By David White, Managing Director of Creative Auto Enrolment

The laws requiring businesses to get ready for auto enrolment are an important step forwards, encouraging employees to save toward their pension as early as possible so they have enough funds for their retirement. However as staging dates ramp up, and more businesses are reaching their deadlines, knowing how to handle auto enrolment should be an urgent priority, and small businesses need to know how it affects them.

Our recent research found that a significant proportion of small businesses (28%) feel there is not enough support for tackling auto enrolment legislation. Of those, 70% admit they don’t know who to turn to and 24% don’t believe their advisers know enough about the subject. With so much uncertainty surrounding the auto enrolment process, it’s easy to see why people are becoming confused.

With this in mind, providing support for small businesses approaching their staging date is paramount to helping Britain’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) economy dodge major fines. The reality is that the daunting concept of auto enrolment can be a much less intimidating task than people believe, with the right help.

Research auto enrolment:

You need to know how your business will be affected , as taking the risk of doing nothing can be hugely detrimental to your company. 11% of the small businesses we polled were unaware of what auto enrolment is, meaning their ability to tackle it would be seriously diminished.

Ask for help:

If you’re not sure what your responsibilities are, ask your accountant or financial adviser. Not only will this help you navigate some of the more complex aspects of the process, you will be able to be confident that you have left no stone unturned and therefore avoid any fines for unintentional non-compliance. Alternatively find a full solution that handles the auto enrolment process for you.

Don’t put your head in the sand:

12% of those polled said they planned to avoid auto enrolment completely. That would lead to escalating penalty fines that can costs businesses literally thousands. While more than a fifth admit that they put off tasks they know are important but don’t enjoy doing, auto enrolment shouldn’t be one of them.

Sign up early:

Sign up with a provider and/or a solution that provides a scheme for you and also helps with your compliance duties, regardless of when you are due to stage. Doing so means that you can be safe in the knowledge that you – and more importantly your employees – won’t get left behind when it comes to securing a pension scheme and a solution for your employees.

Leave plenty of time:

If you are planning to handle the auto enrolment process yourself, remember there are 33 different tasks to complete – many of which are a lot more complex than they seem. However long you think you need, factor in additional time.