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  • Everything you need to know about the 5th SEISS grant Jul 28, 2021 at 9:59 AM

    If you told me this time last year that I would still be banging on about furlough and SEISS grants then I would’ve scoffed at you from the safety of my disinfected from top to toe apartment. But here we are, a year later and not only is coronavirus still knocking about, but, thankfully the grants and schemes aimed to help workers and businesses affected by it are too.

    I have spoken numerous times about how the self-employed have been some of the hardest hit by the pandemic and luckily the government introduced the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS) last year to help them out. Since the scheme launched, more than £25 billion has been paid out to nearly 3 million people.

    We are now on the fifth round of grants under the SEISS, and hopefully the last! So HMRC have kindly updated its guidance on eligibility for those hoping to claim this time around.

    First things first, your business, and therefore profits, must have been impacted by coronavirus between May 1st 2021 and September 30th 2021 and you must intend to keep trading in 2021 to 2022. You will need to meet the following criteria to avail of the grant:
    • You must be self-employed or a member of a partnership.
    • You must have traded in both tax years 2019/20 and 2020/21.
    • You cannot claim if you trade through a limited company or trust.
    • You must have submitted your 2019/20 tax return on or before the 2nd of March 2021.
    • Your trading profits must not exceed £50,000.
    • You must have trading profit at least equal to your non-trading income (non- trading income is any money that you make outside of your business. For example, if you also have a part-time job or pension).
    Are there any other circumstances that might affect a claim? I’m glad you asked because yes, yes there is!
    • If your return is late, amended or under equity.
    • If you’re a member of a partnership.
    • If you’ve had a new child.
    • If you have loans covered by the loan charge provisions.
    • If you claim averaging relief.
    • If you’re a military reservist.
    • Or if you’re a non-resident or chose the remittance basis.
    Your claim will not be affected if you claim Maternity Allowance.

    So now that that’s sorted and you’re ready to go, how do you claim? The fifth round is a little different from previous grants because when making your claim you will need to tell HMRC about your business turnover (including takings, fees and sales or money received by your business) so that they can work out your grant amount. You’ll need your turnover figures from:
    • Between April 2020 and April 2021, and
    • Either 2019/20 or 2018/19
    Essentially you will need two turnover figures in total. HMRC will compare those figures to work out how much grant you will receive. Click here to find out more on how to calculate the turnover figures.

    And with that let’s hope this is the last time we need to hear about SEISS as (fingers crossed) things will soon be back to normal, whatever that means now!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • The solution to reducing overhead costs for new businesses Jul 22, 2021

    According to survey statistics from Statista.com, in 2020 there were 811,000 self-employed people in the UK, the highest number in any industry. And as I’m sure those of us who are self-employed can attest, money can be tight until you get your business off the ground. With the average time it takes for a new business to start turning a profit being two to three years, many entrepreneurs are looking for ways to keep overheads as low as possible during this period.

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    How can my I reduce my overheads?

    Overheads are the expenses related to the running of your business, not including the costs related to production of the product or service you provide. Examples of overheads can include accounting fees, rent, advertising, utilities, labour, insurance etc.

    Reducing some of these costs can be easier said than done and it can be hard to decide which overheads to cut down on. One way of cutting down on overhead costs without having to compromise your business functions is by reducing your accounting fees. Having an accountant to offer business advice and ensure you make good financial decisions can be invaluable, especially when first setting up. However, if you have your accountant takes care of payroll for you, this is one task that you can bring in-house to reduce costs.

    You may be paying a monthly fee for your accountant to process your payroll. Running payroll yourself using a payroll software is one way of turning this monthly fee into a flat rate you pay each tax year, saving your business a lot of money.

    BrightPay is a payroll software which offerslicences to suit every type of business:
    • For employers with up to 3 employees: £49 a year
    • For employers with up to 10 employees: £99 a year
    • For employers with up to 25 employees: £149 a year
    • For employers with 25+ employees: £149 a year
    *Prices are per tax year, excluding VAT

    What are the benefits of running payroll yourself?

    As well as cost savings there are other benefits which come with running your payroll in-house, including:

    Control & flexibility over your payroll

    When you manage your payroll in-house, you have complete control over payroll scheduling and the payroll can be easily amended to account for any last-minute changes such as a forgotten sick day, new starter information or adding overtime or bonus information. In contrast to this, if you need to ask your accountant to amend or add payroll information for you it can take time for the adjustment to be made and there may also be a fee for the last-minute addition or change.

    BrightPay payroll software makes it easy for payroll processers to amend employees’ pay details, should the need arise. Even if the payslips have been already finalised, BrightPay makes it easy to reopen the payslips and make any corrections.

    Another feature of BrightPay is thatemployees can be paid directly through the software, in as little as 90 seconds. Payments are processed 24/7, 365 days a year. This means that unlike when your payroll is processed by a third party, changes to the payroll can be made up to or on payday and employees can still be paid on time, every time. Please note that a Modulr account is needed to make use of this function.

