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  • What the coronavirus outbreak tells us about bringing processes in-house Mar 25, 2020 at 8:54 AM

    As COVID-19 spreads across the globe, businesses have started to feel the pinch as cash flow and liquidity problems due to halted production, supply issues and changing consumer behaviour take hold.

    Of course, the upheaval from the coronavirus outbreak will eventually subside (we hope). In the meantime, businesses have to ensure they can keep things ticking over. The outbreak also shows the value of self-reliance.

    One way to insulate yourself from the impact of COVID-19 (and crises more generally) is to bring core business functions in-house. You’ll be less prone to supply chain breakdowns when you retain control.

    Increased Control

    Payroll processing is an excellent example of a business function you can easily do yourself. Instead of relying heavily on outside stakeholders, you can take control and keep this vital part of your business ticking over.

    As well as making your business more resilient, processing your payroll in-house offers instant access to your payroll and employee information. You can manage your payroll data and who can access it at a glance.

    You can simplify last-minute adjustments and still pay employees accurately and on time, all without having to lean on your accountant or payroll bureau.

    No-fuss payroll

    Perhaps you’re resisting the idea of bringing payroll in-house because, instinctively, it sounds like a bureaucratic nightmare. Indeed, if you used the wrong software (or tried to do things manually), then your instinct would be correct.

    In-house payroll software like BrightPay allows employers to instantly upload employee hours or rates and apply the relevant pay rates. Our straightforward payroll demo demonstrates how all payroll processing happens on one single system, eliminating excessive data entry and email ping-pong.

    Seamless payroll end-to-end

    In-house payroll is an easy way to minimise your exposure to risks. When there’s economic disruption, you can keep things ticking along without being dependent on outside suppliers.

    Beyond crises, however, in-house payroll facilitated by industry-leading software like BrightPay keeps your sensitive payroll data safe. Instead of exposing sensitive information to an outsourced payroll provider, you keep all that private information in your own secure in-house database.

    The Challenge of the Coronavirus & How BrightPay can Facilitate Remote Working

    Businesses are understandably concerned about the steps they should be taking to manage the risk of COVID-19. We would like to provide reassurance to our customers that BrightPay is well prepared. Many businesses are now putting in place precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus and to protect their employees. BrightPay can facilitate the option to work from home, which is one of the primary ways businesses are changing the way they operate.

    Read our step-by-step guide that explains how to use BrightPay when working remotely.
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    Book a BrightPay Payroll demo
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  • Watch out for the fake HMRC coronavirus scam that is targeting taxpayers Mar 19, 2020

    Humans - we can always be trusted to band together in a crisis. The community spirit comes out, the altruism exudes and everyone looks out for each other. Even if the government doesn’t seem to give a toss, at least we, you, us, the people have got each others’ backs as best we can.

    But where there is light there must be shadow and in every crisis, you will, unfortunately, find those barnacles on the bottom of the ship of humanity that seek to capitalize on people’s fear and panic. This time is no different, as last week, Action Fraud reported that they had received 21 reports of coronavirus related fraud with total losses amounting to over £800,000!
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    Yes, hundreds of people have now received fake emails from these despicable reprobates who have adapted the already circulating fake HMRC phishing emails to reflect the current emergency. As you can see above, they claim that the government has established a new tax refund system as a precautionary measure to help alleviate those who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

    The link in the email then takes you to a surprisingly legitimate-looking site that asks you to enter everything about yourself, apart from your star sign and shoe size. They want your name, address, telephone number, bank details and even your mother’s maiden name; essentially, enough information to either access your bank account or to purchase a financial item in their name on your credit.

    With the current surge in people set to be working from home in the coming weeks, and with those who are already doing so, the risk of cyber-attacks and direct fraudulent targeting naturally heightens and all employees should be practicing best cybersecurity practices. A legitimate source will never ask you for your personal details over the phone or by email so do not give out any discernible information no matter how convincing it may seem.

    HMRC has said that people should under no circumstances give out their personal information to a suspicious source or even one that has simply arrived unexpectedly. This includes replying to text messages, downloading attachments or clicking on links. If you have received anything like this then the advice remains the same - you can forward emails to here.

