Jan 2022

19

Automatic enrolment for accountants: Lessons learned from the UK

It is a decade this year since auto enrolment was rolled out in the UK. Created to address a growing pensions crisis caused by a lack of retirement savings, an increasing life expectancy, and an overall older population, it was brought into law with the Pensions Act 2008.

The policy is widely considered to have been successful as it has certainly reversed the decline in workplace pension saving. The introduction of auto enrolment led to a tenfold increase in total membership of defined contribution occupational schemes, up from 2.1 million in 2011 to 21 million in 2019.

 

What is auto enrolment?

In the UK, auto, or automatic enrolment requires employers to automatically enrol eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme. Both the employer and the employee must pay minimum contributions into the pension pot. All other employees have the right to join or opt-in to the workplace pension scheme, depending on their age and earnings.

It began with a phased rollout, first by employer size, starting with large employers in 2012, followed by mid-sized employers in 2014, and then small employers between 2016 and 2018. The minimum contributions rates were also phased in, beginning at a 1% employer contribution and a 1% worker contribution before steadily increasing to its full amount in April 2019, that of 3% from employers, 4% from employees, and 1% tax relief.

Find out what to expect with auto enrolment in Ireland here.

 

The opportunities of auto enrolment

Auto enrolment will mean different things for different people. While it may offer employees reassurance for their future, it may also cause a considerable challenge for employers to fund this extra expense. However, if its rollout in Ireland is similar to the UK, it will also create considerable opportunities. By introducing auto enrolment, the UK government effectively created a new market for pension providers, asset managers, and other financial institutions, while also creating a new and considerable service that accountants and bookkeepers could offer to their clients.

UK accountants, bureaus, and bookkeepers offering auto enrolment typically package their AE services as one that offers expert knowledge on the topic, ensures compliance, and will see payroll processed without a hitch. Common features of this service include:

  • Assessing clients’ employee eligibility
  • Assist on pension scheme selection and assistance with set-up on the scheme
  • Auto enrol clients’ employees into their chosen pension scheme
  • Issuing employee communications on behalf of their clients
  • Provide on-going administration of auto enrolment
  • Manage employees opting out or postponing auto enrolment
  • Re-enrolment of employees
  • Submitting Declarations of Compliance to The Pensions Regulator
  • Ensure their clients legal obligations are met

Avoiding the pitfalls of auto enrolment

While auto enrolment may represent a potential new service you can offer to your clients, you should be cautious as to how you present this service. At the beginning of the auto enrolment roll-out in the UK, accountants and bookkeepers were uncertain of how to offer these services and how much to charge for them. Many were caught out by undervaluing the service. It’s important to get the pricing right from the start, to avoid having to increase costs on your clients.

How do I choose the correct pricing strategy for auto enrolment?

A number of pricing strategies are now in use, including a tiered pricing strategy, a monthly retainer fee, and a price list strategy.

  • A tiered strategy allows you to provide AE services at different price points for different levels of service. For example, with each higher tier you can add on services such as postponement, declaration of compliance, and payroll & pension reporting.
  • A monthly retainer fee sees bureaus increase their monthly charge for processing payroll to include the additional AE duties. The monthly payment will spread the cost of auto enrolment over a period of time, and it is typically offered as part of a contract.
  • Alternatively, you can choose a price list strategy where you present a menu of the services with each item priced. With this strategy, there is also an option to offer bundle deals, for example if the client buys more than five tasks or services.

Each of these different pricing strategies outline clear deliverables for the client. They offer clarity, choice and control for the client, while being a profitable service for you.

 

How do I choose the best payroll software for auto enrolment?

The rollout of auto enrolment may be stressful, for both you and your clients. The payroll software you use will not only decide what auto enrolment services you can offer but also the time you spend carrying out these services, and thus, the extra workload you must take on.

In a letter sent in July to Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, Chartered Accountants Ireland wrote that payroll service providers have requested a lead in time of at least 18 months in order to adopt auto enrolment. However, with 9 years' experience providing full auto enrolment functionality to our UK customers, Thesaurus Software have the resources and knowledge necessary to quickly begin updating the payroll software with these features.

Thesaurus Payroll Manager will offer full auto enrolment functionality at no additional cost. All Thesaurus Payroll Manager packages will include auto enrolment plus free phone and email support to help you through your auto enrolment journey.

 

Discover more:

To discover more about Thesaurus Payroll Manager and how it can improve your payroll services and save you time, download a 60-day free trial.

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Posted byÁine CourtneyinAuto Enrolment


Jan 2022

6

Thesaurus Customer Update: January 2022

Welcome to Thesaurus Software's January update. Our most important news this month include:


5 ways to boost the efficiency of your payroll process      

Boost the efficiency of your payroll process by using cloud technology. Thesaurus Connect enables your HR and payroll processes to be more streamlined than ever before. Join our webinar to find out how your business can benefit.


How to make a profit while streamlining your payroll services 

Kick-off the new year by aligning your payroll software around key goals that will help propel your company into the future! By introducing cloud technology to your payroll, such as Thesaurus Connect, your payroll and HR processes can be more streamlined than ever before.


New integration with Surf Accounts (coming soon) 

Using API technology, Thesaurus Payroll Manager will produce the payroll journal in a file format that is unique to Surf Accounts. This allows users to easily send their payroll figures into their general ledger at the click of a button and avoid any manual processing errors.


Signing into Thesaurus Connect 2022 

Once you have downloaded Thesaurus Payroll Manager 2022, it is essential that Thesaurus Connect users sign into their 2022 software to avoid their account expiring. Please follow the simple steps below to ensure that you continue to use the amazing features of Thesaurus Connect while securely backing up your payroll data.