    Control over payroll reporting

    Outsourcing your payroll means that you don’t have direct control of the payroll processing of data. Simple tasks such as accessing a payroll report is not instant, making it difficult for a business to get information they might need at a moment's notice.

    One of the biggest advantages of in-house processing is instant access and control over your payroll and the reports you generate. When processing payroll in-house, you have instant access to your data. If you have a question about the payroll, you can quickly and easily find answers to your questions, instead of going through the third-party provider.

    Through BrightPay you have the ability to produce payroll reports and detailed analysis that can be customised to exactly what you need.

    The option to add HR functions

    When you use BrightPay to run payroll, you have the option of integrating the payroll software with a self-service employee portal that can help streamline HR tasks. BrightPay Connect is a cloud add-on to BrightPay Payroll software. You only pay for what you use and will never pay more than £0.42 per employee per month. BrightPay Connect allows users to back-up payroll data to the cloud, meaning your payroll data is safe and secure, and payroll data can be restored should you lose access to your computer.

    Other features of the employee cloud portalinclude:
    • Share payslips with employees instantly
    • Annual leave management made easy
    • Allow multiple users to access payroll data
    • Share important documents with employees
    When you feel you have mastered payroll, you can then look into bringing other accounting functions in-house. BrightPay has direct API integration with a number of accounting packages, making the move as easy as possible for you.

    To find out more about the benefits of BrightPay and BrightPay Connect, book a free online demo today.

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  • Re-enrolment and encouraging pension sign-up Jul 19, 2021

    Traditionally, encouraging employees to enrol in pension schemes has always been a difficult task. Such was the lack of uptake into private pension schemes, that the government was required to introduce pension reforms, through the Pensions Act 2008. Worried about the lack of retirement savings, increasing life expectancy, and the long-term repercussions that this would have on the State Benefits system, the law requires all employers to offerworkplace pension schemes and to automatically enrol eligible workers into the scheme.

    Since its phasing began in 2012, auto-enrolment has had a significant impact on the amount of people saving for retirement. In 2019, 62% of employees in the private sector had some form of workplace pension provider, up from 47% in 2017. However, employees opting-out of the scheme remains a challenge. There was a slight increase in 2019 of employees making the active decision to stop saving, with young employees more likely to choose to opt out of a workplace pension scheme. This was likely as a result of the statutory minimum employee pension contribution increasing from 3% to 5% in April of 2019.

    When is the best time to encourage enrolment?

    Re-enrolment can be a great opportunity to engage with these employees. Re-enrolment requires employers to assess their employees’ eligibility and re-enrol them into a pension scheme every three years. To encourage employees to enrol in the workplace pension scheme, consider:

    1. Their financial education: A lack of understanding of pensions and financial planning is impacting employees’ decisions to save for retirement and to understand how much they should contribute each month. You cannot assume people know how to calculate their forecasted earnings or decide how much they’ll need to save for a comfortable pension without sacrificing too much now. To address this issue, employers can provide employees the opportunity to hear from and speak to pension providers and financial advisors.

    2. Highlight the employer contribution: When onboarding new employees or when re-enrolling employees into the scheme, emphasise the contribution the business is making to their pension. Explain how this contribution could make the difference between a good lifestyle in retirement and merely ‘getting by’.

    3. Use technology: Online webinars and tutorials can be an effective method of making pensions more easily understood. An online employer and employee portal can also offer significant help with this. With such a portal, an employer can send pension information directly to an employee's phone and alert them to it using a push notification, which is 7 times more likely to be opened than an email.

    4. Commit in advance: In the bestselling book, Nudge, the authors describe a program called Save More Tomorrow. It requires participants to commit themselves in advance, to a series of contribution increases which coincide with their pay increases. By committing in advance, employees never see their pay cheque go down and as such don’t view their increased retirement contributions as a loss.
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    Remember, employers must not actively encourage their staff to opt out of their workplace pension. Any decision to opt out must be taken freely by the staff member without influence from the employer.

    While repetition of the facts and clear communication can help persuade reluctant savers of the benefits of saving for the future, employers will also need to consider how much time they are spending on assessment and enrolment. BrightPaypayroll software includes full auto-enrolment functionality at no additional cost. The payroll software automatically assesses employees for eligibility in the background each pay period, notifies you of auto enrolment duties that need to be performed, and prepares the employee’s enrolment letters which are personalised depending on the employee’s circumstances. BrightPay is also integrated with numerous pension schemes and enables you to batch enrol multiple employees into a pension scheme at the same time.

    To learn more about auto-enrolment and how BrightPay Payroll can save you time,book a free demo today.

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  • Is your payslip distribution GDPR compliant? Jul 13, 2021

    By law, employers must provide employees with payslips which include personal data such as proof of earnings, tax paid and any pension contributions. It is advisable that businesses take steps to protect and securely send this payslip information.