    In a somewhat haunting parallel, it is again the elderly who are the most vulnerable to such attacks so make sure you spread the word and let people know to be vigilant as unfortunately, with the panic around coronavirus increasing, these attempts will likely increase with it.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
    Rick Phillips likes this.
  • The Challenge of the Coronavirus & How BrightPay can Facilitate Remote Working Mar 12, 2020

    Businesses are understandably concerned about the steps they should be taking to manage the risk of COVID-19. This newsletter aims to provide reassurance to our customers that BrightPay is well prepared.

    Many businesses are now putting in place precautionary measures to combat the spread of the virus and to protect their employees. The option to work from home is one of the primary ways businesses are changing the way they operate.

    It would be advisable to devise an appropriate strategy to protect yourself, your clients and your staff members. This includes reviewing all internal software solutions to make sure they can facilitate remote working. We would like to reassure and update our customers with some advice on keeping their payroll running should they need to work remotely.

    How BrightPay Facilitates Remote Working

    While BrightPay remains a desktop solution, the software can be installed at ten different locations on ten different PC’s or laptops. BrightPay payroll files can be accessed remotely through cloud environments like a shared server, Google Drive or Dropbox. This flexibility will allow users to continue to operate their payroll as normal. In addition, you can log into your BrightPay Connect account to view your payroll information at any time.

    Read our step-by-step guide that explains how to use BrightPay when working remotely.
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    BrightPay Customer Support - Business as Usual

    We are taking precautionary measures and are making a conscious effort to work remotely where possible. All of our staff can perform their roles from home, and all staff are issued with laptops and access to our phone and email systems. We are fortunate in that our support phone lines and our email support hub facilitate remote working. Therefore our customer support is still very much open for business and we will continue to support our customers. Apologies if you hear any domestic background noise while talking to a support operative. This may be unavoidable and we ask that you bear with us for the duration.

    If you have any further questions or concerns, please contact our customer support team here.

    How to Handle SSP & Covid 19

    HMRC have advised that if you need to take time off work to self-isolate due to Covid 19, the first 3 waiting days that normally apply for SSP will be disregarded and you will be entitled to receive SSP from the first day.

    As this is a unique case and BrightPay is programmed to take into account the usual 3 waiting days, an override should be performed in BrightPay by simply marking the previous 3 days on the employee's calendar as sick leave. The SSP to be applied will then be from their first actual day of self-isolation/sick leave.

    Find out how

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  • Don’t let Covid-19 stop you from running payroll Mar 10, 2020

    As of 10 March, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus increased to 373 in the UK, with cases across Europe also surging. With the number of cases bound to escalate, it has been predicted that if the coronavirus outbreak worsens, up to a fifth of UK workers could be off sick.

    With panic over coronavirus soaring, many workers are being ordered to stay away from the office and do day-to-day tasks from the comfort of their home. Not going into the office is an effective way of preventing the spread of coronavirus, because it minimises the risk of you coming into contact with someone carrying the disease.

    Flexible working is becoming a growing trend

    The reality is, working from home is already very popular, potential pandemic or not. Flexible working is a trend that has emerged in the last decade as more people seek that ideal work-life balance instead of work-life burnout.

    Nearly a quarter of Britain’s workforce now work flexibly, that is, they work part of the week in an office and part at home, highlighting how quickly this trend is growing. Flexible working brings many work-life balance benefits as employees have more time to see their family, exercise and dedicate time to themselves. Seven in 10 of those who work flexibly say they are less stressed as a result of their working arrangement.

    As well as the health benefits, it often results in happier employees. They then potentially work harder and are more productive. For employers, flexible working also helps to attract and retain talented employees. Additionally, it can result in increased loyalty and reduced office space cost.

    Businesses need to carefully consider which processes and tools will make flexible work as productive and positive as possible for their employees. You need to make sure that they have essentials such as laptops, a reliable internet connection and being able to connect to systems remotely. This would have been difficult a few years ago, but thanks to the cloud, you can have everything you need at all times.

