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  • 5 tips to choosing the right Cloud HR portal Jan 18, 2021 at 10:52 AM

    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 theGDPR legislation, and that includes features that make compliance easy, stress-free and trackable.
    4. Simplicity – Choose a product that removes the risk of 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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  • HMRC to waive fines for those who file late tax returns due to COVID-19 Jan 14, 2021 at 11:01 AM

    During the current lockdown you probably fit into one of two categories - mind numbingly bored and mind numbingly busy. You would either jump at the chance to tackle a task as long and arduous as a tax return just to have something to do, or the mere thought of even trying to find the time to do one makes you literally laugh out loud like a maniac as you scrape two kids off you whilst cleaning up dog sick from the carpet. If you identify more with the latter, then I have some good news for you.

    Yes, while the deadline for completing the year 2019/20 tax return is 11:59 pm on Sunday, January 31st 2021, HMRC have kindly taken into account that some people may be, well, predisposed, and are waiving fines normally given for filing tax returns if you have a valid Coronavirus related excuse.

    Now, the problem is that HMRC hasn’t been crystal clear on what constitutes a coronavirus related excuse and have said that they will look at each situation on a case to case basis. But applying common sense to the question I think it’s safe to say that a valid excuse might be something like having to homeschool your children during the lockdown, being ill with COVID-19, or having a death in the family related to COVID-19. There is no way to apply in advance for leniency, rather, it will be a case of appealing after the fact.

    The usual fine for missing the 31st January deadline is a £100 fine and a further penalty of £10 a day is applied after three months up to a maximum fine of £900. After six months you’ll also be charged 5% of the tax owed or £300 (whichever is higher), and this happens again after twelve months, Yikes!

    If you do get fined this year then you’ll receive a letter from HMRC that explains their appeals process and this is what you’ll need to follow in order to have the penalty waived. You can appeal by post or online, provided you have a Government Gateway account.

    Additionally, HMRC issue a list of other reasonable excuses for filing late tax returns which are as follows:
    • Your partner or another close relative died shortly before the tax return or payment deadline.
    • You had an unexpected stay in hospital that prevented you from dealing with your tax affairs.
    • You had a serious or life-threatening illness.
    • Your computer or software failed just before or while you were preparing your online return.
    • Issues with HMRC's online services.
    • A fire, flood or theft prevented you from completing your tax return.
    • Postal delays you could not have predicted.
    • Delays related to a disability you have.
    Another snag is that this leniency only applies to tax returns filed late and not late tax payments so make sure you still pay on time if you can. However, if you are unable to do so you can always appeal based on the reasonable excuses listed above.

    So there you have it. If you’re currently experiencing your third mental breakdown of the week like me then this will be very welcome news indeed. Now, I’m off to homeschool the cats and take the kids to the vet, I’ll tackle the tax return after. Wish me luck!

    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
    BrightPay Payroll Software


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  • Why Your Clients Need A Streamlined Annual Leave Management System Jan 12, 2021

    Annual leave management isn’t the most exciting area of running a business. Nor is it the most important. However, it is a process that affects every single business that has employees and, if this process isn’t managed properly, it can cause endless problems for your clients and their staff. So, what if you could offer them a cost-effective, cloud-based solution to one of the biggest headaches they deal with every day? Well, now you can.

    BrightPay Connect is a cloud-portal add-on to our award-winning payroll software. It combines payroll functionality with human resources features for a one-stop-shop solution for your clients and your bureau. It uses the latest in automation technology to ensure a user-friendly experience that your clients will love, and was designed with bureaus in mind to ensure that your job is made easier than ever before.

    One of the most unique features of BrightPay Connect is its annual leave management tool which allows every element of leave management to be handled in the cloud from anywhere and at any time. Tell your clients to say goodbye to old fashioned leave request forms and files, and say hello to annual leave management that makes sense for everyone.

    The Benefits Of Streamlining Annual Leave Management For Your Clients

    Streamlining their annual leave management system has major benefits for your clients. These benefits are across the board, whether they’re running a small business with just a few employees or a large, multinational organisation with hundreds of employees.

    Less Time-Consuming

    Your clients are busy and will always be open to ways that they can make time-consuming tasks less so. Your clients need systems that can increase efficiencies and boost productivity, and BrightPay Connect does this in many ways. One example is how it allows employees to apply for leave directly from their employee self-service smartphone or tablet app. The request instantly appears in the HR managers online client dashboard, meaning less time is spent sending emails back and forth or filling out paper-based forms.

    Fewer Errors Made

    Manual leave management systems are often much more vulnerable to errors. This is because employees can easily enter their leave dates incorrectly, or their HR manager can make an error when copying them into the company calendar. It may seem like a silly mistake to make, but when your client has got fifty other things to do and they’re trying to get the task done as quickly as possible, these things can happen.

    This is where a streamlined system like BrightPay Connect can make managing leave infinitely easier and reduce the risk of errors significantly. Connect automatically copies dates across and ensures that everything in the calendar is correct.

    Simpler For Everyone

    Streamlining their annual leave management system makes life easier for your clients and for you. Employers can keep track of who’s on leave and when, employees don’t need to jump through hoops to find out how much leave they have left to take, and for you, the leave is automatically synchronised to the payroll software, without the need for the client to inform you of employee leave information. When communication is made easier, everyone is happier.

    With BrightPay Connect, every element of the leave management process - from the employee requesting leave to the HR manager approving the leave and seeing it automatically appear in the company calendar - is done through online employer and employee portals. To make it even easier again, BrightPay Connect automatically keeps a time-stamped log of all requests and actions for future reference.