    Posting Payslips
    There is nothing in the GDPR legislation that states it is no longer permissible to post payslips. Payroll data processors who post payslips will need to ensure that all appropriate security measures are in place to protect the payslip. For example, you may use security payslip envelopes, marking the envelope as ‘Private and Confidential’ and ensuring that it is addressed to a specific person. In some cases, you may decide to use registered post.

    Emailing Payslips
    Likewise, the GDPR legislation does not expressly state that it's no longer acceptable to email payslips. However, data processors should take steps to securely protect each employee’s payslip. It is recommended that payslips are password protected with a password that is uniquely chosen by the employee and sent directly to the employee’s chosen email address.

    Where a generic and identical password is used for all employees, this could be considered a breach of GDPR. In this scenario, the employer could be seen as not taking sufficient steps to offer the most secure environment to protect employee’s personal payroll information.

    Remote Self-Service Access
    The GDPR legislation includes a best practice recommendation for businesses to provide individuals with a secure self-service platform offering remote access to their personal information. For maximum security, it is recommended (but not mandatory) to offer a secure self-service portal to securely send and store payslips and other sensitive payroll documents. On a self-service system, such as BrightPay Connect, employees can remotely access payroll information including payslips, contact details, annual leave entitlements, and employee documents such as employee contracts and handbooks. Accessing payslips and personal contact details through a remote access secure system will provide flexibility and full transparency for employees to retrieve and update their information at any time.

    Interested in learning more?
    BrightPay Connect is the optional cloud add-on to BrightPay’spayroll software. If you would like to learn more about how BrightPay Connect can help your business stay GDPR compliant while improving your payroll processing workflows, book a free BrightPay Connect Demo today.

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  • Flexible Working after COVID: Why an Employee App is your Secret Weapon Jul 8, 2021

    Recent research published in March 2021 by the Government-backed Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and jobs website Indeed showed that when a job advertisement was posted which offered flexible working, applications for those posts went up by 30% compared to posts which didn’t offer it.

    Because of COVID-19, more of us than ever before are working flexibly. Flexible working can include:
    • working from home
    • having flexible starting and finishing times
    • job-sharing
    • hybrid working (working part-time from home and part-time in the office)
    Flexible working has been normalised and employees have a legal right to request flexible working hours. Employers can only refuse a request if they have a good business reason for doing so. Since the start of the pandemic, employees have noticed the advantages remote working can have. A better work/life balance and no longer having to commute are two of the main ways employees have benefited from remote working. Employers have reaped the rewards too as 57% of remote workers admitted to being more productive while working from home. Now that employees have gotten a taste of remote working, surveys have found that 92% of employees expect to be able to work from home for at least one day per week, after the pandemic.

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    While flexible working has many advantages, it can uncover new challenges for employers. It is always easier to manage staff when they are all in the one place, at the one time. However, thanks to technology it is now easier to manage staff while they are working from different locations and on different schedules.

    BrightPay Connect is a cloud add-on to BrightPay’spayroll software that helps employers manage staff who are working flexibly. The BrightPay Connectself-service employee appallows users to perform a number of tasks anytime, anywhere, using their smartphone or tablet device

    6 Steps to managing flexible employees

    1. Share flexible working terms with employees

    A Flexible Working Policy should be shared amongst A employees. The policy should contain information on the employees’ right to flexible working, how an employee goes about submitting a flexible working request and the actions which can be taken if that request is denied. This document is best shared on a cloud-based employee portal such as BrightPay Connect. Sharing documents through the cloud can also help save the environment. Read more about BrightPay’ssustainability efforts here.

    2. On-the-go leave requests and approval

    When flexibly working, it is important that employees should not have to manually submit annual leave requests. Sending emails when requesting holidays can be even more confusing and it may be hard to deal with them in a timely manner, leaving employees less than happy. When you use BrightPay Connect to deal with annual leave requests it doesn’t matter who is in or out of the office. Employees can request leave anywhere, anytime, straight from the employee app on their phone, tablet or computer. Once the request has been made the employer will receive a notification on their employer dashboard and from there, with one click, they can approve or deny the request.

    3. Delegate the handling of leave requests to your colleagues

    If you have many employees, being the only person who deals with leave requests can be quite overwhelming. BrightPay Connect’smulti-user access feature means various managers can be assigned to deal with annual leave requests from specific employees. For example, if you have a sales department, the Sales Manager can be assigned to deal with all requests from that department and notifications will be sent to their employer dashboard when they have new request awaiting approval.

    4. Monitor staffing levels

    It can be hard to keep track of who is working and who is not when you have employees working flexibly. From BrightPay Connect’s employer dashboard, you can view a real-time, company-wide employee calendar. This allows you and other managers to see at a glance who is on leave, when, and whether they are on annual leave, unpaid leave, parenting leave or sick leave. The employee calendar can save you time when approving annual leave requests while bringing any absences to your attention that you otherwise may have missed.

    5. Communicate any changes

    If you need to update your Flexible Working Policy, it is important these changes are clearly communicated to your employees. In BrightPay Connect, when you update or upload a new document, employees will receive a notification on their phone that the updated document has been shared and can be viewed on the employee app. From the employer dashboard, you will be able to monitor which employees have opened the document, and which have not.

