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  • BrightPay win another Best Payroll award! Dec 10, 2019 at 9:16 AM

    The past year has been a wild ride for BrightPay. After winning 'Payroll Software of the Year' at the 2018 AccountingWEB's Software Excellence Awards, we decided to carry on being blooming brilliant, and last week were awarded ‘Payroll Software of the Year’ at the ICB Luca Awards.

    The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB) is the largest bookkeeping institute in the world and aims to promote and maintain the standards of bookkeeping as a profession through the establishment of relevant qualifications and the award of grades of membership that recognise academic attainment, working experience and competence. Basically, they know their stuff.

    The Luca Awards are the ICB’s baby and have been dubbed the “Oscars of the bookkeeping world” (yes really). They are held annually to recognise the outstanding achievements of organisations, trainers, students and products in the bookkeeping profession.

    They were first held in 2013 and are said to be the profession’s most prestigious awards and are divided into various categories across two main types of awards. There are awards for bookkeepers (categories include Student of the Year to Apprentice of the Year) and awards for bookkeeping products (where BrightPay fits in).

    Like the AccountingWeb awards, the Luca awards are nominated by you, the people. It is open to ICB students and members and their decision is final. So BrightPay once again were nominated and awarded best in the business by their peers for an outstanding bookkeeping product. Guiltyyyyyy.

    BrightPay were up against some huge players in the payroll world, which made the award even more of an honour. These included Moneysoft, Sage Payroll and Xero Payroll.

    Safe to say the office has been great all week as we bask in the glow of another well-deserved victory. We’re all still nursing heads sore from bubbles and dancing, the staff room is being cleared out to make way for a trophy cabinet and the shrine to the MD is in the works.

    See what all the fuss is about for yourself at www.brightpay.co.uk

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne - BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Master trust authorisations - a success story Dec 3, 2019

    A few years back, The Pensions Regulator began to stamp its big ol’ cloven hooves about master trusts. As automatic enrolment was introduced and was hugely successful, more and more employees were being put into workplace pension schemes, and as a result, master trusts grew in popularity.

    For those of you who don’t know what a master trust is, although it sounds like a secret society, it is a term for a Defined Contribution (DC) scheme for unconnected employers to meet their legal duties. But back in 2018, the master trusts were growing in size and becoming behemoths of their former selves, threatening to spiral out of control, and so The Pensions Regulator stopped stamping and stepped in to put a plan in action to rein the master trusts in. The plan was to overhaul the existing legislation for DC schemes which would ensure that master trusts were properly regulated.

    These regulations involved written codes of practice for the industry and from October 2018, existing master trusts were given 6 months to file an application to The Pensions Regulator. In the application they were required to provide evidence that demonstrated that:
    1. The people running the schemes are fit and proper (fit as in healthy, it’s not Love Island, people)

    2. The master trust has good systems and processes in place

    3. A continuity strategy is set out what will happen in case of problems

    4. There is a funder behind the scheme

    5. The scheme is financially stable

    These prerequisites were established to ensure higher standards in the market and to make sure pension savers in master trusts were better protected.

    Well, SPOILER ALERT it’s all been a huge success and The Pensions Regulator recently revealed that the final number of existing master trusts to apply for authorisation has reached 39 (Crikey!), with 6 already authorised, and a remaining 33 awaiting a decision. Authorisation has led to a consolidation in the master trust market in which The Pensions Regulator says it sees “evidence of continuing”.

    Inevitably, not everyone was quite so keen and some schemes decided not to apply for authorisation. As of today, 10 schemes have exited the market and a further 35 have notified the regulator of a triggering event to exit the market. Well to those we say so long and good luck! This also makes room for more because despite applications closing back in 2018 for existing master trusts, new master trusts can apply to enter the market at any time. The only downside (if you’re a glass-half-empty kind of guy) is that new schemes will be monitored more intensely than existing ones because they will not have an operational track record which is, you know, fair enough.

    The Pensions Regulator will no longer be issuing a monthly number publication now that the application period for existing master trusts has ended, but said it will update its list of authorised schemes as more of them receive authorisation. I guess they're not so bad those guys; all of this is to make sure you (yes you!) are protected and that your precious pension pot is in good hooves - I mean - hands.

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  • The advantages of bringing payroll in-house Nov 29, 2019

    Traditionally, payroll has been seen as a tedious, manual process that was too costly and not very profitable. But this is now changing thanks to technology.

    Whether you work in practice or business, including payroll within the portfolio of services that you handle can bring substantial benefits to your team.

    Expand your practice’s portfolio

    There is a close relationship between a company’s taxes and their payroll obligations, so it makes sense for the same team to manage both. Payroll can bring a new revenue stream for those firms that don’t offer it yet. And the landscape is changing rapidly, with a growing number of practices now offering the service.

