What is it about pensions that causes so many shoulders in the payroll profession to slump whenever the subject is raised?
Now, if you are picturing a pensions nerd trying to engineer conversations about pensions along the lines of “what are they?”, “how do they work?” and “why should I pay into one given that I won’t see the benefit until I’m old when I could just pay off my mortgage and then downsize?” then please think again. [If I’d managed to come up with entertaining ways of successfully getting those messages over to an uninterested audience, I would now have a stellar career in pension communications because – let’s be honest – the pension industry still hasn’t made that breakthrough to the wider populace.]
The slumping shoulders is purely brought about by asking the question “How is Automatic Enrolment working for you?”. I’ve been asking the same question for years (to a wide variety of different people) and yet the response is still unremittingly the same.
The vast majority of the payroll profession (including specialist payrollers, accountants and bookkeepers) are still not aware that for the major pension providers for Automatic Enrolment (i.e. those where the majority of workers have their pension “pots”) can have pension data automatically sent to them each pay period in pretty much the same way that their FPS and EPS data goes to the HMRC.
Automating pension submissions has numerous benefits if done properly:
- no CSV files
- less time spent submitting pension data
- fewer data errors (again less time)
- errors fixed within the payroll software rather than in the provider’s site
- independent confirmation of whether the scheme is RAS or NPA
- one single submission (even where the non-automated process requires 2 or 3 CSV files to be submitted)
- automated contribution collection (no forgetting to trigger that NEST contribution collection)
- exactly the same process for all providers
Obviously, the caveat for enjoying all of the above is that your payroll software has built the full automated links to each of the providers and not just the easy ones that allows them to claim “automated submissions”.
It’s not a magic bullet – some pension providers don’t allow automation (some even still require payroll to do the assessment within their own systems – crazy or what?). But, the amazing thing to me is how many payroll bureaux, accountants and bookkeepers are still not aware that data automation is out there.
Well, it is and has been for years. Tell a friend, or a colleague.
Pension submissions still ranks up there as one of the biggest inefficiencies in a payroll bureau setting (alongside uploading timesheet and expense data into payroll and updating the ledgers in accounting software – both of which are also standard, fully automated solutions within KeyPay).
And why am I writing another blog about Automatic Enrolment pension submissions? Well, KeyPay has just upgraded how it handles Automatic Enrolment within payroll.
Not, incidentally, in respect of pension data automation – we’ve been doing that since day 1 (via our integration with pensionsync). We’ve just spent time on re-working the process to make it more streamlined for payroll administrators so that they can spend even less time on pension calculations and submissions and more time on using their skills on payroll.
So, pin your shoulders back and put a smile on your face knowing you can spend less time thinking about pensions – your future well-being depends on it!