    6. Give employees access to HR functions

    As people work flexibly, the number of emails they send and receive will go up as they may no longer have the opportunity to talk to colleagues in person. Giving employees the ability to take care of certain tasks themselves without having to email back and forth with HR or their manager can save everyone a lot of time and effort. In the BrightPay Connect employee app, the user has access to all pastpayslips, meaning the employee does not have to request this information when they may need it. When their latestpayslip becomes available, they will receive a push notification and the payslip can be viewed or downloaded from the app. Employees can also request to update or change the information their employer has on file for them, through the employee app, which again cuts down on admin work for employers.

    To learn more about the many ways BrightPay Connect can help as we return to the workplace and flexible working becomes the norm, book a free online demo today.

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  • Power up your payroll with integrated accounting software Jul 2, 2021

    Integrating your payroll solution with your accounting software makes sense for many reasons, including efficiency, time-saving and improved workflows.

    Processing payroll is often seen as a time-consuming task, and without the right software it can be. If you don’t have an integrated system, you will find yourself entering the same information repeatedly because it needs to be both in your payroll and accounting software. This, besides being a boring process and not a very good use of your time, can also be prone to errors.

    Integrated payroll & accounting systems
    With an integrated system, you only need to provide the information once. The systems will then ‘talk’ to each other to automatically exchange the information they need. This is more efficient, saves you time and prevents errors and duplications.

    BrightPay includes API integration with many other systems. If you’ve heard about APIs before, you might have thought it was more of an IT thing than something that can affect your job, but actually, APIs can bring many benefits to your practice or payroll bureau.

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    APIs allow BrightPay to interact with other software solutions – in this case, accounting software, to send the payroll journal directly to the accounting software without the need to manually export this information from the payroll software and import it into the accounting software.

    BrightPay includes accounting software integration with AccountsIQ, Clearbooks, FreeAgent, Freshbooks, Kashflow, Quickbooks, QuickFile, Sage One, Twinfield, Xero and Zoho.

    With these integrations in place, BrightPay produces payroll journals in file formats that are unique to these software solutions, allowing users to easily send their payroll figures into their general ledger at the click of a button.

    Other APIs in BrightPay

    Integration with accounting software is not the only direct API integration available in BrightPay. The software also includes this API integration with various pension providers for sending auto enrolment contribution files to the pension provider, including NEST, The People’s Pension, Smart Pension and Aviva.

    Similar to the accounts integration, this means that you can send the file to the relevant pension provider at the click of a button without the need to save the file and manually upload it to the pension system.

    Book an online demo today to discover more ways that BrightPay’s integration capabilities can help your business.

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  • 4 Advantages of a leave management system Jun 28, 2021

    Leave management software allows managers, HR personnel and other assigned users, to have faster access to employees’ leave and to view absence patterns. But what’s the best software for managing employees' leave? Employers should choose a software that integrates HR and Payroll processes, providing a solution for both. Forget about spreadsheets or paper forms. BrightPay Connect handles requests & approvals digitally and keeps record of all employees’ past and scheduled leave, including annual leave, unpaid leave, absence, sick leave and parenting leave, all on a company-wide calendar.

    Why is leave management important?
    Keeping an accurate record of leave and holidays will eliminate or minimise errors in leave entitlement and payment calculations. BrightPay Connect’s calendar report works in line with employees' calendars and allows users to create a customised report of employee leave that can be filtered by type of leave, by department, by employee, etc. or as a summary containing multiple employees.

    Also, time is money. Are you spending unnecessary admin hours on managing annual leave? Watch a short video of the leave management tool in BrightPay Connect and you won’t ever look back!

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    How does it help employers?
    A leave management tool is an essential piece of software that your business should be investing in for many reasons, including;
    • Time saving
    • No manual data entry errors
    • GDPR compliant
    • Leave planning
    How does it help employees?
    Giving employees an easy-to-use annual leave system will save a lot of headaches with the person who’s in charge of accepting leave. Annual leave requests should be time-stamped to ensure fairness to all employees that are given leave on a first-come basis. BrightPay Connect has a self-service portal for employees that can be accessed through an app on their smartphone.

    This app allows employees to view their leave taken, leave remaining and allows them to request upcoming leave for approval. But that’s not all – employees can also view their payslip library, HR documents and update their personal details anywhere, anytime. Book a free 10-minute online demo to see how BrightPay Connect can transform your business.

    Please note: BrightPay Connect is an optional add-on to BrightPay's desktop application that offers employers flexibility and online benefits including a leave management tool, making the payroll process easier.

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  • Furlough from July to September - what will be different? Jun 24, 2021

    Furlough has become part of our everyday lives and vocabularies, but with the world slowly returning to normal, it has sort of been pushed to the back of our minds. That’s not to say it’s not still ticking away in the background, keeping many businesses afloat. But there is inevitably going to be a slow petering out of the scheme which will begin in July. What will this mean for you and your business?