    Processing payroll is now easier than ever, with software allowing you to work for many clients without spending too much time on administrative tasks. For example, BrightPay and its accompanying cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect, enable you to become more efficient without any hidden costs. BrightPay Connect also has the added advantage of allowing your clients and their employees to do a lot of the most time-consuming work by themselves.

    This DIY approach is also convenient for clients, who can input all their employee’s personal information directly into the system and edit it when necessary, ensuring that they are GDPR compliant. They can also request and approve holidays and make last-minute changes to any relevant information before the end of the month.

    But what if you work in the finance department of a business? If you are considering bringing payroll in-house in your company, here are some of the facts you might want to take into account when making your decision.

    Cost

    The first advantage is, of course, the cost-saving benefits it brings. Processing payroll in-house is cheaper than outsourcing in the medium to long term. When outsourcing payroll you have to consider there might be some extra costs associated with making last-minute adjustments to shifts, overtime or personal information. By bringing payroll in-house, you don’t need to pay for any of this to be done externally.

    Payroll is cost efficient even with a small team. With the right payroll software, you need fewer resources and fewer specialist staff members. Solutions such as BrightPay and its cloud add-on BrightPay Connect make it easy to process payslips and calculate the correct tax, pension contributions, etc. whilst ensuring everything is accurate.

    Effectiveness and control of information

    When you process payroll in your company, you have more flexibility and the ability to make changes and corrections to payslips to ensure they are accurate and that they reflect any last-minute salary increases or reductions.

    Processing payroll in-house also allows you to keep sensitive information inside your own company’s database, including personal information and the salaries of your employees.

    Book a demo today to discover how BrightPay Payroll Software can help your business.

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  • Tax Refunds: How to spot a scammer Nov 25, 2019

    HMRC have recently issued a fresh warning about a new kind of scam that’s been circulating the internet. Although it’s been around for a while under different guises, instead of getting more sophisticated, the targets have become more gullible.

    Yes that’s right, poor little Freshers have been targeted by scammers with promises of juicy tax returns by HMRC. I myself received a few of these way back when, and even though I consider myself somewhat street-smart (especially when it comes to the World Wide Web), even I was nearly fooled by how convincing they were.

    The official looking email informs the recipient that they are due a tax refund, usually between £300-£400 (enough to make you excited) and asks you to log in via a link provided and enter some details to get your refund. While this would set off a million red flags and alarm bells for us more cynical, world-weary folk, it is the ultimate trap for naive (and notoriously broke) students who don’t even know how a washing machine works, never mind a tax refund! And it doesn’t even matter that they've never actually had a job, free money is free money baby!

    Well, for those unlucky enough to be caught out by this scam, not only will your data be stolen along with your hard earned cash (however little you have), but the scammer also has the potential to ruin your credit rating by opening up bogus accounts with your stolen information. But don’t worry kids, I am here to make sure you don’t get mugged off (I’m so down with the lingo) with these top tips to spot a scam.

    1) Check the email address

    One of the most convincing parts of scam emails to the untrained eye is legit looking email addresses. In the recent cases, email addresses ended in “ac.uk” which look official, but a quick click on the email address will reveal the true email address that will have a million characters and looks as dodgy as a guy with a trench coat and bare legs wandering around a park.

    2) Look for the tax reference number

    If HMRC do contact you, they will always include your tax reference number. Look at any potential correspondence carefully and if this is missing then set it on fire and throw it in the bin.

    3) Don’t give out personal information

    I know we are the generation of oversharing. No one - not a single person - cares what I had for breakfast on January 17th of 2015 but hey, it’s there online for everyone to see. But if someone did ask, it would be weird. It’s the same for your personal data. Rule #1 of the internet is ‘Stranger Danger’ and while an app may ask to share your location (which is a whole other rant), official organisations will never ask you to share personal data. Put on your GDPR hat and shut it down.

    4) If in doubt, rat them out

    If something seems fishy then report it to phishing. Forward any suspicious emails to [email protected]. They will look into it for you and get back to you about the email’s legitimacy.

    So in summary, don’t be a wally. If it’s too good to be true then it usually is. Save your student loans and pocket money for nights out and lectures that you won’t remember.
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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • What is an IR35 and what is off-payroll working? Nov 20, 2019

    There’s been a lot of talk around the water-cooler recently regarding new employment rules that are about to be introduced by the government that could leave nearly 200,000 self-employed workers paying thousands of pounds extra in tax each year. Not only that, but word on the payroll street is that they’ll have a pay cut too. Double whammy!