    Flexible working with BrightPay’s Payroll

    Although the payroll itself cannot be processed online with BrightPay Connect, the payroll software is still very flexible. Each BrightPay licence can be installed on up to 10 PCs where users have the option to process the payroll from 10 separate locations meaning you don’t need cloud payroll to operate and process your payroll remotely. In addition, you can log into your BrightPay Connect account to view your payroll information at any time. You no longer need to be seated at your desk in the office to access the system - all the data you need to do your job is available on any of the 10 PC’s that the BrightPay application is installed on.

    If you are not using the BrightPay Connect add-on, you can still access the payroll data file through a cloud environment to process the payroll. Again, the software itself can be installed to the local C drive of up to 10 PCs, be it a home computer or a laptop. The payroll file can be stored on a secure server or cloud environment, such as Dropbox or Google Drive, where the payroll information can be accessed from multiple computers.

    With BrightPay Connect’s automatic cloud backup, payroll information is stored online and can be accessed by employers anywhere, anytime. Employers can also use BrightPay Connect to remotely manage employee’s leave, upload employee documents and send communications to employees that are working remotely.

    Will coronavirus lead to long-term changes?

    Will 2020 be the year in which office employees working more from home becomes the norm? Although many employers have implemented a mandatory ‘work from home’ policy as a precaution against coronavirus, it could also be the turning point for many businesses to recognise just how beneficial flexible working can be.

    Book a demo today to discover how you can process payroll remotely with BrightPay.

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    Written by Rachel Hynes | BrightPay Payroll Software

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  • Outsourcing your payroll? You may want to think again! Mar 3, 2020

    Every business must have payroll in some form or other. It is arguably one of the most important HR responsibilities for any employer. You have to process payslips and payments correctly on time, every time. Payroll mistakes can leave you at risk of hefty fines from HMRC, and so traditionally, payroll has been one of the most outsourced processes in the business world.

    A simple Google search brings up a number of benefits of outsourcing your payroll:
    • Cost-savings as you are not spending money on training and resources
    • Save time and focus on other aspects of your business
    • Confidence that your employees are being paid correctly
    • Peace of mind that your payroll is compliant
    • Greater security than operating payroll in-house
    There is also a number of benefits to bringing your payroll in-house:
    • Cost-savings are possible if you’re using the right payroll software
    • Greater flexibility and control over the payroll data
    • Other HR features may be included at no extra cost
    • Control over data security as there’s no third party access to data
    Notice how some of the benefits are contradictory? Advancements in payroll software have improved the ability for small businesses to process payroll themselves, and today, more and more businesses are opting to bring their payroll in-house. Opting for the right payroll software can dispel many of the benefits of outsourcing.

    Cost when processing payroll in-house vs. outsourcing

    Take, for example, cost-savings. Outsourced payroll services are typically priced on a monthly basis, with pricing based on the number of staff that you employ and the frequency with which you pay your staff. With a workforce of ten people or less, you can expect to pay around £4 to £6 per employee for a monthly payroll, but that figure will increase as you take into consideration a setup fee, complex payroll needs, last minute adjustments, automatic enrolment, access to reports, an integrated HR system and much more. When you outsource your payroll, the cost of the software, time etc. will need to be recuperated somewhere by the accountant.

    On the contrary, employers who decide to handle their payroll in-house have the upfront cost of the payroll software. Some payroll service providers also argue that there is the additional cost of training employees, or maybe you might need to hire a new staff member with payroll experience to manage the payroll. But what if there is no training costs? What if there is no hidden software costs for additional functionality and support? Better still, what if there is no hiring required since the workload is the same as if you were to outsource the payroll?

    With BrightPay, there is a simple pricing structure where all licences include full functionality. There is no additional charges for auto enrolment, CIS, expenses and benefits etc. Best of all, you don’t need to be a payroll expert to use BrightPay. The software is easy-to-use, even for someone with little to no payroll experience. Should you need assistance, we’re here to help with free phone and email support.

    Workload when processing payroll in-house vs. outsourcing

    One of the key benefits of outsourcing your payroll is the perceived time saving advantages. But is there a genuine time-saving, or is the workload relatively comparable? The reality is that you may still be doing most of the work yourself when you outsource your payroll.