    Back in March, the Chancellor announced a further extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September. The good news is that this extension applies to all sectors, giving the planned full reopening of the economy equal footing. Takeup for the furlough scheme is highest in accommodation and food service sectors with about 1.5 million employees furloughed. In the wholesale and retail sector this figure is about 950,000. Overall the latest figures show that approximately 4.7 million people were still furloughed just before the latest easing of restrictions.

    Obviously this number will decrease as restrictions ease in line with the roadmap but many businesses will still have to avail of the scheme. As mentioned already, the extension of the scheme is now until the end of September (which is great) but from July we will start to see some changes to the amounts paid out, in particular the amounts that employers contribute.

    So what is changing?

    • From July the government will contribute 70% of wages for hours not worked (down from 80%) up to a cap of £2,157.50 (down from £2,500) with employer contributions for hours not worked equalling 10% (up from zero) to make up the remainder of the £2,500, equating to £312.50.

    • From August the government will contribute 60% of wages for hours not worked (down from 70%) up to £1,875 (down from £2,187.50) with employer contributions for hours not worked equalling 20% (up from 10%) up to £625 (up from £312.50).

    • This means that for hours not worked, the employee will still receive 80% of their wages (capped at £2,500 per month) from July to September. It’s just where that money comes from that will have changed.

    • Employers will continue to pay all employers National Insurance and pension contributions.

    What else should you know? Flexible furlough will continue as an option for employees, meaning they can work part-time and receive furlough for any unworked hours. This is great as it will benefit the sectors most affected by social distancing guidelines.

    If you had any new joiners between the 31st of October 2020 and 2nd of March 2021 you can furlough them from May of this year, but if they started after the 2nd of March 2021 then I’m afraid they’re ineligible under the scheme. This has obviously been a concern as any new starters after this date would be unable to be furloughed should trading decrease.

    And finally, the Job Retention Bonus and Job Support Scheme (what the government had intended to follow on from the furlough scheme) seem to have been postponed indefinitely and look unlikely to be introduced. In any case, let’s hope we continue on this upward trajectory and that the roadmap and vaccine rollout continue as smoothly as they have done so that our economy and our workers can start to get back to normal. And I can get back to the pub with a big glass of wine in my hand.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • Timetable of changes for CJRS Jun 14, 2021

    The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) is a government wage support measure. It is a temporary scheme designed to protect jobs in the wake of the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s there to support employers who are facing difficulties to continue paying employee wages rather than making redundancies. The scheme commenced on 1st March 2020 and will end on 30th September 2021. Any entity with a UK payroll can apply, including businesses, recruitment agencies, public authorities and charities. Below is a timetable of the upcoming CJRS changes:
    • From November 2020 to June 2021- Employers can claim 80% of an employee’s usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.

    • In July 2021 - Employers will be able to claim 70% of an employee’s usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £2,187.50 per month.
    • In August and September 2021 - Employers will be able to claim 60% of an employee’s usual wages for hours not worked, up to a cap of £1,875 per month.

    • The scheme will close on 30th September 2021.
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    We recommend fully familiarising yourself with HMRC's comprehensive Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme guidance, which can be accessedhere. BrightPay are hosting a free online webinar on June 16th at 10.30 am where they will discuss the key changes to the CJRS from July. This webinar is aimed at all employers and payroll bureaus. Book your place now.

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  • BrightPay’s API integration with FreeAgent - What you need to know Jun 8, 2021

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    Why is the BrightPay & FreeAgent API useful?

    The BrightPay API facility eliminates manually exporting a payroll journal file, saving and formatting the file, and uploading it to FreeAgent. This would be particularly time-consuming for an accountant with multiple clients. The API functionality will now automate this tedious, repetitive and time-consuming task. By using BrightPay and FreeAgent together, users will be able to increase efficiency, avoid duplication of efforts and reduce the possibility of manual processing errors.

    What does BrightPay & FreeAgent API do?

    BrightPay offers full API integration withFreeAgent allowing the payroll software and accounting software system to directly communicate with each other. BrightPay will produce the payroll journal in a file format that is unique to FreeAgent allowing users to easily upload their payroll figures directly into the FreeAgent general ledger.

    How does the BrightPay and FreeAgent integration work?

    BrightPay will prepare the payroll journal to include records for payslips across multiple pay frequencies. Each payroll journal file is customised for FreeAgent with compatible files and built-in nominal ledger mapping. Essentially, this mapping tells the payroll where things get posted to in FreeAgent.

    Users can decide if they wish to include individual journal records for each employee, or if they want to merge the employee records into total records for each unique payment date. There is also the option to specify circumstances where amounts are to be mapped to alternate nominal account codes (e.g. depending on period type, directorship, departments, specific rates/additions/deductions, etc.).

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    Online Documentation
    About BrightPay

    Operating for over 30 years, BrightPay is an award-winning and easy to use payroll that makes managing payroll easy.