    Well the hot goss this time is scalding, because this is not some story to frighten young lads who have just joined their father’s companies after uni, no this is actually happening. From April 2020, the government is set to expand the off-payroll working rules, which are known as IR35, to the private sector. But what’s an IR35? What is off-payroll working? And what happened to the Twix I left in the staff room fridge?

    Gather round the fireside children to hear a tale of greed and trickery. Yes, of course I’m talking about the HMRC. Just kidding, for once it’s the other way around. It all started with those pesky Personal Service Companies (PSCs) who, at the time, were paying less tax and NICs than those who were employed directly. In retaliation, the HMRC introduced off-payroll working rules (IR35) back in 2000 which ensured that anyone who worked through a PSC and would have been employees if directly engaged, would pay roughly the same income tax and NICs as if they were employers.

    Why the fuss? Well at the time there was seen to be a large number of tax and NIC avoidance schemes through the use of intermediaries - in this case, partnerships, PSCs and limited companies. This was actually a big problem because, due to the lax tax loophole, employees were able to convert their status to that of a limited company or PSC quickly and very easily. Funnily enough, HMRC were not a big fan of this as it meant that when these employees became “contractors”, they managed to significantly decrease how much tax they paid and thus increase their take home pay by tenfold.

    YUP! I mean, it’s kind of impressive (if not morally vacuous). In the words of Mr Krabbs “money money money money”. But the HMRC were having exactly none of it. No ma’am. Something needed to be done about these tax-dodgers ASAP and this is how the “Intermediaries Relationship” (or IR35) came to be. It was essentially a way of the Treasury negating the status of “contractors” in the eyes of the law and changing it back to “employees” who were subject to the same rules and regulations as the rest of us.

    So really, in essence, IR35 means well and is designed to create fairness and equality amongst us taxpayers. So those moaning about losing money were making it unfairly, right? Well, no - despite its good intent, IR35 has been embroiled in drama, with most people criticising it as a badly thought out system that was too hastily put forth.

    Although there have been attempts to reform it, none have been successful and the negative opinion prevails. Back in 2010, in at attempt to make things more simple for small businesses the ‘Office of Tax Simplification’ (or OTS) came into effect but didn’t really do much. But since then, the public sector were the only ones to benefit from some changes made in April of 2017. That was until now...

    Yes, that’s right folks - the off-payroll rules are being overhauled and reformed! About bloody time! And this time the focus is on the private sector. Why are people still worried then? Should they be? Will I ever find that Twix? Find out who, what, where and why in my next blog.
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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • The amazing HR features of BrightPay Connect Nov 15, 2019

    Did you know BrightPay offer the perfect HR solution on top of an already award-winning payroll software? Buckle in, because I’m about to take you on a tour of their amazing HR features.

    Employee self-service

    To say that BrightPay Connect will reduce your workload immediately is a bold statement. But I ain’t kidding. The powerful online portal allows employees to access and retrieve historic payslips along with other payroll documents themselves. This eliminates all the boring and incessant requests from employees, hurrah!

    You no longer need your payroll department or manager to upload or amend basic personal details as employees can now, yes you guessed it, do it themselves! This reduces administration duties for managers, empowers employees and makes the world a better place.

    Annual leave management

    Employees can submit holiday requests with a few simple clicks through the online portal. These will go straight to the manager who will be notified immediately. Not only that, but the manager can view the company-wide holiday calendar before approving. Employees can also view their remaining holiday balance, which is automatically updated when leave is requested, meaning everyone is up-to-date.

    Document upload

    The document upload feature allows managers to share documents with individual employees, teams or departments, or the whole company should you so please. All at the touch of a button. This could be anything from a training manual to the company handbook, or even individual contracts of employment. You can even see who’s viewed circulated documents and who hasn’t, so the little Pinocchios won’t get away with pretending they didn’t get the memo.

    Company messaging

    Speaking of memos, there is also a handy company messaging feature. Whether it’s a notification about the Christmas party or a gentle but firm reminder to people to keep their workspaces tidy, the notification system will transform internal communications. There’s even a control feature which allows you to schedule company notifications in advance and specify how long notifications should be visible for.

    Employee calendar

    The employee calendar allows managers to see at a glance who is on leave, when, and what type of leave they’re on. It’s also colour-coded and highlights various types of leave, making staff scheduling and managing leave as easy as 1-2-3.

    Did I also mention that you can restrict functionality for certain users, manage access levels for different staff and even make some employees (like the big boss) confidential.

    Yes, BrightPay Connect does all that on top of their amazing payroll features. Book your free demo and watch your world change!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • How to choose the right Cloud HR platform for your business Nov 12, 2019

    Choosing the right HR platform for your business can be difficult. To help you make the right decision we have highlighted five points you need to consider first.
    1. Cost – Migrating to the cloud should be cost-effective since it does not require you to purchase any new hardware or software. This minimizes up-front costs from the start. You want a product that can grow as you grow or that can accommodate a temporary slowdown in business so you're not paying for something you don't need or worse, find yourself outgrowing your product.