    The employer or HR Manager will still need to give the information to the payroll bureau, be it on a spreadsheet or through an online portal. Changes to employees hours and payments need to be monitored in-house, regardless of who actually processes the payroll. If a new employee is hired, the employer or HR manager will still need to collect all of the new starter’s information. The amount of effort required by the new employee and the HR staff is the same if the payroll is processed within the company or with a third-party provider. Although the effort is about the same, you can expect to pay additional charges if you opt for an outsourced provider.

    Compliance when processing payroll in-house vs. outsourcing

    Another benefit of outsourcing your payroll duties is peace of mind knowing that your employees are paid correctly and that you are fully compliant. However, although the employer is placing the responsibility onto the payroll service provider, the onus is still on the employer if the third party fails to pay taxes on time and accurately. In contrast, when processing payroll in-house, you can use intuitive payroll software with complete transparency to easily monitor the payroll information to avoid any costly mistakes.

    BrightPay monitors everything in the background with on-screen alerts to help you along the way. For example, you will see an alert if an employee needs to be enrolled into a pension scheme or if an employee’s wage falls below the National Minimum Wage. BrightPay also includes mid-year updates in line with the latest payroll laws and regulations, keeping you compliant.

    Data security when processing payroll in-house vs. outsourcing

    Employers must take every step to ensure employee data is kept safe and secure at all times. One of the biggest concerns for small businesses when it comes to payroll is data security. Every company’s nightmare when it comes to outsourcing payroll is a data breach and identity theft. You’re also depending on a third party to protect your sensitive employee data. Many companies choose to keep payroll in-house as they are assured that they can implement stringent data protection methods.

    By processing payroll in-house, you are increasing your control over employee data and the payroll process itself protecting private information such as salary details. BrightPay payroll software can also be password protected, so you don’t need to worry about employees accessing sensitive information on other employees.

    Control & flexibility when processing payroll in-house vs. outsourcing

    One of the major concerns of companies who outsource their payroll is the loss of control. Simple tasks such as accessing a payroll report is not instant, which can be difficult for a business to get information they might need at a moment's notice. 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.

    Mistakes can also take extra time to correct when the payroll is outsourced. Basic changes such as adding overtime, adjusting shifts or making last minute changes to the payroll not only take longer to implement, but the provider may also charge an additional fee for making the change. When payroll is processed in-house, you have the flexibility to correct the issue immediately, instead of waiting for a third party to resolve the issue.

    One of the main aims of BrightPay is to be a flexible payroll platform – suitable for any employer. It’s easy to make corrections to the payroll and there is an intuitive report builder, where you can build and design your own custom payroll reports. This allows you to analyse every aspect of your payroll, and thus, make more effective business decisions.

    Other HR functions when processing payroll in-house vs. outsourcing

    If you process the payroll in-house, some payroll systems come with additional HR features built-in. An employee self-service portal makes payroll and HR processes much more efficient by delegating various tasks to the employee. Give your employees remote access to personal data, holiday entitlements, payslips and P60s.

    Process payroll in-house or outsource - which should you choose?

    Although there are some benefits to outsourcing your payroll, you can get the best of both scenarios when you choose the right payroll software. With BrightPay, you have the cost savings, data security and compliance, without compromising your workload, control and flexibility. You also have the added benefit of an additional suite of HR features including an employee self-service app, leave management tool and HR document hub.

    Book a demo today to see how seamless and efficient the payroll process can be with BrightPay.

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    Written by Rachel Hynes | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • TV presenter Eamonn Holmes is next in the IR35 firing line Feb 27, 2020

    The time has come for the latest installment of the IR35 drama and who is in the firing line this time but tv star Eamonn Holmes. Yes, the ITV presenter could be faced with a huge tax bill after he lost a tax case against HMRC last week which amounts to £250,000 - a figure which is almost as eye-watering as his comments on Meghan Markle… but that’s another story.

    Holmes, who hosts the hit daytime show This Morning with his wife Ruth Langsford, claimed that he has in fact been a freelancer for the past 28 years and not an employee of ITV. He claims that as he was paid as a freelancer through his personal broadcasting company Red White and Green Limited and therefore did not owe income tax and national insurance between 2011 and 2015.