    More Cost-Effective

    Every business owner knows that if something is taking them less time, then it's costing them less money, and your clients know this too. By showing them how much more straightforward managing their employee annual leave can be with BrightPay Connect, and how cost-effective BrightPay Connect’s pricing is, they’ll see the cost benefits of making the move and be thrilled that you suggested it to them.

    Book Your Free BrightPay Connect Demo

    If you’re a payroll bureau or accountant and you’d like to offer a value-added service to your clients, then BrightPay Connect is perfect cloud payroll software solution for you.

    Book a free demo with a member of our Connect team today, and let them explain its features in much more detail, answer any questions you may have and talk you through our competitive pricing plan.

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  • Why 2021 will be the year of the employee payroll app Jan 8, 2021

    For most of us, using a mobile phone in the workplace has always been a complete no-no. Like our classrooms at school, phones should be stashed away out of sight while in the office, right? Well, maybe. But that’s rapidly changing thanks to the myriad ways that employers are now using mobile technology to streamline their business, boost employee morale and, ultimately, grow profits.

    Employee apps first started showing up in the naughties but they’ve only really taken off in more recent years. These days there are dozens if not more apps and mobile platforms that employers can use to improve employee engagement (that’s human resource lingo for “make their staff happy and productive”). But these apps can do more than make your business a nicer place to work for your employees. They can improve your payroll processes too.

    How Employee Apps Can Help With Payroll

    Employee apps help when staff are working remotely

    As little as ten years ago remote working was an obscure concept to most people. Today, the majority of the UK’s workforce are now accustomed to working from home, thanks to COVID-19. Even before lockdown, remote working in some form or another was becoming increasingly common.

    Unsurprisingly, this raises some unique challenges for employers and employees alike, and employee apps have been very successful at providing clever solutions to those challenges. In short, employee payroll apps, such as BrightPay Connect, make working from home not only possible but also ensure that payroll for those employees doesn’t suffer or become more complicated as a result.

    Employee apps simplify leave management processes

    One of the most important jobs of a payroll manager is to ensure that payroll and paid/unpaid leave are consistent with each other. This might not be such a big job if the company is small with just a few employees on the payroll, but the larger a business grows and the bigger its team becomes, the more time it takes to ensure that payroll and leave are in sync.

    Employee apps help with this as the leave is recorded on an online calendar, and is automatically synchronised to the payroll software in real-time. This means that the entire process is streamlined, from the employee requesting leave via their mobile app to the payroll updating automatically to reflect that leave.

    Employee apps enable employees to access payroll information easily

    Another benefit of using an employee app is that payroll departments can make payroll information easily available to employees via the app. This means that by simply logging in on their phones, employees can view and download their payslips and keep other important data up-to-date such as their postal addresses or phone number. With BrightPay Connect, employee data is stored safely and securely, ensuring GDPR compliance.

    The BrightPay Connect Mobile App

    BrightPay is one of the leading payroll software products in the market today. It has won awards for Payroll Software of the year in 2018 and 2019 and is compatible with both Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X software. Not only that, but it includes intuitive auto enrolment functionality, supports all RTI submission types and is fully HMRC recognised. But what about the app?

    BrightPay’s employee app is included with BrightPay Connect, a cloud portal add-on to the payroll software. Connect also includes a wide variety of additional features for your business from automated cloud backups to employer dashboards and HR document distribution.

    If you haven’t tried BrightPay Connect yet, simply get in touch to avail of a free demo during which an experienced BrightPay expert will talk you through the various features of the software and the many ways it can benefit your business.

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  • 4 Ways BrightPay Makes Payroll Administration Easier For Beginners Jan 5, 2021

    Professionals new to the payroll industry might well find themselves overwhelmed and a little lost when it comes time to choose which payroll software that they should use. There is such a vast range of options available today, each with different unique selling points. And for a payroll novice, it can be hard to figure out which one is really best for them.

    Believe it or not, BrightPay has been designed and developed with beginners in mind. We’ve built our multi-award winning software to be incredibly intuitive with various alerts and notifications to remind users to do important tasks that they may have forgotten. So, it’s not much of a surprise that so many payroll professionals and accountants who are new to the business have opted to work with BrightPay.

    In this blog, we’ll explain in more detail how BrightPay is uniquely suited to budding payroll professionals and why we believe that our payroll software is the perfect choice for you.

    Why BrightPay Is Perfect For Payroll Beginners

    It’s all very well and good for us to claim to be the right software choice for you and other professionals beginning their careers in payroll, but you’re probably asking yourself - “how?” Here are four ways that BrightPay really does make payroll administration easier for those who are new to the job.

    Outstanding HMRC payments

    As a payroll administrator, you know that you need to make periodic payments to HMRC. However, these payments can potentially slip your mind completely while you’re busy with other day-to-day tasks if you're not careful. BrightPay Connect, our add-on to the payroll software, is perfectly designed to streamline HMRC payments and ensure you never miss one.

    BrightPay Connect protects you from this by reminding you of what payments need to be made, and when. On the top of your dashboard, in large text, so you won't miss it, will appear your outstanding balance with HMRC and the date of your next payment. If the payment date is close, you’ll also receive notification emails reminding you of this.