    2. Productivity – Along with this, you want a product that reduces man-hours, you want it to take those mundane, day-to-day HR tasks off your desk, the requests, the interruptions that distract you from getting your work done. Look for a product that facilitates multiple users. One that allows you to delegate tasks like approving holidays or grant selected access, like letting your accountant see your payroll reports or your P30 breakdown.

    3. Compliance – You want a product that takes into account the obligations you have as an employer, both under employment law and GDPR, and that includes features that make compliance easy, stress-free and trackable.

    4. Simplicity – Choose a product that removes the risk for human error in processes. Make sure it is user-friendly and that training and support is available for you to use it effectively. The best cloud vendors will provide the proper tools and education needed to migrate your data with ease.

    5. Connection – Pick a product with attractive employee features. Make sure your employees, current and future, know that you’re a progressive company and interested in your employee’s welfare. Your employees are not going to be excited about something unless it works for them. People nowadays expect their needs to be met through technology. Banking? Communicating? Tracking your steps? Applying for jobs? Booking a flight? It’s all online. Employees expect to be able to manage their lives online. Make sure you are right there on the cutting-edge of cloud technology!
    Book a demo today to find out how BrightPay Connect can improve your business.

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  • Don’t gamble on your payroll - BetFred face backlash after holiday pay mishap Oct 30, 2019

    Another day, another payroll drama. What better place for the scene to be set than a bookies. But this time, instead of red-faced men being dragged out by the ears by their thundering wives, it’s the employees waging war on the big bosses over holiday pay.

    The bookmakers BetFred were hit with a stonker of a payroll issue whereby the payroll was calculated incorrectly for staff who had worked overtime ahead of a holiday period. Instead, the pay was only calculated based on their contractual hours.

    Wow. I don’t even like working for money let alone for free! Well, neither did the employees and this mammoth mistake ticked them off massively (excuse my language). It’s unclear exactly how many of BetFred’s 7,000 employees have been affected, but it’s assumed that it’s in the hundreds. That’s hundreds of employees who have been left hundreds of pounds out-of-pocket.

    Just to add a bit of background, in 2017 the Employment Appeals Tribunal ruled that payments for purely voluntary overtime should be included in holiday pay calculation if they are regular enough to count as “normal pay”. So ever since, if an employee regularly does overtime (which was absolutely the case for the majority of BetFred staff) then this needs to be taken into account. So these poor employees slogging away, earning only 10-20p more than minimum wage are giving up more of their time for free for a pittance.

    To add insult to injury, according to a whistleblower within the company, word around the water cooler is that this problem was known to the company months ago. The only effort made on the company’s part was to send out a memo to staff and then wait for them to claim. But the problem was they didn’t know they should have claimed in the first place! Not cool!

    A spokesperson for BetFred blamed its payroll system for the error, saying it has struggled to cope with changes in the way holiday pay is calculated and claims their payroll was outsourced to an external company. Yeah yeah, the oldest trick in the book *rolls eyes*.

    Well, I have a few suggestions to take away from this about how you can stay in the game and not put your money on the wrong horse (thank you, thank you).
    • First of all, no matter what, always keep track of your overtime because, unfortunately, sometimes even the people who are literally paid to do this for you let you down.
    • Secondly, know your rights as an employee when it comes to pay. Have a chat with your manager or your HR department if you feel something might be amiss with your pay.
    • Last but not least, if you’re an employer then take control of your own payroll. Don’t outsource, grab it by the horns and do it yourself. Make sure you are using a payroll system that can automate administrative tasks, reducing the risk of errors.
    BrightPay are the ace up your sleeve in payroll automation. They are prepared for all changes that are thrown your way, be it holiday pay to pensions. Book a demo today to see how BrightPay’s automation and integration can improve the efficiency of your business. With BrightPay, you’ve hit the jackpot.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Are employees receiving the National Minimum Wage? Oct 23, 2019

    According to Office for National Statistics figures, wage growth has risen to 3.6% in the year to May 2019, outpacing inflation since March 2018.

    While unfortunately we don’t have a crystal ball to predict how long this will last, we know something for certain: the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) will continue to change every year.

    Tracking employee hourly rates depending on their circumstances might seem complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Here at BrightPay, we are constantly working to provide you with a platform that makes payroll and amendments easy.

    In this short guide we have summarised all the key information and steps to make changes to the NMW and NLW on BrightPay.