    However, the taxman thought differently and the Judge agreed as - in a decision that was published on Friday 21st February - they ruled against Holmes stating that he was in fact employed by ITV and was therefore able to pay more tax.

    Holmes was investigated under the controversial IR35 reforms which are designed to target workers who supply services to a client via an intermediary such as a private limited company. HMRC have seemingly been targeting tv stars for this very reason as their contractual relationships with their respective TV channels are ambiguous and HMRC want to make sure they are paying employment taxes like the rest of us, the unclean masses (even if they are working for their own company).

    Holmes claimed that he was “totally freelance” and had “total control” over how he acted on This Morning. However, Judge Morgan said:

    "I have concluded that there was sufficient mutuality and at least a sufficient framework of control to place the assumed relationship between ITV and Mr Holmes in the employment field. On that basis and, having regard to all other relevant factors, my view is that overall, throughout all relevant tax years, the assumed relationship between ITV and Mr Holmes was one of an employment rather than self-employment”.

    Holmes is the latest in a string of high profile stars who have been investigated by HMRC lately for tax avoidance. Lest we forget, last year (in separate cases) Lorraine Kelly and Kaye Adams managed to escape huge tax bills. In Lorraine’s case, she managed to avoid a £1.2 million tax bill by claiming she was a “theatrical artist” who was acting as a TV host and whilst on television she was merely a “persona known as Lorraine Kelly”, which I still haven’t decided is the greatest or most ridiculous thing I've ever heard.

    I imagine the rest of the TV world will be waiting with bated breath to see if Eamonn Holmes can top that one and thus be exempt from his tax bill. Stay tuned!

    If you would like to read more about ludicrous excuses check out another of my blogs “10 of the most ridiculous excuses and expense claims HMRC have received for late tax returns” here.

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • Scammers targeting students: How to spot a scam Feb 26, 2020

    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
  • CIS Subcontractor Payments with BrightPay Feb 18, 2020

    What is CIS?

    Under the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS), all payments made from contractors to subcontractors must take account of the subcontractor’s tax status as determined by HMRC. The contractor may be required to make a deduction from a subcontractor’s payment, which they then pay to HMRC. The deductions count as advance payments towards the subcontractor’s tax and National Insurance.

    The scheme covers all types of businesses and other concerns that work in the construction industry, including companies, partnerships and self-employed individuals. Under the scheme, the terms ‘contractor’ and ‘subcontractor’ have special meanings that cover more than is generally referred to as ‘construction’.
    • You are considered a contractor if either you pay subcontractors for construction work, or your business doesn’t do construction work but you spend an average of more than £1 million a year on construction in any 3-year period.
    • Subcontractors are those who do construction work for a contractor.
    All contractors must register with HMRC for the CIS. Subcontractors don’t have to register, but deductions are taken from their payments at a higher rate if they’re not registered. You must register as both if you fall under both categories.

    HMRC's CIS guide for contractors and subcontractors explains what is and isn’t covered by the scheme, the guide can be found here.

    CIS in BrightPay

    BrightPay include a full CIS module in all licences at no extra cost. BrightPay caters for all subcontractor types, including companies, trusts, sole traders and partnerships. Payments can be processed on a weekly and/or monthly basis, and subcontractors can be paid a basic gross pay, hourly pay or daily pay.

    When all payments for the tax month have been finalised, BrightPay will offer to create a CIS300 monthly return for submitting to HMRC. The CIS300 informs HMRC of the payments made to subcontractors in the tax month.

    All contractors must complete and submit the monthly return (CIS300) to HMRC, regardless of whether or not you have actually made payments in the preceding month. This monthly return must contain details of all payments made to all subcontractors, regardless of their tax treatment. The monthly return runs from the 6th of month one to the 5th of month two and must be filed with HMRC by the 19th of month two (or 22nd if payment is being made electronically).

    When a contractor engages the services of a subcontractor, the contractor must verify the subcontractor details with HMRC before the contract starts in order to determine the tax treatment of payments to that subcontractor. With BrightPay, you can verify subcontractors with HMRC. Although both weekly and monthly payment runs operate independently of each other, the records are merged for verification requests and monthly returns to HMRC.