    If you’re in a bureau and managing payroll for multiple clients, you’ll also enjoy the same benefits of BrightPay Connect. You can view amounts due to HMRC for each of your clients anytime, anywhere, by logging on to your online dashboard. If the client is responsible for making the payment to HMRC, you can invite your client to their own self-service dashboard where they can view the balance outstanding, a full breakdown of the P30, and a full history of payments made to HMRC. You can also set the client up to receive the automated reminder emails of when the HMRC payment is due.

    Auto-enrolment functionality

    Similar to the HMRC payment reminders, BrightPay will also help you to keep on top of your auto-enrolment duties. Once an employee reaches the age of twenty-two or the required earnings threshold, BrightPay will notify you that they must be enrolled into a pension scheme. When enrolled, BrightPay will prepare the auto-enrolment letter for that employee, which can be printed or emailed from within BrightPay, or added to the employee’s self-service portal.

    To complete their enrolment, with some pension schemes you will need to send an enrolment file to the pension provider containing details of the newly enrolled employee. BrightPay will alert you that you have an outstanding enrolment file that needs to be sent, and thanks to our API integration with the most popular pension providers, you can easily do this from within the payroll software in just a few clicks.

    When you have enrolled the employee, going forward you will be reminded to send a contributions file to the pension provider each pay period. Once again, BrightPay’s integration with pension providers makes this a very simple process - even for beginners.

    API Integration with accounting software

    At BrightPay, we don’t just have API integration with pension providers, but with top accounting software packages too. This means that, rather than having to use your payroll software to process payroll and then go into your accounting software to manually enter the payroll journal into your nominal ledgers, you can do both at once from BrightPay.

    We have payroll journal integration with many of the UK’s most popular accounting software, including but not limited to Twinfield, AccountsIQ, Quickbooks and FreeAgent. This integration means that you can send your payroll journal from BrightPay directly to your accounts system without having to manually copy anything from one to the other. It saves time, effort and reduces the risk of errors - ideal for people who are new to payroll.

    Online Resources

    As well as having all of these built-in functions to the payroll software that make it quite difficult to forget your most important tasks, we’ve also published a wealth of online resources to help you.

    On our website you’ll find a wide selection of webinars which can be watched live or on-demand, video tutorials showing you exactly how to use each of the many features of BrightPay, written guides walking you through functionality processes and downloadable ebooks written by experts. We have a comprehensive FAQ section where you’ll find the answers to most of your questions, and a dedicated customer care team who can offer email and phone support to any customers who need that extra bit of help.

    Book Your Free Demo Today

    There you have it - four ways that BrightPay makes payroll administration easier for beginners. If you’re a beginner, why not book your free demo with the BrightPay team today? We will be able to talk to you about your payroll needs, show you how to get set up with BrightPay, walk you through the features of the software and answer any questions that you may have. We can even set you up with a 60-day free trial so that you can test drive the payroll software before you buy. What are you waiting for?

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  • Top Tips for Managing New Hires this Holiday Season Dec 22, 2020

    Tesco is recruiting more than 11,000 temporary workers to cover its busiest time of the year. And they are not alone. Over 16 retailers, including Boots, M&S, John Lewis, and Argos, are all hiring seasonal employees. I am sure some readers are pleasantly surprised that this is the case. There were fears that COVID-19 would destroy the time-honoured tradition of college kids aiming to earn enough cash to cover the holiday period and maybe even bring a present home to family.

    However, for those working in payroll and HR, suddenly having to find the time to hire and pay all these new employees is not quite the cause for celebration.

    With that in mind, here are some tips to help smooth and streamline this process.

    Plan ahead

    To say that October through to the end of December is a frenetic period is an understatement. It helps to establish how many employees you will need and how you will attract and hire them. Build your hiring plan around the numbers and the shifts you will need- many grocery shops will employ a large number of night-time staff. Be sure you understand what rights such employees are entitled to and the number of supervisory roles you will need to manage them.

    As you consider your staffing requirements for this period, now is the time to determine whether you will stay shut over Christmas and New Year’s, or not, which will mean some employees will have to work those days. Make sure you don’t forget to make arrangements with your payroll team for paying those employees on time and the correct amount, given they are working bank holidays.

    Automate where possible

    The time of manual entry is ending. We now have payroll and HR software that offers many benefits of automation. BrightPay payroll software makes managing payroll quick and easy. With BrightPay’s optional add-on, BrightPay Connect, managers can easily submit new starter details to the payroll department, where the new employee is automatically set up on the payroll software. Managers can also upload and submit employee hours through a secure online portal to seamlessly communicate these with the payroll processor.

    Offer mobile application

    People spend a lot of time on their phones- mobile devices account for 77% of all adult online minutes. According to some sources, 88% of UK candidates search for and save jobs via their phones. Be sure to provide a good mobile experience with your application. Far too often, I see companies failing to provide a user-friendly experience on their mobile website.

    Read: 10 surprising benefits of an employee app

    Conduct social recruiting

    While it isn’t time yet to abandon traditional recruiting strategies, it is time to embrace newer methods. This includes advertising on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. All of these platforms offer a company time to showcase their employer brand and company culture and learn more about potential new hires.

    Operating the Christmas pay run

    This year, both Christmas Day and New Year’s Day fall on a Friday. For some employers, this will adversely impact their payroll run dates, and they will have to bring it forward a day or so. If you pay your employees weekly, be sure to account for this in planning both the operations side and if you need to pay employees in advance to cover those days you are closed for business.

    Gifting employees

    Most employers in the private sector give their employees an extra something during the Christmas period. However, whether it is cash, a gift card, or a food hamper, there are specific rules around it. It is incumbent upon each employer to understand them and fulfil any tax obligations accordingly.