    Hourly rates

    The hourly rate for the minimum wage depends on an employee's age and whether they are an apprentice:
    • The apprentice rate is applicable to apprentices aged under 19 and those aged 19 or over when they are in the first year of their apprenticeship

    • Employees under 24 years old are entitled to the National Minimum Wage

    • Employees aged 25 or over are entitled to the National Living Wage
    The rates for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage change every April and are currently:
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    BrightPay can track all employee hourly rates depending on their circumstances. That is including all the cases above, as well as the London Living Wage, and they can also be marked as not eligible.

    Checking if an employee is receiving the NMW

    You can use BrightPay to determine if an employee is receiving the National Minimum Wage, which is automatically calculated for hourly paid employees.

    Once the number of hours worked for a pay period is entered, the payroll software will use the rest of data available about the employee, such as their age, hours worked in period and minimum wage profile to calculate how the hourly rate used compares to the minimum hourly rate, and alert the user if it falls below the relevant minimum wage.

    Non-hourly employees

    The process is simple for most employees, but you might be wondering about non-hourly employees. The good news is that on BrightPay you will also find a Minimum Wage Report feature that allows you to enter/confirm the number of hours worked for each employee and generate a report that confirms who is above or below the minimum wage. Easy, isn’t it?

    If an employee's wage is below the National Minimum/Living Wage, BrightPay will flag it with a yellow status bar within 'Payroll' – or you can choose to hide this notification if you prefer.

    Amending a global hourly rate

    When the Minimum Wage changes, you can amend the global hourly rates automatically. Hourly rates can also be set up at the employer level in BrightPay from the 'Employer' tab, selecting 'Hourly Rates'. Once the hourly rate has been determined, the changes will automatically be applied to all employees assigned to that hourly rate.

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    To find out more about BrightPay, contact the team or try it for free for 60 days.
  • The IR35 clampdowns keep on coming - Three BBC presenters are made pay back a total of £92,000 Oct 8, 2019

    Watch out, HMRC is about again. This time they have the BBC in their firing line; namely, three BBC journalists: Joanna Gosling, David Eades and Tim Willcox. So what was HMRC’s beef with them? Did they do an undercover exposè on their Christmas Party? Did they write a scathing article about workplace fashion? No no, unfortunately nothing as salacious as that, it’s only our old pal IR35 again.

    It’s not the first time HMRC have tried to go after TV presenters. It’s like they had a bad experience on a daytime chat show and are hell-bent on revenge. Back in April of this year they went after Loose Women TV and radio broadcaster Kay Adams and even tried to go after our wee Lorraine over a £1.2m tax bill. Both times, HMRC were defeated in court which makes this recent ruling against the three unlucky presenters all the more shocking.

    For those of you who may have (understandably) nodded off during IR35 class, here’s the Cliff Notes. There has been a recent overhaul and the relationship between employers and independent contractors (or personal service companies) has been redefined within the parameters of IR35 to fall more in line with traditional employer/employee relationships. This is meant to stop people skipping on their tax obligations.

    Now, there definitely were some scurrilous folks out there who were abusing these loopholes to not pay as much tax and this led to the reforms being introduced. But what is becoming apparent is that big companies in particular are vulnerable to such tribunals due to the large number of employees they have, both employed directly and as contractors.

    Well, the old adage of “innocent until proven guilty” doesn’t really seem to apply to these IR35 investigations and HMRC are rather like a bull in a china shop and god help anyone who is in their way. Because the worst thing about this case is the presenters in question claimed they didn’t even know what IR35 was until it came up when they were being investigated.

    According to the tribunal’s findings, they acknowledged that the BBC had left the presenters with no choice but to provide their services via limited companies and had failed to warn them of the risks of IR35. The judgment even noted “the BBC were in a unique position and used it to force the presenters into contracting through the PSCs and accept reductions in pay”. Scathing.

    So, how come others won their tribunal cases but the book was thrown at these three presenters? The total amount to be paid back by all three equalled £92,000. Apparently hundreds of BBC presenters who provided their services via a PSC were being targeted in a mass clampdown. But how many of those investigated were actually trying to pull the wool over HMRC’s eyes and who were genuinely acting in good faith on the advice of their employers or accountants?

    The simple answer is: who knows? This tribunal result shows that anything can happen and should make people perk up a bit. And it’s not just limited to the broadcasting industry as demonstrated by a similar clampdown of GSK only a couple of weeks ago. If you employ any sort of independent contractor, it’s time to review them and make sure they are compliant with the new guidelines.

    The only thing we’re certain of is that there will be a lot of uncertainty in the coming months (possibly years) as the dust kicked up by these reforms settles. Where will you be when the taxman comes a’knocking?