    All subcontractors paid under deduction must be issued a ‘Payment and Deduction Statement’. BrightPay can create payment and deduction statements for subcontractors. If you are operating a weekly pay frequency with BrightPay, then a statement will be produced for each payment. Similarly, if you are operating a monthly pay frequency, then a monthly payment statement is produced. These statements can be printed, exported to PDF or emailed directly to the subcontractor.

    In order to assist the user in paying their subcontractors, a dedicated bank payment file facility is available in BrightPay. BrightPay also has a report builder, where you can customise your own CIS reports, depending on your requirements.

    Watch our video to see how CIS works in BrightPay.



    Need assistance with operating CIS in BrightPay? Have a look at our video tutorials or online help guides.

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  • Why should you integrate your payroll solution and your accounting software? Feb 13, 2020

    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 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 has application programming interface (API) integrations in place. 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.

    APIs allow BrightPay to interact with other software solutions – in this case, accounting software programmes, to send the payroll journal to the accounting software directly without the need to export and import the CSV file again.

    At the moment, BrightPay includes accounts integration with software solutions such as QuickBooks Online, Sage One and Xero. More integrations are also coming soon to offer you even more options, namely FreeAgent, Kashflow, AccountsIQ and Twinfield.

    With these integrations in place, BrightPay produces payroll journals in file formats that are unique to these software solutions, allowing users to easily upload their payroll figures into their general ledger.

    CSV export

    Apart from the API integrations, you also have the option to export payroll journals into a CSV file. You can then use these files to import the journals into other accounting software solutions, including Exact, Kashflow, Sage or Quickbooks’ desktop version.

    There is also a generic journal option available that you can use to upload data into other software packages.

    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 systems for sending auto enrolmentcontribution 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 find out more about how BrightPay’s integrations can help you.

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  • What to do if you’ve missed the self-assessment tax return deadline Feb 10, 2020

    The 31st of January has come and gone, the looming deadline a thing of the past… for those who actually hit it. Because, even though 11.1 million upstanding members of society hit the self-assessment tax return deadline just in the nick of time - a whopping 958,296 (that’s nearly ONE MILLION people) ended up missing it.

    Now first things first let me tell you, filing a tax return is no walk in the park. I was one of the lastminute.com wallys, phoning HMRC three days before the deadline in a panic about a figure I couldn’t reconcile and even then I was on hold for about 45 minutes until one of HMRC’s angels answered (they were fab FYI). Well, that’s nothing because on the actual day of the deadline more than 700,000 people submitted their returns, and of those, 25,562 did so in the last hour before the deadline!

    What I’m saying is, we’re all as bad as each other and a lot of us leave things last minute, but even with the best intentions, you may end up missing the deadline as there are just SO many people doing the same thing who also need help. Or maybe you just straight up didn’t care and said you’d do it later. Either way, you’ve missed it, what happens now?

    You guessed it - fines! Except, of course, if you have a genuine excuse for why you missed the deadline as HMRC is actually pretty lenient on this. They have advised that you get in touch with them as soon as possible if this is the case:

    “The department will treat those with genuine excuses leniently, as it focuses penalties on those who persistently fail to complete their tax returns and deliberate tax evaders” - Angela MacDonald, director general for customer services at HMRC.

    Again, it’s best to do this ASAP as fines can be issued immediately for late filings. Which? have put together a succinct and handy summary of what fines you could be expected to pay if you don’t pull the finger out.

    For late tax returns:
    • One day late: £100 fine.
    • Up to three months late: £10 for each additional day (capped at 90 days), plus initial £100 fine.
    • Six months late: Either £300 or 5% of the tax due (whichever is higher), plus the penalties above.
    • 12 months late: All penalties above, plus another £300 or 5% of the tax due. In some cases, you can be fined up to 100% of the tax due.
    For late tax payments:
    • One day late: Charged interest on what you owe (currently 3.25%).
    • 30 days late: Charge of 5% of the tax due.
    • Six months late: Additional 5% charge.
    So come on, don’t put yourself through the stress - get it together and get in touch!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software
  • The amazing HR features of BrightPay Connect Feb 4, 2020

    Did you know BrightPay offers 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!