    The amount you will report depends on:
    • Cash bonuses - Use the amount you pay to the employee.
    • Goods with no resale value - Use the amount the goods cost you.
    • Goods with cash resale value - Use whichever is the higher of the resale value or the amount the goods cost you.
    Understand employment law

    Even though seasonal workers are temporary, they still need a contract and have employment rights. All temporary workers’ rights are protected by the Agency Workers Regulations (AWR). These regulations give all temporary workers the right to the same pay and working conditions that they would be entitled to as a full-term employee. Temporary workers must pay income tax if earning more than £1,042 a month on average and National Insurance if earning more than £183 a week.

    Remember, employees must receive a written statement of terms and conditions (more commonly known as a contract of employment) on their first day of employment. In the current climate, meeting that day-one deadline could be challenging, especially if you are on leave or not based at the same location as the new employee on their first day. An online employee portal will enable you to upload employment contracts and other employee documents onto the cloud from any location and share it with the employee.

    Benjamin Franklin famously said, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail”. Now is the time to take the necessary steps to ensure that all your employees, whether temporary or permanent, receive the correct pay and that you have the workforce required to manage this traditionally busy period.

    Book a demo of BrightPay Connect today to discover how you can streamline your annual leave management processes.

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  • Payroll predictions for 2021 Dec 18, 2020

    If 2020 has taught us anything it’s that you never know what’s around the corner. This year has been one of the wildest rides in recent history and all the plans and predictions we made for the year fell through our fingers in flakes with the pandemic and global recession.

    So, when I initially sat down to write this, I thought to myself: “HA! How am I supposed to know what’s going to happen next year when I don’t even know what’s happening next week?!” But digging a little deeper I was able to pinpoint three things that are definitely going to happen next year which those working in payroll need to keep an eye on. It’s always good to be prepared!

    1. The end of furlough 

    Yes, yes, it was due to end in October 2020 but has now been extended to 31 March 2021. The re-instated Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will give employees on leave 80% of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500. The scheme is due to be reviewed in January so let’s see what happens. Whatever does happen you can rest assured that BrightPay will update theirpayroll software so that it can quickly and easy calculate any new claims, as they have been doing throughout the pandemic. BrightPay have even won an award for being COVID Heroes as a result of how they have helped their customers with all things furlough.

    2. IR35 will go ahead as planned in 2021 

    Back in July, an amendment to the Finance Bill, which would have delayed the controversial reforms until 2023/24, was defeated in Parliament. Already delayed once from April 2020 due to coronavirus, the new IR35 rules shift the responsibility for determining the tax status of a contractor from the worker to the organisation. 

    You would think that with, oh I dunno, millions out of work, a global pandemic and the worst recession of our generation, the government might give workers a wee break but no no, we should know better than that! Workers are already being affected by the upcoming IR35 rules, especially contractors and freelancers who have already been battered by Coronavirus. Basically, this is one to keep a very close eye on and hopefully, there will be more clarity from the courts that will protect workers’ rights and not adversely affect employment. 

    BrightPay will be able to cater for all the complexities of IR35, streamlining the processing and helping you comply.

    3. Increase in taxes

    Ok, this one is not solid fact; rather, it’s word on the street, talk around the watercooler, conjecture grounded in logic. The government has, as of 20th September, paid out £39.3 billion to support those on furlough alone. This money has not been sitting in a piggy bank in Downing Street somewhere labelled “in case of emergencies”. Oh no, this has been begged and borrowed from who knows where. (Magician Rishi Sunak is so talented he can make billions of pounds appear from nowhere and make millions of jobs disappear at the same time!) Regardless of where it came from, it’s definitely not free. This money will need to be paid back and I would bet my left butt cheek that it won’t be recouped via corporation tax but from our pay packets. 

    So, I predict that in 2021, we the people will see an increase in our income tax and NI contributions to fill the void. Should this happen, BrightPay will ensure that they will update theireasy-to-use payroll softwareso, users can process payroll accordingly.

    This last prediction I make with my fingers and toes crossed whilst burning sage, covering all the mirrors on my house and rubbing my lucky rabbit’s foot: 2021 will no doubt be better than 2020 - it has to be… right?!!

    Book a demo of BrightPay today to make sure that you are prepared for any payroll changes that 2021 throws our way.

    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
    BrightPay Payroll Software


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  • Brexit deadline - how your small business will be affected Dec 16, 2020

    So, it’s finally here. 16 days from now the transition period will end and the UK will no longer be part of the EU. As there are still so many unknowns, especially as we seem to be leaving without a deal (cheers, Boris) it’s difficult to tell what life will be like for businesses after the 31st of December. But one thing's for sure, your business will definitely be impacted. Here are some of the main areas that will affect you as a small business.

    Import and export
    - Currently, 100% of EU-UK trade is tariff-free. Yeah, say goodbye to this. Should the UK leave with no deal (which is looking more and more likely) the UK will be subject to “third country” trading status. However, this status still needs to be applied for and approved by the EU. The importer will need to pay tax and duty on any goods and these extra costs are likely to be passed onto the consumer.

    Supply chains
    - The impact on your supply chain will, again, be subject to the nature of the UK’s future trading relationship with the EU. What we do know is that a no-deal scenario would be deeply disruptive for those who trade with the EU. But even businesses who don’t are likely to see a knock-on effect to their own supply chains as demand shifts and increases. This could, however, be great news for UK based distributors!