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Survey says: 1 in 5 employees have quit a job due to poor payroll experience Oct 1, 2019

    This week the payroll community were left shocked with the release of a truly eye-opening report. The fascinating research, commissioned by Zellis and conducted by an independent research firm, found that 1 in 5 Brits (21%) have changed jobs after being paid late or inaccurately by their employer. Just to put that into perspective that’s about 7 million people!

    The research also identified that 60% of employers found mistakes on their payslips and 31% said they had been paid late. This unsurprisingly left them feeling:
    • The employer didn’t care about their well-being (48%)
    • High levels of stress and worry (47%)
    • Less engaged and productive at work (25%)
    • At risk of their financial situation (40%)
    No, the survey was not conducted on overdramatic teenagers. These are real-life concerns for us little people. It’s all well and good for the fat cats in the boardroom to miss out on a week’s pay; I mean, they’d probably gamble my year’s salary on a game of Snap and not bat an eyelid. But for us regular folk, no money means more problems.

    The study highlighted the real life impact of late and inaccurate payments on financial, and therefore mental, wellbeing. 37% had missed payments on direct debits, 31% said they had gone into their overdraft, 26% had incurred bank charges and 24% had damage to their credit rating. Enough to ruin any payday!

    If this doesn't highlight the need for automation, then I don't know what will. Humans got the job and didn't pass the probation period, the robots have it. This research proves that payroll departments are unable to pay staff accurately and on time. Not only does it affect the employees, but if all your talent are leaving because you've ticked them off due to silly errors then it’s your business that is affected too.

    But the argument about who is responsible for payroll accuracy rages on. It’s true that employees do play a significant role in providing their payroll departments with timely and accurate information to enable them to perform their core objectives. But payroll processing is becoming more and more complex and the changes and challenges that come with them are on the onus of payroll to deal with appropriately.

    The chance of breaching payroll legislation and thus the possibility of incurring fines and reputational damage means it is crucial that payroll departments stay up-to-date, because even though you might think your payroll department are doing a great job, the results of the survey say otherwise and attention needs to be paid to this valuable insight to ensure that employees receive their pay both accurately and on time.

    Gosh, seems all doom and gloom doesn’t it? Well, it’s your lucky day pal because I’m here to tell you about an amazing software that could take all the anxiety you’re currently feeling away. BrightPay offer an amazing add-on to their award-winning payroll software called BrightPay Connect which you’ll love so much you'll want to take it home to meet the parents. Its features include a self-service portal that allows them to view their payslips immediately and there's also a handy archive to store them all.

    But most importantly BrightPay are at the forefront of payroll automation. No matter what changes come your way they will have already anticipated them, leaving you to get on with keeping your staff even happier by giving them every Friday off to pet puppies. You’re welcome.

    Check them out at www.brightpay.co.uk

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • The benefits of using both Cloud and desktop payroll software in unison Sep 19, 2019

    Most small businesses prefer to handle their business in-house. This is no different when it comes to payroll. In fact, payroll is probably the most important thing in the world any business and there are two types of solutions to choose from: on-premise and cloud based systems. Both systems are designed to automate and streamline payroll processes - music to any MD’s ears.

    However, there’s a huge difference between these two types of payroll software programmes. While each individually has their own merits, two is better than one, right? Why should you have to choose? Why not both? What if I like processing data on my desktop instead of in a virtual world? Well the folks at BrightPay have you covered. That’s right ladies - HYBRID payroll software is now a thing. Payroll has always been a daunting task for businesses and while the people responsible for payroll runs are beautiful, intelligent and downright charming, they are but mere humans and hit some snags along the way. Here’s where using BrightPay Connect, a hybrid - that is, both cloud and desktop payroll systems in unison - comes in.

    Cloud portals offer a single solution to a number of processes that, before, would have been based across multiple platforms. So the fact that cloud systems merge both payroll and HR functionality together is not only efficient, it’s incredible. Tracking HR through a payroll system also maximises efficiency of employee administrative tasks by automating things like time and attendance. With BrightPay Connect, you can process all of the payroll run on your desktop system, and then wooosh - it gets uploaded onto the cloud giving you the benefits of fully cloud-based software.

    Manual processes are full of mistakes (also known as human error) and these are especially apparent with payroll, where one slip-up means that an employee doesn’t get their holiday pay on time and ends up calling in sick for a week in protest (not based on actual events *cough*). These sort of inaccuracies are widespread and have serious knock-on effects for the company. Hybrid payroll software can dramatically reduce such inaccuracies.

    I’ve also talked before about how cloud systems are incredibly efficient at keeping employee information and data safe. BrightPay Connect has a hierarchical feature which only allows staff members with the appropriate access to view sensitive information. Not only that, but it’s all paperless so you can put down your bamboo toothbrush and give yourself another pat on the back for saving the planet.