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

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  • 10 of the most ridiculous excuses and expense claims HMRC have received for late tax returns Jan 29, 2020

    With the 31st of January self-assessment deadline just days away, I thought I’d give you a break from the incessant foretellings of doom about filing your tax returns on time. Let’s have a little laugh instead shall we?

    HMRC have been ruddy good sports and to give us all a giggle they have released a recap of the weirdest, most ridiculous and imaginative excuses and expenses claimed that they have received over the past 10 years from those who had missed the tax deadline.

    Are you ready? Drumroll please, dim the lights. Silence your phones. In reverse order we have:
    • Caravan rental for the Easter weekend

    • I was up a mountain in Wales, and couldn’t find a post box or get an internet signal

    • My dog ate the post… again

    • Claiming £4.50 for sausage and chips meal expenses for 250 days (I see no wrongdoing here)

    • My hamster ate my post

    • I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land (I mean, same)

    • A music subscription so I can listen to music while I work (essential)

    • Pet food for a Shih Tzu ‘guard dog’ (v. ferocious dog)

    • A DJ was too busy with a party lifestyle – spinning the decks... in a bowls club

    • My mother-in-law is a witch and put a curse on me (#1 for a reason!)
    Wow, let’s all stick the kettle on and practice our serious faces while we ingest all of these exquisite examples of the human race’s ingenuity and try our damndest not to burst out laughing. Needless to say, all the expenses and excuses listed above were unsuccessful. (Except for the mother-in-law being a witch because we’ve all been there, right peeps?!)

    So what do the HMRC say to all this? Well, once they've dried their eyes from laughing so much, their mantra is a simple one: honesty is the best policy! Seriously people, if you think you might miss the deadline then just get in touch with them as soon as you can - the earlier they’re contacted, the earlier they can help. And if you have a genuine excuse then they will happily take it into account if you can back it up with evidence. But, for the love of god, do not say that the dog ate your tax return. Give me strength!

    The penalties for late tax returns range from £100 initial fixed penalty to 5% of the tax owed or £300 (whichever is greater). But let’s not let it get to that, get your big boy pants on and file your tax return in time and if you genuinely can’t then don’t end up on this list (unless it beats #1 in which case, I’m all ears).

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne | BrightPay Payroll Software [​IMG]
  • 3 reasons why you might need to file a tax return before January 31st - even if you’re a full-time employee Jan 27, 2020

    Ah January, what a miserable month. Christmas is over, everyone’s off the booze and eating vegan food. We’re all broke and to top it all off you might find yourself needing to file a tax return before the month is over. In fact, there are around 11 million self-assessment tax returns that are expected to be submitted before midnight on January 31st.

    But many will miss the deadline, not because of laziness or apathy or just trying to downright swindle the government - no, it’s because a lot of people don’t realise that they need to fill in a tax return in the first place; especially if they are full time employees who receive a monthly wage. Scared yet? Good. Let’s look at three of the unexpected ways in which you may fall into this category.

    1. Side jobs - In the current economic climate every single one of us is out to make a bit more moolah. Whether this is a little online cross-stitch shop you run, babysitting or writing really funny and interesting blogs - the opportunities are endless and people are cashing in. However, (and not a lot of people realise this), if you're cashing in then so must HMRC. You don’t have to pay any extra tax if your hustle is earning less than £1,000 a year, but if it goes above that then I’m afraid you need to cut a slice of that cake for the tax man.

    2. You make money overseas - Just because you’re making money outside of the UK does not mean it is exempt from UK tax, so if you are earning money this way then chances are you will need to submit a tax return to HMRC. You could be earning money in a number of ways: a freelancing job in a company based abroad, an overseas pension or any foreign-based savings or investments.

      People think “out of sight out of mind” but this is not the case. However, like your side job, you can earn up to £2,000 a year in dividends income (whether it’s UK-based or not) so unless the income is tax-free or tax has already been collected via an adjustment to your PAYE code then a tax return will be required.