    Your customers - Yes, the bread and butter of any business; our reasons for getting up in the morning. Unfortunately, as mentioned previously, your customers will likely have to absorb some of the costs that will come with tariffs, currency fluctuations and such and the disruption to customs are likely to lead to delays and further price changes.

    VAT - There are three key areas that are most likely to affect businesses:
    1. The government will introduce postponed accounting which means businesses will be able to account for import VAT on their VAT return, rather than paying import VAT on or soon after the time that the goods arrive at the UK border.

    2. UK businesses will still be able to zero-rate sales of goods to EU businesses but won’t have to complete a sales list. However, evidence of sales still needs to be kept.

    3. Distance selling arrangements will no longer apply when selling to EU customers and UK businesses will be able to zero-rate sales of goods to EU customers.
    Your employees - Britain, it’s a melting pot of ethnicities and chances are not all of your employees are from the UK. You yourself might not even be British! So if your staff are from the European Economic Area (EEA) then naturally a no-deal Brexit is a worry. Basically, regardless of the future trading relationship, EEA nationals need to apply for settled status, along with their families under the EU Settlement Scheme. (Unless you are lucky enough to be Irish like me, then you don't need leave to stay). The deadline for this was 30th June 2021 but in the case of a no-deal Brexit then this needs to be done by December 31st. So this is a really good time to check in with your staff to make sure they have applied should they need to.

    So yes, Happy Holidays one and all right? Jeez. Let’s hope we all have an absolutely cracking Christmas to make up for the impending omnishambles. However, if you are really panicking then the GOV.UK website has comprehensive guides on their website on all the points listed above that go into much further detail. And if that fails, I find getting really drunk helps to forget everything. Merry Christmas everyone!

    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
    BrightPay Payroll Software



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  • Is Bringing Payroll In-House Really Worth It? Dec 11, 2020

    Outsourcing payroll to a payroll bureau is common practice. This may be because companies don’t have the resources to manage it themselves, or aren’t trained in payroll management and perhaps don’t have the time to upskill. However, new payroll software advances have made managing payroll simple, even for people who have never worked in payroll before. And BrightPay is the perfect example of this.

    On the other hand, there’s no denying that outsourcing payroll to a bureau comes with its own set of benefits. So, how should a business decide between the two options? Well, of course, this comes down to the business in question, its available resources and what the businesses priorities are.

    What Are The Benefits of Bringing Payroll In-House?

    Every business is different and every bureau (and their offering) is too. As such, it’s impossible to say whether in-house or outsourced payroll is best in general terms. Instead, employers really need to think carefully about the benefits of each to weigh up their options before coming to the best decision for their business. Below is a breakdown of the potential benefits of bringing outsourced payroll in-house.

    1. It Can Save Time

    Sometimes, when you’re outsourcing your payroll to a bureau, time can be wasted on inevitable delays. Bureaus are usually juggling dozens of clients at a time which means your payroll isn’t their top priority, no matter how good their client services are. By bringing your payroll in-house, your payroll will, of course, be the only priority and you won’t need to contend with others for your bureau’s time and attention. This means that the entire process can sometimes be much faster from start to finish.

    2. It Can Be More Cost-Effective

    Any business owner who outsources their payroll, or any other aspect of their business for that matter, knows too well the costs associated with such services. Bringing your payroll in-house with BrightPay could likely save money thanks to BrightPay’s competitive pricing. From micro employers with just three employees to large employers with an unlimited cap on employees, our varied pricing structure means you can choose the package that suits your needs best without spending any more than you need to.

    In saying that, your bureau may offer exceptional value for money. It’s really a case of comparing the costs and the value of each option in order to decide which is best for your business.

    3. It Might Reduce Errors

    Similar to how bringing payroll in-house can save time, it might also reduce the risk of errors in your businesses payroll. Rather than having to pass information over to your bureau for the pay period, where it can get lost in email inboxes or confused/misread in some way, you have access to all of the information that you need and don’t need to worry about it being misinterpreted. Instead, you have full control over your payroll and can make changes instantly if, for example, an employee is out sick.

    4. It Makes Payroll Customisable

    If you’re outsourcing your payroll to a bureau, you have little or no say what software products they use to manage it. If you bring your payroll in-house, you can choose what software you’ll use (although more and more bureaus across Ireland and the UK are now using BrightPay). With BrightPay, you have countless options to customize your payroll so that every aspect of the process is catered to your business's unique needs. This customisation will save time, effort and make payroll administration simple.

    5. Greater Control Over Data Protection

    Protecting your employee data has never been more important than it is today. Since the GDPR came into effect, businesses have been required to follow strict rules and regulations when it comes to collecting and storing data. By bringing your payroll in-house, you maintain greater control over this data and how it is stored, as opposed to sharing it with a bureau whose data protection policies you cannot influence or regulate.

    6. It May Reduce Stress

    Overall, managing payroll in-house can be an altogether less stressful process. When you’re managing your own payroll, you’re in control of every aspect of it. You don’t need to chase anyone up for updates or respond to emails requesting information. With BrightPay, you also have the added advantage of access to our expert customer support team who are available to provide support via phone calls, demos or email. Excellence in customer service is guaranteed, so you're never on your own.

    Conversely, there are many cases where outsourcing payroll is the least stressful option as businesses can rest assured that the task is being taken care of by experts. This may well be the case for your business too.

