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  • BrightPay Connect - The perfect HR solution Jan 15, 2020 at 12:42 PM

    I’ve talked extensively about how BrightPay Connect can transform your payroll processes. But what about BrightPay Connect’s HR functions? Not only does BrightPay Connect revolutionise your payroll but it also gives employers a ready-to-go, easy-to-use HR software solution that streamlines previously cumbersome and tedious people management tasks.

    Instead of having the same information about employees on two different platforms, with BrightPay Connect you can save the information on the same platform which enables employers to link payroll and HR in a way never thought possible. This all-in-one HR solution means there is no overlapping or duplicating of data as BrightPay Connect works alongside BrightPay software in perfect unison. Genius!

    BrightPay Connect streamlines all those dull HR tasks that make your eyes and brain itchy from boredom. Through the cloud-based platform, employers can manage holiday requests or deal with mundane and previously time- consuming queries; for example: “Can I have my payslips from the last 10 years?” “Sure Barbara...” you say through gritted teeth, “coming right up”.

    BrightPay Connect also features a document upload feature where employers can upload all necessary documents to one secure location. So you can throw away those old filing cabinets, chuck the in-tray out the window and finally put in that pool table in the office like you’ve always dreamed. This also makes it easier for employees to access their own information. “Actually Barbara” you say through smiling teeth, “do it yourself!”

    With all this information stored centrally in one easily accessible place, employees can now leave you alone and you can enjoy sipping your pina colada on the beach in Barbados in peace. The dream!

    But, maybe you’ve heard horror stories about data being stored in the cloud and are worried. Well, don’t be. BrightPay Connect offers one of the most secure platforms on which to store data. BrightPay Connect is powered by Microsoft Azure and on top of that, is checked by regular external penetration testing.

    I mean, what more can you ask for? Best of all, it takes mere minutes to set up. It is literally the perfect HR solution and you would be mad to pass it up. Book a demo today to find out more about BrightPay Connect’s HR features.


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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne
  • 2019 sees exponential growth in payroll giving Jan 9, 2020

    Payroll news can be a dark and terrifying place. There are fines around every corner and new regulations under every trapdoor. The sound of your next deadline echoes through your mind like a ghost through the hallways of an empty house. So, I thought it would be nice to do something different and share a nice story for a change.

    So what’s the good news? No, HMRC didn’t fall into a sinkhole, it’s about payroll giving, which has seen its most significant rise in the UK this year since its introduction 30 years ago! What’s payroll giving I hear you say? Well, it’s exactly what it says on the tin! You give payroll as a gift to your least favourite co-worker.

    Just kidding! Payroll giving is a simple, tax-effective way to give to charity directly from an employee’s pay. It’s a flexible scheme that allows anyone who received their pay through payroll to give on a regular and tax-free basis to the charities and good causes of their choice!

    Payroll-giving is a valuable and long-term source of revenue which provides regular income to charities. This helps them plan ahead and to budget more effectively. The best thing? It’s tax-free. Donations are deducted after NIC but before PAYE is calculated and then sent to the payroll giving agency who passes the donations onto the chosen charities.

    According to the Association of Payroll Giving Organisations, the number of companies and their employees taking part in payroll giving schemes has increased dramatically this year with 65% more Payroll Giving Quality Marks being awarded this year. Payroll Giving Quality Marks are awarded annually to employees to show the percentage uptake amongst their employers.

    On an individual level, 59% more employers achieved Diamond Award level, 95% more got Platinum Award level and over 1,000 more Bronze Awards were given out. These awards are based on participation in the scheme by the organisation’s staff so these numbers are actually pretty impressive.

    Isn’t it nice to know that in these dark times not everyone is selfish and in fact, there seems to be more good than bad. The generosity demonstrated in these figures is a real testament and something to be proud of. If you want your back to be included in this big ol’ pat then speak to someone in your HR or Payroll department to see how you can get set up.

    If you haven't got a payroll or HR department then BrightPay Payroll Software is your new best friend. They already provide a preset “Payroll Giving” deduction to facilitate employees who wish to donate through their pay. Check them out at www.brightpay.co.uk.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne - BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Should you delegate or do it yourself? Jan 2, 2020

    Delegation or DIY? Which one is more beneficial to your firm? Some would argue the whole point of having employees is for them to take ownership of tasks. But is it always that simple?

    Recruiting can be a long and difficult process. Even when you think you’ve found the best candidate, getting to the point in which you can trust your new employee to take ownership of tasks exactly in the way you expect them to do it will take time and training, as well as going through a process of setting expectations and targets.

