By Daniel Hunter

New research of 600 small business owners from software and services provider Sage UK has revealed that cash-flow is set to become more challenging when auto enrolment is introduced, business owner’s fear.

This impact is the biggest concern for small business owners when it comes to implementing automatic enrolment (29%). The findings of the study are announced as Sage launches its new specialist auto enrolment software, Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition & Sage 50 Payroll Pensions Module

A lack of understanding of the new legislation is cited by nearly 1 in 10 (9.5%) of respondents, while just under 9% of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) felt that updating payroll processes and the increased administrative burden was the biggest worry.

Auto Enrolment is part of the government’s workplace pensions reform legislation that aims to address the long term pension’s crisis by increasing the number of people in the UK who regularly pay into a pension, achieved by automatically enrolling eligible employees into a scheme. Auto enrolment requires both employees and employers to contribute into a qualifying pension scheme.

Whilst this legislation is changing the way people behave in relation to long term saving, it has a serious impact on small businesses which must comply with the legislation. A recent paper by the Centre of Business and Economics research predicted that the cost of auto enrolment to each business will be up to £28,300 with an additional 101 man hours required to tackle the increased administration.

Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition and The Pensions Module have been created to put small businesses in control of their auto enrolment preparation, providing all the information they need for a seamless and stress free move to fulfilling their new responsibilities.

Lee Perkins, Managing Director of Sage’s Start up and Small Business Division commented: “It’s worrying to see that some of businesses main concerns have to do with the administration burden of auto enrolment, when it can be largely mitigated by employing the proper tools. We’ve built Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment edition to help businesses use their known and existing payroll processes to do all the heavy lifting. Ensuring compliance with the new legislation is key, but just like with RTI, business owners will need support to lighten the admin load and we’ve brought all our experience to the new products to help cut down on the number of man hours auto enrolment will require.”

Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition is the latest feature release of Sage 50 Payroll and has been designed to handle all of the critical preparations employers need to make ahead of their staging date to ensure that their auto enrolment transition is seamless and stress free. Key performance upgrades include:

- Pensions Centre — Everything the employer needs to get prepared: action planning, progress tools, reminders and support, all delivered in the most user friendly format

- Automatic Enrolment Cost Forecaster — Everything needed to calculate the current and future cost of Automatic Enrolment for the employer, providing the information required to minimise the financial burden of Automatic Enrolment

- Sage Business Community — In-product access to Sage Business Community where payroll users can share common experiences of Automatic Enrolment and benefit from peer to peer support

Launched at the same time, the Sage 50 Payroll Pensions Module is a brand new piece of software that seamlessly integrates with Sage 50 Payroll Automatic Enrolment Edition and automates significant amounts of the administrative burden of Automatic Enrolment.

Features of the Pensions Module include:

- Automated assessment categorisation enrolment & postponement: For many employers Automatic Enrolment results in the running of many reports, manually working through the reports to identify those who need a pension, those who might need a pension and those who don’t want one. The Pensions Module automates this process at the click of a button enabling employers to quickly ‘top and tail’ the list.

- Straight forward data & payments to pension providers: The pension provider needs the correct information, in the correct format, at the correct time, which can be a major headache for employers. The Pensions Module identifies the correct information, in the correct format to transmit at the click of a mouse, prompting the correct time to send this to NEST and the People’s Pension with seamless report creation for NOW pensions — with more and more pensions providers being added.

- Automatically generated communications to employees: Employees need individualised letters or emails in the correct format and at the time specified by the Pensions Regulator. The Pensions Module writes the communications for employers, so all that is left to do is send.

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