    Find Out More And Book A Free Demo Today

    If you’re a business owner who is considering bringing your payroll in-house for the reasons listed above, why not book a free BrightPay demo today? A member of our highly trained sales team will be able to walk you through the features and outline the process of moving your payroll in-house with BrightPay. They can then get you set up with a 60-day free trial so you can try it out for yourself and discover just how easy in-house payroll can be, without spending a penny.

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  • Third self-employment support grant - who is eligible and how do I apply? Dec 8, 2020

    Guys, we did it. We made it through the second (and hopefully last) lockdown. I don’t know about you but this time round there was not a banana bread or yoga mat in sight in my house. I just tried to make it through as best I could by watching reruns of Come Dine With Me and stuffing my face with leftover Halloween sweets. So I think we all deserve a big collective clap on the back. To make the deal even sweeter, last week the third round of the Self Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) opened up!

    The SEISS, as we all know by now, allows self-employed people whose business has been affected by the pandemic to claim money from the government. The third round is like an early Christmas present as previously the scheme was supposed to end back in October. More good news is that you can apply for this round even if you didn’t apply for the first or second ones.

    However, to be eligible for the third grant your business must have had a new or continuing impact from COVID-19 between November 2020 and January 2021 which was detrimental and caused a significant reduction to your trading profits. Businesses must also declare that they were either previously trading but are no longer able to do so because of the pandemic, or that they will continue to trade.

    Some other eligibility criteria include:
    • You must earn more than half your total income from self-employment.
    • You must earn less than £50,000 a year.
    • You must have traded in both tax years 2018/19 and 2019/20 and submitted your self-assessment tax return before April 23rd 2020.
    • You must be a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. You cannot claim if you trade through a limited company or a trust.
    There are certain things that may affect your eligibility which are also important to be mindful of:
    • If your tax return is late, amended or under enquiry.
    • If you’ve had a new child.
    • If you have loans covered by the loan charge.
    • If you claim averaging relief.
    • If you're non-resident or chose the remittance basis.
    Originally supposed to only cover 40%, the grant is now worth 80% of your average monthly trading profits after a change of heart by The Grinch Chancellor. The maximum amount that can be received is £7,500 which covers a three month period from November to January. It does not need to be paid back, provided you are eligible but will be subject to income tax and National Insurance. It must also be reported on your 2020-21 self-assessment tax return.

    To claim your moolah head over to the HMRC website. The claim must be made by January 29th 2021. You’ll need the usual stuff to make the claim such as your Unique Taxpayer Reference number (UTR), your NI number, Government Gateway details and your bank account details. Et voila! Hopefully, the process will be nice and straightforward for you.

    Word on the grapevine is that there will be a fourth grant that will cover February to April next year but details haven’t been announced yet. In any case, let’s hope this third round will be enough to keep businesses afloat, mince pies on the table and beers in the fridge - for Christmas at least.


    Written by Aoibheann Byrne

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  • The Best Way To Improve Your Annual Leave Process Dec 3, 2020

    Annual leave management is an important role within human resources. It goes without saying that the larger the business, the more time must be spent on dealing with annual leave requests, updating company calendars, and ensuring that any leave is reflected in the payroll for the current pay period. This can, at times, be tedious. This is especially true if you’re managing annual leave with an outdated system in place.

    However, mistakes made in the management of annual leave can have major consequences. For example:
    • Allowing too many employees to take leave at once may mean that you’re left short and have too little staff available to work as normal.
    • Asking employees to change their leave dates after they have been approved can also cause frustration with employees who may have already made travel arrangements etc.
    • Discovering that an employee wasn’t paid for their annual leave can cause resentment and anger, which ultimately leads to unhappy employees and lower productivity.

    Manage Your Annual Leave With BrightPay Connect

    So, it’s safe to say that making sure that your annual leave is managed well is crucial to a growing business. But to do this effectively and efficiently, you need an annual leave system that works.

    What Is BrightPay Connect?

    BrightPay Connect is a cloud portal add-on to our multi-award-winning payroll software. Connect combines clever payroll features with industry-leading human resources functionality to create a holistic tool for every business. Its features include (but aren’t limited to):
    • An employee self-service smartphone and tablet app which is free to download on all iOS and Android devices.
    • An employer dashboard that acts as a central hub for all business payroll and HR processes.
    • Automatic cloud backup of payroll data which improves data protection and GDPR compliance.
    • A “payroll entry and approval” feature which allows payroll bureaus and accountants to send draft versions of the payroll to their client for approval or changes.
    • A document upload and storage facility which makes remote working easier and more seamless than ever.

    How Does It Work For Annual Leave Management?

    One of the best, most useful tools of BrightPay Connect for HR managers is the annual leave management feature. This feature streamlines leave management so that it takes less time, requires less effort and is less prone to errors. And it couldn't be more simple to use. Here’s how it works.

    An employee can apply for annual leave directly from their smartphone or tablet, using their employee app. Once they’ve sent the request, it instantly appears in the online dashboard of their line manager or HR manager. Within the online leave calendar, the relevant manager can see who else is on leave for those dates, and can either approve or reject the request. If they approve it, the company calendar instantly updates to reflect the leave. Either way, the employee receives an instant notification on their app.

    What’s more, BrightPay Connect keeps a time-stamped log of any leave requests and approvals or rejections. This is particularly useful when multiple managers are managing leave for their departments where there could be confusion over who approved/rejected which requests.


    Book Your Free BrightPay Connect Demo

    If you’re interested in improving your annual leave process and streamlining your human resources management, book your free BrightPay Connect demo today. A member of our team will be happy to talk to you in more detail about the ways that Connect can modernise your business and answer any questions you may have.

