounting software.

    • Pension API Integration
    BrightPay has direct integration with four pension providers: NEST, The People’s Pension, Smart Pension and Aviva. BrightPay’s integration with these pension providers allows users to submit employee payroll and contributions data by simply clicking on the API link each pay date, eliminating the need to manually export data and upload the file into the pension scheme portal.

    • BrightPay Connect API Integration
    BrightPay Connect is a cloud add-on that works alongside BrightPay Payroll. BrightPay Connect automatically backs up your payroll information, meaning you never have to worry about losing payroll data or having to manually back up your payroll information again.

    As a bureau, through your dashboard, you can communicate with your clients to get their payroll entered and approved, ready for completing the payroll run. Any new information added by the client (once it’s been reviewed by you) will automatically flow down to your BrightPay Payroll software. This automation cuts down on errors that are more likely to happen when payroll details are entered manually.

    BrightPay Connect also allows employees to request annual leave through the BrightPay Connect mobile app. Once the employer has approved the leave request, the leave will then be automatically added to the employee calendar and synchronised with the payroll software.

    Batch Payroll Processing

    Batch operations is another way BrightPay uses automation to make payroll processing quicker and easier. This feature is specifically designed for bureaus who process payroll for a number of clients. The Batch Operation tab on the BrightPay dashboard enables users to process or perform a task on multiple employers with just one click. Tasks that can be completed in batches are:
    • Finalising a pay period
    • Sending outstanding RTI and CIS submissions
    • Checking for coding notices
    Pension Auto Enrolment
    Employers with at least one employee must carry out a number of mandatory duties to ensure they fully comply with automatic enrolment. With BrightPay, on-screen alerts will notify the user of auto enrolment duties that need to be performed. BrightPay will automatically assess and continue to monitor an employee's eligibility. BrightPay automatically prepares enrolment letters for employees who have been enrolled as well as letters for non-eligible jobholders, entitled workers and postponed employees, informing them of their rights and explaining how auto enrolment applies to them.

    Every three years employers must put certain members of staff back into an auto enrolment pension scheme. When re-enrolment is due, BrightPay will automatically assess your employees for you and will determine which employees qualify for re-enrolment. Non-compliance with auto enrolment can result in fines for employers, so BrightPay’s alerts and automatic assessments can save a lot of headaches down the line.

    Automation can help reduce operating costs

    Using BrightPay payroll software helps reduce operating costs by eliminating errors, reducing the time it takes to perform repetitive tasks and may even reduce the number of employees you need to process payroll. BrightPay have identified the delays and inefficiencies people face when processing payroll and designed a system which can streamline your payroll process and improve your business.

    Book a demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay can help you to save time, improve efficiency and increase profits.

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