    3. You rent space in your home - So this applies not only to a space in your home but your whole home too, should you decide to rent it out. Now hold up, wait a second - this is YOUR house that YOU paid for, why should the tax man get anything? Well, it’s because, as unfair as this may seem, it’s still classed as income. The Government already has a “Rent A Room Scheme” that lets you earn up to £7,500 tax free per year from renting furnished spaces in your home, so they’re not being complete witches about it. This threshold is then halved if you share the income with someone else. So regardless of whether you consider yourself a landlord or someone trying to earn an extra few quid, if you earn over £7,500 then you have to submit a tax return.
    So there you have it! Some of you might be sitting there silently screaming inside with a bead of cold sweat making its way down your spine but fear not, you have until the end of the month to file a tax return should any of the above apply to you. It is very simple, just contact HMRC, your payroll department or accountant to see if you need to submit a tax return. If you do, then you need to apply for a Unique Taxpayers Reference (UTR) number through the www.gov.uk site. Once you have this you need to apply for self-assessment and HMRC will send you a unique code in the post within 7 days that you use to complete your self-assessment online. Enough time to get all your bits in order!

    Phew, now I’m sweating! Good luck and godspeed!

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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne - BrightPay Payroll Software
  • 3 payroll outsourcing myths you need to ignore if you’re an SME Jan 23, 2020

    Companies nowadays have two options when it comes to paying their employees. They can either process their payroll in-house or they can outsource it. Both do exactly what they say on the tin. One means doing your own payroll and the other means letting someone else do it. No brainer, right? Actually, if you dig a bit deeper then no.

    Doing my rounds on the local glitzy and glam payroll circuit I get chatting to all sorts. And a prevailing theme is the complaints from SMEs who have outsourced their payroll only to find themselves lumped with hidden fees; not to mention the lack of flexibility and control once they outsource it.

    Well SMEs, never fear - I’m here to tell you that you no longer have to suffer in silence. I’m here to tell you about how in-house payroll solutions can provide complete control without the hidden fees. So let’s look at some common misconceptions that might keep you at bay.


    1) If we outsource, it will be more cost- effective

    While the true cost behind outsourcing is often difficult to predict, it is undeniable that over time a company may be faced with various hidden fees. These could be anything from the introduction of a new tax or simply a surcharge for certain reports.

    But actually, by bringing your payroll in-house, companies will often see a return on their initial investment in as little as a year. It’s often thought that companies will need to hire additional payroll staff and IT staff to look after it, but in reality, the same staff who give the outsourced payroll information can easily manage the duties for an in-house system. Companies generally have basic IT staff anyway, and besides, with an in-house solution, support is provided by the vendor and the software is automated.


    2) If we bring payroll in-house, we will need to be up to speed with all payroll changes - essentially become tax experts

    Again, a very common belief. But as I mentioned literally 5 seconds ago, any self-respecting in-house payroll system will be fully automated. It will have a whole team behind every upcoming change in payroll legislation; the software itself performs all the necessary calculations.

    Instead of complicating things and making you take night classes to become a payroll expert, the payroll software should simplify all processes for you.


    3) If we outsource, then we don’t need to do any more payroll work - someone else will do all the work

    SMEs are given the wrong impression that they won’t need to worry about payroll functions if they outsource. But in reality, you will still have to send the correct payroll data to the outsourced provider (such as hours worked, holiday pay and tax reliefs). The only difference is you’re giving the information to someone else to process and print off on a payslip.

    Seems a bit counterproductive doesn’t it? If you’re an SME then this should be no sweat off your back and means that you can work to your own deadlines and not that of your payroll providers.

    So there you have it. Don’t get me wrong, outsourcing payroll can be hugely beneficial for large companies but if you’re an SME then it makes sense to keep it in-house as long as you have the right software in place.

    Luckily, BrightPay is here to help. Their fully automated and GDPR compliant software is perfect to manage your payroll from the comfort of your own couch or wherever your office may be.

    Check out the benefits yourself at www.brightpay.co.uk or book a 20 minute online demo today.


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    Written by Aoibheann Byrne - BrightPay Payroll Software
  • BrightPay Connect - The perfect HR solution Jan 15, 2020

    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