    But even when you get to that phase, other people are not you, so you need to accept some tasks won’t be done exactly how you would do them yourself.

    The alternative, of course, is to do everything by yourself. But this, besides being exhausting, is also detrimental to the growth of your firm. After all, you can only take on so much work.

    But what if there was a third option?

    The good news is that, at least when it comes to payroll, thanks to technology, you don’t need to do all the dull and time-consuming administrative tasks by yourself or ask anyone in your team to do it. You can find a middle ground by giving your clients the ability of inputting and doing as many tasks as they can by themselves. Cloud platforms make this possible by enabling your clients to work collaboratively with you.

    Here’s how it works.

    Client input
    BrightPay Connect, BrightPay’s cloud add-on allows you to go one step further by providing your clients and their employees with a collaborative platform and an employee mobile app that they can use to do many tasks by themselves. Some of these DIY tasks include entering the hours and payments, personal information, annual leave management and much more.

    Time-saving
    There are many benefits to giving clients a platform to do as much as possible by themselves.

    To start with, consider all the time it will be saving you and your colleagues. All those tasks that you needed to do and supervise before can now be done by your clients, who have remote access to their own personal employer dashboard.

    Self-service is convenient and fast and for simple tasks, it makes sense for clients to do some of them by themselves. This means you will have more time to do more important things. For example, with a self-service platform, employees can see and print all their payslips and documents including P60s and P11Ds, so you don’t need to print or email documents to them or answer that many general payroll queries.

    Other processes, such as annual leave no longer need to be manual and can be processed directly via the employee and employer dashboards, reducing the time you need to spend on people management tasks and the number of queries you receive about leave balances. Employees will see leave entitlements automatically updated on their app.

    Accuracy
    Client platforms also make sense from an accuracy perspective. After all, clients know more about their own company calendar, schedules and staff than any external payroll bureau or accountant, so there’s no need for the back-and-forth exchange of data and employee details.

    Employees can also update their personal information directly, eliminating the need of requesting any amendments, and waiting for you to process them.

    Book a demo today to see just how much time BrightPay Connect’s online portals and cloud integration can save you.
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  • All I want for Christmas is the perfect cloud platform Dec 20, 2019

    What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘cloud’ will vary from person to person. Some will think of the weather as they look, grumbling, out their front window. But others will be thinking about all that extra storage on their iPhone. See, the meaning of the word has changed in recent times and most of us will now think the latter. But what about those who haven’t a notion what you’re on about? What is the cloud?

    The cloud is a general term for any computing service that involves hosting over the internet to deliver computing services in lieu of a hard drive. Services such as storage, payroll and HR information. The other key feature is that you can access these services or information anytime, anywhere from any device that is connected to the internet. In fact, you’re already using cloud services if you use social media, Google Drive and Dropbox to name but a few. And now the cloud has become a must-have for any business who wishes to keep up with the times.

    I can hear some of you now: “it sounds great but my employees would never use something like that”. Well, that’s where you’re wrong. A recent survey found that 48% of people believe technological advances will change the face of the workplace and a whopping 87% of those said they would be happy to adapt to technological changes if the right tools were given to them. Wow! So how do I know which cloud platform to choose for my business?

    I’m glad you asked! Our experts got together for a brainstorming session and found that there are four key things to look out for when choosing the right cloud platform for your business - cost, compliance, simplicity and connection.
    • Cost - Your upfront costs should be minimised - it shouldn’t be an expensive luxury reserved for big corporations. Make sure it provides the option of having multiple users so you can delegate and give access to various people to manage payroll tasks and HR requests on your behalf.
    • Compliance - Make sure it takes into account your obligations as an employer with regards to things like the GDPR legislation, record keeping requirements and automatic enrolment duties. A good platform will have compliance built-in as standard and will manage it seamlessly.
    • Simplicity - The most important thing to increase uptake of a cloud platform is to make sure it is user-friendly and reduces the chance of human error. Look out for simplistic interfaces and whether or not training and support is available. The best of the best will offer this for free. You should also be able to get set up and ready to go with minimal disruption to your business.
    • Connection - Make sure it offers features that are attractive to employees such as a downloadable app, a self-service portal and company-wide messaging features. Because at the end of the day, your employees won’t give a damn about how excited you might be about it unless it works for them too. These features tie in with our ever-increasing digitally-minded workforce and will make them feel more in control and engaged.
    So there you have it… off you go now! Good luck scouring through the internet trying to find the perfect cloud platform. But….., well, ..it is Christmas after all and I’m feeling generous. Ah what the heck, I’ll just let you in on a secret which is the best cloud platform for businesses out there: our very own BrightPay Connect.