    And finally (although I could go on and on), there’s the added bonus of storing employee data, enabling employees to access their data anytime, anywhere. This has been shown to boost employee engagement in administrative processes and gives the HR team some breathing room. This information is also stored securely and is easily accessible in the case of audits, employee queries and reports.

    I mean…. it’s a no-brainer, right? If you haven’t already converted to the Connect by now then I’m clearly in the wrong profession. What’s not to love? But where do you even begin when the market it so saturated? Well, not that I haven’t mentioned it a hundred times already, but BrightPay won Payroll Software of the Year in 2018 and their add-on BrightPay Connect is the stuff that hybrid payroll software dreams are made of. BrightPay’s payroll software is easy-to-use, and its user-friendly interface is compatible with all desktop platforms, making your life a lot easier. Head on over to www.brightpay.co.uk to have a look at their amazing products and to book a free demo.

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  • Watch out, HMRC’s about! GSK targeted in IR35 crackdown Sep 12, 2019

    OK guys, HMRC are no longer in a good mood. Gone are the happier times of waiving fines, helping pensioners across the road and cuddling puppies. Yes, they are back in business and this week that business was GSK.

    GlaxoSmithKline (in case you didn’t know) is the largest pharmaceutical company in the UK and employs approximately 33,000 employees in the UK alone. (I bet they have some stories from their Christmas parties!)

    Well this week nearly 1,500 of its employees, who were in fact contractors, were accused by the HMRC of being “disguised employees”. No, that does not refer to a group of employees who skulk around the corridors wearing Groucho glasses and trench coats. It means they’re bloomin’ tax dodgers! They behave exactly like employees, except that they get paid via a limited company and therefore pay less tax. Escandalo!

    Hmmm, where have we heard of this before? That’s right, sounds like something to do with our old pal IR35. Not long ago, HMRC introduced reforms which meant that these sort of employees who were posing as independent contractors to reduce their tax bill would now be subject to the same employment laws and taxes as the rest of us.

    So where does GSK come into this? Well, GSK is made up of a vast number of different departments such as IT, vaccines, biomedical, manufacturing… the list goes on. With such a large workforce it is inevitable that some of these will be independent contractors. It wouldn’t be feasible to think otherwise. Try telling that to HMRC!

    In a move that has been largely criticised, the HMRC wrote to around 1,500 contractors (both current and previous) and asked them to retrospectively review the tax status of their engagement with the firm for the 2018-19 tax year. Yikes! The letters went on to say that any recipient who determined that their engagements qualified outside of IR35 would need to provide evidence to support their claim by September 19th of this year. Those targeted also have the threat of penalties and “compliance checks” looming over them which sounds like it’s straight out of George Orwell’s 1984.

    So needless to say, there has been a bit of a backlash to these letters. The letters were deemed “aggressive” by Qdos (IR35 specialists) CEO Seb Maley who also said the letters seemed to take the stance that the contractors were “guilty until proven innocent” and dubbed the whole fiasco an “unfair treatment of independent workers”. *finger snap*. We DEFINITELY want Seb on our side in a catfight.

    This has been the first large scale assault by HMRC since the new IR35 reforms were introduced, but because of the backlash they’ve received, who knows if it will become par for the course.

    If you are a business who works with independent contractors, best not to take any risks and get all your ducks in a row. Make sure to speak to your HR and payroll departments and carry out IR35 “tests of employment” to assess people’s working practices. But most importantly, sleep with one eye open because HMRC is watching you.

    About BrightPay

    BrightPay, WINNER of Payroll Software of the Year 2018 is a payroll and auto enrolment software that makes managing payroll easy. Our cloud add-on, BrightPay Connect introduces powerful online features including an automated cloud backup, online annual leave management, client payroll entry and approval and an employee self-service portal.

    Book a demo today to see just how much time cloud automation and integration can save you.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • Buckle in for more new data protection regulations Sep 3, 2019

    Just when you thought it was all over, that all your data protection processes were up-to-date, along comes another EU regulation on personal data. No, you haven’t travelled back in time and are reading an article about GDPR. This is GDPR 2.0 and it’s called ePrivacy Regulation (Jaws music plays in the background). It’s due to come into effect this year and although it has a different focus to GDPR, it has been designed to work in sync with it. But what is it and most importantly, how much of a headache will it give me?

    The ePrivacy Regulation will replace the ‘ePrivacy and Electric Communications Directive 2002’. The word “regulation” makes it a legal act which will be immediately enforceable across the EU; much like - yes you got it - GDPR (or General Data Protection Regulation). So pull up your bootstraps and buckle in, because we’re in for another wild ride.