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  • SEISS: A ray of hope for excluded new starter self-employed Nov 26, 2020

    At the beginning of lockdown the best bit of news anyone received, after mounting job uncertainty, was the introduction of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, (or furlough scheme to the layman). The scheme was praised by many (myself included, and I am not easily impressed - ask my boyfriend) and helped to keep millions of people in work with food on the table. But there were a substantial group of people (over 3 million) who were as left out and forgotten about as me at a school disco, who have become known as the Excluded.

    Besides sounding like a gnarly death-metal band, the Excluded are made up of freelancers, new starters, job changers, limited company directors and more. These people were not eligible for the furlough scheme and have therefore fallen through the cracks, living off savings, or very little income, for the past 8 months.

    The furlough scheme was supposed to end last month and we all got a taste of what it’s been like for the Excluded as our safety net was threatened to be pulled from underfoot. But now that the furlough scheme has been extended, surely it would have tried to take everyone into account. Right?? Well, the short answer is: no, not really. But there is, as Martin Lewis of MoneySaving Expert pointed out in his most recent post, a glimmer of hope for at least one category of the Excluded - the new starter self-employed.

    Do tell me more...So basically, up until now there have been three self-employment grants that have paid 80% of monthly trading profits for 3 months, up to a total of £7,500. The latest one will be released on November 30th to cover the period from November to January 2021. To have been eligible for this grant you needed to meet the following criteria:
    • Average trading profits of £50,000 a year.
    • Over 50% of your income from self-employment
    • To have filed a self-employment return for the 2018/19 tax year.
    The last two clauses have been the problem for those who have only set up shop in the past few years and anyone who started their self-employment after 2018/19 are outright excluded from the scheme. But in reality, if you need to earn 50% of your income from self-employment then you would have had to be trading somewhere before October 2018 to qualify for the scheme. This is over 2 years ago when no one had even heard of the words “coronavirus” or “furlough”.

    So where is this good news we were promised? Well, the good news is there may be wriggle room under the extended furlough scheme. Basically, the tax filed for 2019/20 will be completed by the time the fourth grant will come around. This grant will cover February to April 2021 and the deadline for tax returns for 2019/20 is January 31st 2021. This means that when the fourth grant launches, HMRC will have people’s tax data on their self-employment earnings for the year up until April 2020. And earning will only have been affected by a couple weeks of lockdown.

    So while it’s not a solution for all those that have been excluded, it is definitely a start. And while it will not cover the 8 months with no money coming in, it is a start. I’m trying to be positive here people! The most important thing to do if this does affect you is to file your tax returns on time, stay hydrated and keep on keeping on.

    Free Webinar: The Original Furlough Scheme is back

    BrightPay are hosting a free furlough webinar where they deep-dive into what you need to know about the extension of the CJRS and what it now means for businesses. Places are limited - click here to book now.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
    BrightPay Payroll Software


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  • How to claim up to £125 from HMRC if you’ve been working from home Nov 23, 2020

    It’s rare that we get good news nowadays. The last time I felt overjoyed by anything was when McDonald’s opened their doors again. Three months, lots of HMRC payroll updates and 10lbs later, the joy has subsided. But recently we were gifted with some brilliant news: if you have been required to work from home due to COVID-19 then you can now claim up to £125 back in expenses! Woohoo!

    Yes, HMRC recently launched a new tool to help those working from home claim back additional expenses and I will tell you how to access this sweet sweet coin. But first of all, why this sudden generosity?? Well, put simply, it is tax relief for any additional household costs incurred if you have to work from home on a regular basis, either for all or part of the week. This could include extra electricity, heating, using more broadband to metered water bills or making business calls on your house phone or mobile. Things that would normally be covered by your workplace during working hours.

    According to HMRC, employees can claim tax relief for this based on the rate of tax they pay. How much can you get? You can claim tax relief on one of two options:
    1. £6 a week from April 6, 2020. If you started working from home sooner than this, say, back in March, then it’s £4 a week from then until April 6 and you will not need to keep evidence of extra costs.
    2. Alternatively you can claim the exact amount of costs you’ve incurred above the weekly amount but you will need evidence for these claims such as receipts, bills etc.
    Those who pay the standard 20% rate of tax can claim £1.20 per week (tax relief on £6 a week) and those who pay the higher rate of 40% can claim £2.40 a week. If you’re lucky/unlucky enough (whichever way you want to look at it!) to pay 45% standard tax rate then you can claim £2.70 a week.

    Excellent!! How do I see if I’m eligible? Well HMRC have kindly put together a handy online tool which you can find on their website. It will ask you a couple of very simple questions and tell you at the end if you can claim or not. If you can, then it is literally a click of a button to submit your claim. If approved, your online portal will adjust your tax code for the 2020-21 tax year and then it’s show me the money baby!

    You may wonder why I’m getting so excited about £125 but realistically, in this current economic climate, that’s a windfall. And it’s practically free! That could easily pay for a weekend away, a small tv for the spare room, or 21 Big Mac Meals!