    BrightPay Connect is an add-on to BrightPay’s award-winning payroll software and ticks literally every single box I just mentioned over the course of this post. I’ve done enough talking so instead let me show you. Book a demo today to find out if BrightPay Connect is the perfect fit for your business. Merry Christmas everyone! Don’t say I didn’t get you anything!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • So your employee wants to leave the UK… Dec 18, 2019

    The last few seasons of Brexit have been a bit of a slog but we finally got to the penultimate episode last Thursday when the results of the general election were revealed. The election, which was really about Brexit and nothing else seemingly, was full of twists and turns and shock endings. But no matter what way you look at it, a pin has been put in it (so to say) and the UK is now definitely set to leave the EU next year (third time’s a charm!)

    Whatever side you fall on - I'm not here to judge - it’s safe to say a lot of people are not happy with the results and have been very irate on social media, exclaiming loudly that “THAT’S IT, I’VE HAD IT WITH THIS COUNTRY!” And apparently this is not something to sniff at, as #Brexodus and similarly snappy hashtags have been trending online and there has been a spike in searches on how to leave the UK following the results of the election.

    So other than packing everything up, giving your old Pokemon cards to your little brothers and hopping on a plane, how does one actually leave the country and what do you, as an employer, need to be aware of?

    The main thing is tax and payroll. This should be the first thing anyone who wishes to emigrate takes care of. This applies to both the leaver and the employer. The leaver will need to notify HMRC of their intention to leave the country. This is to make sure that they pay the right amount of tax and don’t accidentally pay tax in two countries at the same time. If they have a student loan, they will also need to notify the Student Loans Company of their intention to get the hell out of dodge.

    As the employer, you will also need to inform HMRC and put the employee’s leaving date on their payroll record and make deductions as normal. You'll also need to provide a P45 as standard to the employee. Make sure to use a payroll software like BrightPay that automatically produces P45s for you, thus saving you a bunch of time.

    To cover all the bases you can advise your employee to fill out a P85 form (Leaving the UK - getting your tax right) which you can find on the GOV.UK website. The employee sends parts 2 and 3 of their P45 along with the completed P85 to HMRC, who will calculate if they can claim any tax relief whilst abroad or if they are due a tax refund once they’ve left the UK.

    If the employee receives a pension then they must contact the International Pension Council. Their website states that you can still claim a state pension whilst abroad “if you’ve paid enough National Insurance contributions to qualify”. Similarly, if the employee plans on coming back once this has all blown over, then they may decide to continue paying National Insurance contributions to maintain eligibility for a State Pension. That’s if we haven’t all descended into a dystopian Mad-Max style future by the time their pensions roll around.

    Other than this, they are good to go! Other issues to take into account would be the same as when any employee leaves any company such as maternity, paternity or adoption pay; you know the drill. The last thing left to do if your employee decides to jump ship is to throw them one helluva sendoff and wish them all the best as we wade into uncharted waters and hope for the best!


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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Survey says: 1 in 5 employees have quit a job due to poor payroll experience Dec 13, 2019

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

    The research also identified that 60% of employers found mistakes on their payslips and 31% said they had been paid late. This unsurprisingly left them feeling:

    • The employer didn’t care about their well-being (48%)

    • High levels of stress and worry (47%)

    • Less engaged and productive at work (25%)

    • At risk of their financial situation (40%)

    No, the survey was not conducted on over-dramatic teenagers. These are real-life concerns for us little people. It’s all well and good for the fat cats in the boardroom to miss out on a week’s pay; I mean, they’d probably gamble my year’s salary on a game of Snap and not bat an eyelid. But for us regular folk, no money means more problems.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Check them out at www.brightpay.co.uk
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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • BrightPay win another Best Payroll award! Dec 10, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    4. There is a funder behind the scheme

    5. The scheme is financially stable

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Expand your practice’s portfolio

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

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

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

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

    Cost

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

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

    Effectiveness and control of information

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1) Check the email address

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

    2) Look for the tax reference number

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

    3) Don’t give out personal information

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

    4) If in doubt, rat them out

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Employee self-service

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

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

    Annual leave management

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

    Document upload

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

    Company messaging

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

    Employee calendar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Hourly rates

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

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

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

    Checking if an employee is receiving the NMW

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

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

    Non-hourly employees

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

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

    Amending a global hourly rate

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

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    To find out more about BrightPay, contact the team or try it for free for 60 days.