    While GDPR was mainly about protecting personal data, the ePrivacy Regulation is more about protecting personal privacy across electronic communications. So, for example, as a payroll provider, the GDPR is concerned with the data you hold and who can access it; whereas the ePrivacy Regulation is more concerned about how you are transmitting the data. GDPR is still the Big Daddy and will sit above the ePrivacy Regulation and apply to wider data protection orders, whereas the ePrivacy Regulation will deal with specific subjects inside the scope of GDPR.

    The regulation states that "electronic communications data should be defined in a sufficiently broad and technology-neutral way so as to encompass any information concerning the content transmitted or exchanged... and the information concerning an end-user of electronic communications services processed for the purposes of transmitting, distributing or enabling the exchange of electronic communications content; including data to trace and identify the source and destination of a communication, geographical location and the date, time, duration and the type of communication."

    So communications are protected regardless of where the data has been transmitted from. Such data should always be confidential and if you interfere with the communication of that data then, through human or automated processes, then guess what, you’re breaking the law. For example, scanning electronic messages, listening to calls, monitoring a list of visited websites or monitoring interaction between users - without consent - is a big fat no no. So if as a company you do any of the above you’ll need to have a team meeting.

    But there are also OTT (“over the top”) communications, no not a bunch of emotional teenagers in a room together, they are named so because they sit on top of services provided by a named service, i.e. WhatsApp or Facebook. The ePrivacy Regulation is designed with the OTT services in mind (getting with the times) and all will be brought within the scope of EU privacy rules and will be bound by the same rules as traditional methods. Cookies are also a huge part of what you need to know as a company because you’ll now need to configure your software so that it offers the option to prevent third parties storing the information.

    Gee, that sounds like a lot of work, I think I’ll pass. OH NOOOO you don’t, like GDPR this is non-negotiable and there are some eye-watering consequences of not complying. Penalties range from up to £10 million or 2% of your global turnover (whichever is higher). And before you say “well this is an EU regulation, doesn’t apply to Brexit Britain” then you're wrong.

    In order to achieve a whitelisted status from the EU and be seen as a safe zone under GDPR, the UK has passed its own laws that work in tandem with the new EU regulations. And given that the regulations cover communications and technologies that cross territories, the majority of businesses will need to comply even if they’re not in the EU.

    You’re welcome. Good night. Sweet dreams. :)

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Igniting the spark of a new system in your employees Aug 22, 2019

    Employees eh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Every business has a mix of the absolute stars, always willing to go the extra mile, eager beavers! Then you have the ones who are always late, sigh whenever you ask them to do something and call in sick every Monday after the rugby has been on.

    So when you try to introduce a new working payroll procedure such as using a self-service portal it’s not always going to go to plan and not everyone will be as excited as you. Introducing something doesn’t necessarily mean your staff are going to use it. Why is this?
    • People don’t like dealing with machines. Ask anyone who’s been on hold to an automated call system for any length of time and you’ll see them rocking back and forth in a corner screaming “I just want to speak to a HUMAN BEING!” Some can find it difficult to transition to a digital system when we’ve been used to human contact previously.
    • People might just straight up not want to change to a new payroll system after years of doing things a certain way. We all have someone in the office who still uses paper records and drives to work in a horse and cart.
    • Support and training can often be inadequate, leaving the less tech-minded struggling to use the new system. It can be intimidating!
    So how do you get past these roadblocks and make this new payroll transition seamless?
    1. Make it easy – this is a no-brainer and a staple of any successful software. Having an easy and user-friendly interface is the key to success. Simplicity is key. When you are shopping around for the perfect self-service portal make sure you can do an online demo and get the least tech-savvy person in the office (someone instantly sprang to mind didn’t it?) to test it out. The pack is only as strong as its weakest member.

    2. Mobile App – if it doesn’t come with an app then I don’t want to know. We don’t carry desktop computers around in our back pockets so having a smartphone app that employees can access anytime, anywhere is key to improving uptake.

    3. Provide proper training and support – Exactly what it says on the tin; the more confident people are in using something, the more successful the uptake will be. Or better still invest in a cost effective system that is so easy, you or your employees won’t even need training.

    4. Deal with the naysayers! – There is always going to be that one person (or group) who refuses to use a new system or just rolls their eyes and moans about change. In these cases, it is important to listen to their concerns whilst extolling the virtues and benefits of the self-service system.
    If some employees are loving the new software then it will have a knock-on effect with other staff - If they see others pumped and positive about it then they will soon come on board once they realise how much it benefits them. You just need to ignite that spark!

    BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay Payroll Software that fits all of the above. Its simple user interface has been a hit with its users and they have even won Payroll Software of the Year 2018. Not that you’d need it, but they have a great customer service team to help you with all your support queries. And it’s not just the self-service portal that it has to offer - head to www.brightpay.co.uk to check out all its other features that will make your life a lot easier.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software