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    BrightPay is one of Ireland and the UK’s leading market payroll software providers for accountants and businesses, helping 320,000 businesses run an efficient and accurate payroll. BrightPay’s pricing is very transparent with no hidden extras. All of our packages include:

    • Free phone and email support
    • CIS, P11Ds, Payrolling of Benefits
    • Automatic Enrolment
    • Migration Support
    • Easy import facility from other payroll providers
    • Batch payroll processing for multiple clients
    • Direct payments to employees
    Book a demo today to find out more about BrightPay.

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  • The importance of payroll when starting a new business Jun 2, 2021

    During the COVID-19 lockdowns, many of us saw our time off as an opportunity to take up new hobbies, develop our skills or even retrain in a new area. Redundancies and having more free time on our hands forced us to rethink what we want to do in life. This has led to many people deciding to take the plunge and start up their own business as things return to normal. Some people may think that this would not be the best time to start a new business when in fact, an event like the COVID-19 pandemic can lead to unexpected opportunities and innovations for entrepreneurs.

    Whether it is a café, an e-commerce site or even your own construction company, starting your own business is a daunting task and no doubt you have a lengthy list of things to do to get yourself up and running. Payroll is one thing of utmost importance which is sometimes overlooked by entrepreneurs. If you are planning to hire employees, a reliable, easy to use payroll software can be the difference between a business which is successfully run and one which is not.

    As a new business owner, you may not have any experience in running payroll and think outsourcing is the best option. However, choosing to process payroll yourself and using the right payroll software can allow you to save money while allowing you to have complete control over your payroll data.

    BrightPay is a payroll software that automates payroll processing. Its easy-to-use interface and free customer support make it the ideal choice for those setting up a business for the first time.

    Why is payroll so important and how can the right software help

    Employee Morale

    As the saying goes, a business is only as good as its employees. Finding employees who are the right fit for your business can be a long and arduous process. You have sifted through the CVs, sat through the interviews and once you think you have found your perfect employees, you certainly don’t want to risk losing them.

    Being paid on time and at a consistent time each pay period is very important for employee morale as it builds trust between employer and employee. When this trust is broken, it can be difficult to build it back up again. Within BrightPay, you have the ability to pay employees directly using our integration with payments platform Modulr. This function means employees can be paid within 90 seconds, rather than the three-day wait time when using other methods; meaning you won't get caught out by delays in payroll processing.

    Being paid correctly is just as important as being paid on time. With BrightPay you can rest assured employees are being paid correctly as automation within the software means an employee's take – home pay is calculated for you.

    Compliance with HMRC and pensions

    You have enough to think about when starting a new business without having to worry about fines for not complying with HMRC and The Pensions Regulator. BrightPay is a HMRC recognised payroll software that also caters for and automatic enrolment. This makes regulatory compliance easy as payroll data can be shared directly with HMRC and pension providers with just a few simple clicks within the software.

    Compliance with GDPR

    BrightPay also helps you with GDPR compliance through our optional cloud add-on BrightPay Connect. Payroll data contains highly sensitive information. By using a secure online platform to share payslips and other important documents with employees, you reduce the risk of a data breach. BrightPay Connect can also be used to back-up payroll data to the cloud, offering an extra layer of security for your payroll data, should the worst happen.

    Free support and guidance when you need it

    On our website you can find a comprehensive list of support documentation on how to use BrightPay. Other useful resources that can be found on our website include guides and eBooks, video tutorials, blogs, and on-demand webinars. We also host weekly live webinars on timely topics which anyone can join for free.

    If you are unable to find the answer to your query on our website, our helpful and friendly customer support team are available to answer your questions by phone or email. We do not charge our customers for support as we don’t think we should profit from your need for help. This motivates us to ensure our software is as easy to use as possible.

    With an “Excellent” rating on Trustpilot of 4.9, below are just a couple of our customer reviews:

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    While there may be many hurdles to jump when starting your own business, payroll doesn’t have to be one of them. Book a free demo today to learn about the many ways BrightPay can make payroll processing easy.

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  • Convince reluctant employees to embrace new technology with these 4 tips May 31, 2021

    A common challenge for many businesses implementing a new software in the workplace is the time and effort it takes to train employees on the new system. Training employees effectively can be a major hurdle for organisations to overcome but it doesn’t have to be. Here at BrightPay, we regularly train new employees on our software, existing employees on new product features, and host daily product demonstrations with customers. From both these internal and external training experiences, we’ve learned a thing or two about what works best.

    Without going into the depths of change management processes, here are 4 simple tips that can help:

    1. Employee expert:
    Not everyone on your team requires a comprehensive knowledge of all aspects of the software. However, it is critical that one or more of your team (depending on the size of your business) become “knowledge experts” on the system. These experts can lead training sessions and support the wider team, and they can also act as advocates or champions of the software to effectively communicate its advantages and encourage its uptake.

    2. Employee buy-in:
    Unless you convey the value of the software and the importance of its training, you’ll struggle to motivate employees to adapt to the new system. While there is no magic solution for this, it is critical that managers across the business support its adoption, address any concerns raised, and prioritise training in their team’s schedule.

