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Workplace pensions: Auto-enrolment - For Accountants...

Workplace pensions
and Auto-enrolment
for Accountants



A recent survey showed that 74% of small & micro businesses expected some help from their accountant with AE but only 22% of accountants have finalised their AE proposition.


So, as a practice, how will you offer workplace pensions advice to your clients?


What help could you offer?

 

If you're expanding the level of support for your client you need to make sure you clearly define what you are and what you will not be supporting for your client in the AE process. (Issue new or refined T&C's).

Pension selection

 

While the guidance from FCA & TPR is that "Advice to employers on scheme selection is not regulated" most accountants will not be comfortable in selecting the pension scheme. It is the responsibility of the employer to determine which pension provider they will choose.

Accountants won't offer advice

 

Although it might be expected that you will support your clients with the new legislation for workplace pensions, you won't be expected to act as a financial advisor, as The Pensions Regulator state below:

 

"An accountant is unlikely to be in a position to provide financial advice (e.g. expected returns on an employee's pensions) but that they would be able to explain the tax implications & impact of AE (costs etc.) on the business".

What can you offer?

 

Researching what the workplace pension costs your clients will incur is an integral role for accountants. Understanding the fees that are involved with setting up Auto-enrolment (especially around contribution, set up and management costs) will ensure your clients feel confident in approach

 

Another way that you can help your clients is around providing support on which pension scheme makes sense for them. However, this is something that shouldn't be solely based on financial implications. Further, you'll need the appropriate training coupled with your own extensive research before you offer this support.

 

Finally, you can help your client seek out reputable sources of information on workplace pensions, such as NEST or The Pensions Regulator to help them stay compliant with Auto-enrolment.

Helping businesses communicate workplace pensions to their staff

 

One of the key aspects of Auto-enrolment is the communication from the employer to the staff. You can help your client with this.

 

It is essential that you clearly define what communication support you will provide in this instance. If the employer is the client and the Accountant provides staff communication on behalf of the client make sure there is no direct communication with employees. This may be particularly problematic with micro business where the distinction between a company and its employees may be a fine one.

Helping with Contributions

 

Your client may require help with the contributions they need to make for workplace pensions. Again, deciding how you will support them will be essential. An effective payroll solution will manage the calculations and submissions to pension providers.

 

Reconciliation of the pension deductions and liabilities against the actual payments made to the Pension Provider may be required, particularly if there are individuals who want to opt out of the workplace pension scheme.

Auto-enrolment doesn't stop after you stage

 

Although we have focused on the initial stages of Auto-enrolment, it is important to state that it is an on-going process. There are other requirements that your clients may need specific help with:

 

  • Opt-outs - For individuals who want to exit a workplace pension scheme, refunds of contribution & reconciliation of the accounts will be necessary
  • Opt-in & joiners - For new starters and individuals who now qualify for a workplace pension, the correct contributions need to be collected and paid
  • Ceased membership - ensure that the contributions are stopped in a timely manner
  • Monitoring Age changes and requirements - turning 22 and reaching SPA
  • Tri-annual re-enrolment

Learn more about Auto-enrolment

What is Auto-enrolment?

 

With major changes taking place with workplace pensions, make sure you’re up to date on what Auto-enrolment is and what it means for your business.

Read Article

Who is eligible for Auto-enrolment?

 

Not all of your employees will need to be Auto-enrolled. Find out what you need to know about staff opt-in and opt-outs here.

Read Article

Your Auto-enrolment Timeline

 

You’ve got your staging date. Now what? Take a look at the 10 steps you need to take to stay compliant with workplace pensions.

Read Article

Set up Auto-enrolment in QuickBooks

 

We’ve developed our product so that you manage Auto-enrolment, all in QuickBooks Online.

Read Article

A Year in the Life...

 

Join us as we spend a year following a charity, The Counselling Foundation, as they make sense of Auto-enrolment.

Read Article

Important pricing terms, offer details and disclosures
  1. Intuit do not receive any commission from any pension provider.