    Don’t forget, as an employer you are also entitled to claim back furlough payments if you qualify. To make sure that you are correctly claiming, calculating and reporting any furlough payments in your payroll software join our next webinar on Tuesday 8th December: Important HMRC Update: The Original Furlough Scheme is back

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
    BrightPay Payroll Software



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  • BrightPay Payroll Software Holds Onto 99% Customer Satisfaction Rating Nov 18, 2020

    At BrightPay, we take customer satisfaction very seriously. We know that when you purchase your license and use BrightPay, we need to provide more than just great payroll software. Our customer support is absolutely fundamental to our success and to the growth of BrightPay in the UK. It's why so many of you have moved from other payroll software providers to BrightPay. And it’s why our customer satisfaction rating remains one of the highest in the industry.

    However, this doesn’t mean we can become complacent when it comes to keeping our customers happy. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, we carry out customer surveys regularly to make sure our customers are satisfied with both the payroll software and its many features, and our customer support team.

    In addition to keeping us informed as to how satisfied our customers are with our customer support, these surveys also provide invaluable information regarding what features of BrightPay you’re enjoying most, which features need a little fine-tuning, and which features you’d like us to introduce next. In short - our customer satisfaction surveys drive the direction of BrightPay and as such, they’re one of the most important things we do.

    We’re proud to say that according to our most recent survey, BrightPay continues to enjoy a 99.6% customer satisfaction rating.

    What Our Customers Are Saying


    In our latest survey, we asked a range of questions focusing on everything from how BrightPay payroll software handled COVID-19 schemes to our payroll and accounting API integrations with top UK accounting firms. Here’s what you said.

    Customer Support

    We wanted to know how helpful our customers find our customer services resources, which include phone and email support as well as online help documentation and video tutorials. When asked, respondents said that 97.4% were satisfied with our telephone support, 98.2% were satisfied with our email support, 98.1% were satisfied with our online help documentation and 99.2% were satisfied with our video tutorials.

    BrightPay API Integrations

    Our API integrations are some of the newest features to the payroll software. They allow payroll administrators to send payroll data to both pension providers and accounting software directly from within BrightPay, saving time and effort during the payroll process. When we asked our customers how happy they were with these integrations, 9 out of 10 said these integrations were either excellent, very good or good.

    Batch Processing For Bureaus

    Many BrightPay customers are payroll bureaus who have to process payroll for dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of businesses at a time. For these customers we developed our batching payroll processing functionality which allows them to process payroll for multiple clients at a time. When we asked these customers how happy they were with this feature, 97.7% said that they thought it was either excellent, very good or good.

    What Are You Waiting For? Book Your Free Demo Today.

    If you’re as impressed with these results as we are, then why not book your free demo today and let one of our BrightPay experts show you why our customers are so happy. We will walk you through the payroll software, its many standout payroll features and explain to you the simple process of moving over from another payroll software provider. Book your demo today and discover why BrightPay customers are so happy.

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  • Outdated Payroll Is Holding Your Business Back Nov 12, 2020

    Payroll is the life-blood of any business. Employees expect, and rightly so, to be paid accurately and on time, every single time. If your staff are having consistent issues with their payslips, it’s only a matter of time before it begins to affect employee satisfaction, productivity and, ultimately, the health of your business. At the same time, employers want to spend as little time as possible processing the payroll each pay period, so that they can free up their valuable time to concentrate on growing their business. This is why having good payroll software that maximizes effectiveness and efficiency is crucial to your business.

    What happens when your payroll isn’t doing this? Outdated payroll can have a number of negative consequences on all areas of your business. You may be spending much more money than is necessary on a long, drawn out payroll process, which is eating into your profits. Your employees could be disgruntled by late pay, errors in their pay etc, which can affect their work significantly. Your payroll process could be taking much longer each pay period than it needs to, diverting important resources from other areas of the business. Or it could simply be more complicated than it should be, causing frustration and aggravation.

    The one thing that all of these potential scenarios have in common is that, rather than help your business to grow, payroll can potentially hold your business back.

    Modernise And Streamline Your Outdated Payroll With BrightPay Connect.

    Here’s the good news. It’s never been easier to modernise and streamline your outdated payroll system than it is today, thanks to BrightPay Connect. Connect is an add-on to our payroll software which was specifically designed with businesses just like yours in mind. Our developers have created it to make modernisation easy and streamlining simple. Here’s how.

    Automation

    BrightPay Connect uses the latest in automation technology to create a payroll process that makes sense. These automations have been built into every area of Connect, from payslip distribution to managing employee leave. For example, you'll receive automatic reminders of outstanding payments to HMRC and employee leave requests made from the employee self-service app will automatically appear on the relevant managers Connect dashboard on their PC. These automations cut down on the time you need to spend on everyday tasks and increase efficiency across the board.

    Employer Dashboard

    With BrightPay Connect, you’ll have access to an employer dashboard. From here, you can see when your next payment to HMRC is due, you can upload documents to the cloud and choose who can or cannot access them via the employee self-service portal, you can see all upcoming and pending employee leave on a company calendar and much more. This dashboard acts as your cloud-based central hub for all of your payroll and HR processes.

    Employee Self-Service

    One of the best ways that BrightPay Connect can modernise your payroll is through its employee self-service smartphone and tablet app. The app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, is free to download and can be used anywhere. From their app, employees can apply for leave, view their personal data, view and download HR documents, access and download payslips, and view their historical payslip archive - all directly from their smartphone or tablet.

    Book Your Free Demo Today

    If you’re an employer or payroll administrator trying to find ways to modernise and streamline an outdated payroll system, then look no further. Book your free BrightPay Connect demo today and a member of our team will be able to answer your questions, explain the benefits of using BrightPay Connect in more detail and show you how it maximizes effectiveness and efficiency so that you can concentrate on growing your business.

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