    3. Practice makes perfect:
    When it comes to effective training, a variety of different learning methods works best, including video, demos, and documentation. Crucially, don’t simply ‘show’ how the system works, but rather ask your employees to explore the program themselves, guide them through the system, and invite them to practice using it. An initial exploration of the software before any formal training can be very useful, as it helps to make the training more relevant.

    4. Buddy system:
    Employee training can be supported by a ‘buddy’ system. Peer-to-peer learning is a collaborative teaching method that reinforces your own learning by teaching others. This can be achieved by having pairs ask each other questions, problem-solve, and demonstrate to each other how different aspects of the system work. A buddy system also helps to hold each other accountable to a training schedule.

    BrightPay Training
    BrightPay Payroll has been designed with a special focus on the user interface so that it is simple and intuitive to use, and as long as you have a basic understanding of payroll, there is minimal training required.

    However, the first thing we would recommend in terms of training is to book one of our free online demos of BrightPay. The demo will take you through how BrightPay payroll software works and the process of running your payroll on a day-to-day basis. As well as the demo, we have comprehensive support documentation and many video tutorials available on our website.

    Customer support is something that every business needs when switching to a different payroll software. Even if migration runs smoothly, chances are you’ll have a question or a tricky issue down the line that you will need help with. Our customer support team are available by phone or email, ready to respond to any queries you may have.

    Book an online demo of BrightPay to discover if our easy-to-use payroll software is the right fit for your business.

    Download Free Trial | Book a Demo

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  • Made an error in your furlough claim? Here's how to amend it. May 26, 2021

    By now, you most likely understand how the subsidy support works and what the rules are in relation to employee eligibility. However, calculating a CJRS claim and determining what you can claim for can be confusing. If you have made a mistake calculating past CJRS claims, then here is how you can fix it.

    How do I amend CJRS claims?

    To avail of the CJRS, employers must first check if they can claim, then check which employees can be put on furlough, calculate how much can be claimed, and then claim through HRMC’s online portal.

    Too Much Claimed:

    If you have claimed too much CJRS grant and have not already repaid it, you can repay it as part of your next online claim.

    If you claimed too much but do not plan to submit further claims, you can request a payment reference number from HMRC and make the repayment online or by telephone. If you have not repaid the overclaimed grant, you must notify HMRC by no later than:
    • 90 days after receiving the CJRS money, or
    • 90 days after the time your circumstances changed, now making you ineligible to claim the grant.
    If you do not do this, you may have to pay interest and a penalty as well as repaying the excess CJRS grant.

    Too Little Claimed:

    If you made a mistake in your claim that means you received too little money, you will need to amend it within 28‌‌ ‌calendar days after the month the claim relates to – unless this falls on a weekend or bank holiday, in which case the deadline is the next weekday.

    How can I make CJRS claims easier?

    COVID-19 calculations and corresponding claim reports are complex, and employers risk fines for incorrect claims. If you’re struggling to calculate the claim you’re entitled to, BrightPay payroll software includes a CJRS Claim Report which can be used to ascertain the amounts needed for input into HMRC’s online service. At BrightPay, we believe your payroll provider should not only cater for the calculations but also automate the process as much as possible. That’s why we also provide a furlough pay calculator to assist users with calculating furloughed employees, includingsupport for flexible furlough.

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    Interested in learning more? Register for our upcoming webinar focused on the furlough wind-down, changes to the scheme, and how to prepare for returning to work.

    Book a demo:
    Click here to talk to a member of the BrightPay team and discover how BrightPaypayroll softwaremake processing payroll quick and easy.

    What BrightPay customers have to say…

    "BrightPay have made it easy for us during this difficult time. They have kept us up to date on their information hub on all matter COVID-19 related, with free webinars on CJRS matters and other resources.” Linda Nicholls – Trustpilot

    “We have worked around the clock since COVID disrupted life as we know it to support our clients. However, it would have been a lot harder to provide that support if we didn’t use BrightPay. Well done team @ BrightPayUK.” Investment Bookkeeping @InBookkeeping – Twitter

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  • 6 reasons small businesses love BrightPay May 24, 2021

    At BrightPay, we have no “typical customer.” Our software is used by businesses which only have one or two employees and by payroll bureaus who process payroll for thousands of employees.

    Small businesses (businesses with 0 to 49 employees) make up 48% of employees in the UK. So, while you may think you are "only” a small business, the small business sector is hugely important, not only to local communities but to the UK economy as a whole.

    No one said starting your own business would be easy. However, with all the challenges that come with being your own boss, payroll doesn’t have to be one of them. Here are six reasons why small businesses love using BrightPay:

    1. Achieve a better work/life balance

    A study conducted by TLF Research in February this year found that UK small and medium sized businesses are spending an average of 2.5 hours on payroll administration. With BrightPay, this time spent on payroll can be cut dramatically. BrightPay automates payroll processing which means less time spent processing payroll and more time to spend on improving your business or spending time with family and friends. As well as automatically performing calculations as you type, our integration with accounting packages and pension providers makes certain processes, quicker, more convenient, and straightforward for the user.

    2. Spend less money on running payroll

    In the same study conducted by TLF Research in February this year they found that UK small and medium sized businesses are spending an average of £300 every time they run payroll. This is an inordinate amount to be spending on payroll and this money would be better spent on growing your business. If you choose to use BrightPay to process your payroll, you can purchase a licence for a whole year for only £99 for up to 10 employees and for£149 for up to 25 employees. There are no hidden charges with BrightPay and we do not charge for customer support, as many other payroll software providers do.

    3. Help ensure regulatory compliance

    Complying with payroll regulations may be one of your biggest concerns when running payroll for the first time. However, when you use the right payroll software it makes compliance easy. BrightPay automates payroll process which ensure you stay compliant. As a HMRC recognised payroll software, you can rest assured that you stay compliant with all HMRC regulations. BrightPay also helps you withGDPR compliance through our optional cloud add-on BrightPay Connect, offering a secure online portal for employers to share payslips with their employees as well as other HR documents. BrightPay also includes fullauto-enrolment functionality, allowing you to easily stay compliant and enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension scheme.

    4. Support available no matter what size your business is

    One common theme reading our customer reviews from small businesses is always how satisfied customers are with the support they receive from BrightPay. On our website you can find a comprehensive list of support documentation on how to use BrightPay. Other useful resources that can be found on our website are ourguides and eBooks, video tutorials, blogs, and webinars. We also host weeklylive webinars on timely topics which anyone can join for free.

    If you cannot find the answer to your query on our website, our helpful and friendlysupport team are available to answer your questions by phone or email. We do not charge for support as we don’t think we should profit from your need for help. This motivates us to ensure our software is as easy to use as possible.

    5. Our response during COVID-19

    According to recent research from Simply Business, 48% of owners said thatCOVID-19 has had a ‘severe impact’ on their small business. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an undue amount of stress for business owners. At BrightPay, we wanted to make sure that in these trying times, changes in payroll legislation were at least one thing our customers didn’t have to worry about. We introduced a furlough pay calculator which helped users with calculating and applying furlough pay to employees’ payslips, including support for flexible furlough.

    In a recent customer survey, BrightPay’s overall response to COVID-19 was rated at 98.6%. This rating includes software upgrades to facilitate for changes in payroll legislation such as furlough and COVID-19 related Statutory Sick Pay. This high rating is also due to our regular COVID-19webinars, online guidance, and how we grew our customer support team and increased hours in order to give our customers the support they needed.

    6. Our employee self-service app

    Another reason why small businesses love BrightPay is our optional cloud add on, BrightPay Connect. The BrightPay Connect employee app is available to download for free on any Android or iOS device. You can provide your employees with access to GDPR compliant self-service tools, a payslip library, HR documents and annual leave facility.

    Book a demo of BrightPay Connect today and learn other ways it can benefit your small business.

    With an “Excellent” rating on Trustpilot of 4.9, below is one of our many reviews from a small business customers:

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  • The Return to Work and Statutory Sick Pay Rules May 19, 2021

    Thanks to the vaccine rollout we are seeing many businesses reopen and employees return to the workplace. More than 34 million people in the UK have now received at least one dose of a coronavirus vaccine. However, even if the government’s vaccine targets are met, the whole adult population will not be fully vaccinated until the end of July; leaving a large percentage of the working population at risk of the virus.

    The rules in relation to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) have changed as a result of COVID-19. While we are in a much better position than we were a few months ago, the risk of the virus is still present, and so it is important for all employers to understand how these changes will affect them.

    HMRC have advised that if an employee needs to take time off sick or to self-isolate due to COVID-19, the first 3 waiting days that normally apply for SSP will be disregarded and the employee will be entitled to receive SSP from the first day. Therefore, where an employee is off sick, it is important to be aware of whether or not it is due to a COVID-19 related illness.

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    With the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, the employer can claim for up to 2 weeks sick leave for an employee who cannot work due to COVID-19, and also for those who are self-isolating or shielding, subject to eligibility criteria. Use the Statutory Sick Pay calculator for help working out your employee’s sick pay.

    Furloughed employees retain their statutory rights, including their right to Statutory Sick Pay, and so furloughed employees who become ill must be paid at least the rate of SSP, subject to them meeting the eligibility criteria. You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.

    How does BrightPay cater for COVID-19 related sick leave?
    BrightPay includes the option for ‘COVID-19 Related Sick Leave’. By choosing this option, the payroll software will automatically apply any SSP due to the employee from day one.

    Whereas, if you were to choose the normal SSP, the software will take into account the usual 3 waiting days. An SSP Claim Report is also available in BrightPay to assist users in calculating the amounts needed for input into HMRC’s Coronavirus SSP Rebate Scheme online service.

    Join our upcoming webinar where we will discuss preparing for the safe return to the workplace, the furlough wind-down, redundancies and vaccine policies. Register here to join us for free.

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