Transform your payroll this year with digital banking 

Thesaurus Payroll Manager users now have access to Modulr, the payments platform behind banking app Revolut, to pay employees. Having an integrated system between the payroll software and the digital finance platform can offer a smoother, more efficient payroll workflow each pay period.

 

Posted byHolly McHughinCustomer Update


Jan 2022

6

Transform your payroll this year with digital banking

Similar to their European counterparts, Irish consumers have increasingly moved online, both for their shopping and for their banking. Over the past year, consumers who had previously never used digital channels turned to online and mobile banking for the first time. The use of cash declined while contactless payments surged, with a record €1 billion payments made in May 2021. While the use of digital banking has been on the rise for a number of years now, the pandemic urgently accelerated a shift in digital behaviour. A survey conducted at the start of this year found that 69% of Irish consumers trust digital banking providers with 62% of these saying it was due to the simplicity of their services.

It should come as no surprise that this change in digital behaviour is also reflected in how businesses are managing their payments. As technology continues to advance and consumers become more experienced with digital banking, their behaviour is reflected in their decision making in the workplace. This has already been seen in the payroll sector.

In the UK, we’ve seen payroll processors adopt digital banking solutions in order to improve their payroll workflow, have more flexibility with making payments, and to send faster payments to their employees. Accountants and payroll bureaus have also begun offering it as a new service to customers.

How does digital banking improve the payroll workflow?

An integrated system between the payroll software and the digital finance platform can offer a smoother, more efficient payroll workflow. Using an API (Application Programming Interface) users can initiate payments from within the payroll software enabling them to pay employees and subcontractors with a few clicks of a button. It saves time and is more efficient.

How does digital banking offer more flexibility?

Those payroll processors experienced with using traditional bank payment methods will be used to the overly long process of submitting bank files every month or even every fortnight, to pay employees’ wages. You’re typically required to submit bank payment files at least three days in advance of when the payment is due which can be quite a manual process with numerous steps involved in it.

Digital banks offering access to the Single Euro Payment Area (SEPA) allows businesses to send payments across the EU member states (and 8 other countries) and can also offer the option of EUR and GBP accounts. Payments can be sent on the day they’re due (before 2.00pm) and if they’re sent any time after that or sent on a non-working day, they’ll arrive by the following working day.

How can payroll processors access digital banking?

Thesaurus payroll software users now have access to Modulr, the payments platform behind banking app Revolut, to pay employees. Payroll processors looking to speed up their workflow with a more convenient payment method will have access to SEPA credit transfers. By signing up to Modulr, the payroll processor can initiate payment from within Thesaurus payroll software once the payroll has been finalised. The payment then needs to be approved by two-factor authentication using their phone before being sent to employees.

Learn more about Thesaurus payroll software’s integration with Modulr.

What is the future of SEPA?

SEPA is a much better alternative to bank payment files which is why there has been such an uptake of it across the EU. It allows for quicker payments and faster processing times. However, as part of their long-term strategy, the European Payments Council have developed SEPA Instant Payments. With this, users can send payments instantly 24/7. While this has not been rolled out by retail banks in Ireland yet, it’s likely we’ll see the rollout of this by more digital banks in the near future. Stay posted!

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Posted byÁine CourtneyinPayrollSEPA


Dec 2021

20

2021 Christmas Opening Hours

All of the staff here at Thesaurus Software would like to thank you for your valued custom in 2021. We would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Here are our opening hours for the Christmas period:      

Monday 20th  09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Tuesday 21st  09:30 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Wednesday 22nd  09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Thursday 23rd  09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Friday 24th  Closed
Saturday 25th Closed
Sunday 26th Closed
Monday 27th Closed
Tuesday 28th Closed
Wednesday 29th 09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Thursday 30th  09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Friday 31st  09:00 - 13:00 | 14:00 - 17:00
Saturday 1st January Closed
Sunday 2nd January Closed
Monday 3rd January Closed

 

To contact our support team, you can call us on 01 8352074, email us at support@thesaurus.ie or complete our online form.

Visit online documentation Online form

Posted byÁine CourtneyinNews


Dec 2021

15

How to avoid employees carrying over their annual leave into the new year

For most employers in Ireland, their annual leave year runs from January to December and an employee’s annual leave entitlements will depend on how much they’ve worked that year. As we get closer to the end of 2021, you may notice some employees who still have days or maybe even weeks left to take. Depending on what type of business you’re in, this could be a real headache to deal with. For example, if you are in retail, giving employees time off at Christmas could be impractical.

Some employees may ask if they can carry over their leftover leave into 2022. According to Citizen’s Information, annual leave should be taken within the leave year it was earned. Whether or not an employee can carry over annual leave entitlements will depend on the policy you have in place. Some employers will agree to allow employees to carry over untaken annual leave within 6 months of the relevant leave date, while others may allow employees to carry over leave even further. It is important to note, if an employee is on extended sick leave, then legally, they are allowed to carry over any unused leave for up to 15 months after the end of the year it was earned.

While in most cases allowing an employee to carry over annual leave shouldn’t be a problem, it can become impractical, especially when you have a lot of employees wanting to do so. Making sure your employees take their annual leave within the year it was earned can help avoid employee burnout as it encourages them to take more regular breaks. It also prevents employees saving up their annual leave and using it all in one go which could result in your business being short staffed for a long period.

Whatever you decide, it is important that you have an annual leave policy in place which clearly outlines whether employees can carry over leave from one year to the next. If you would rather a “use it or lose it” policy where employees must take their leave within the year it was earned, then it is important that you carefully track employees’ leave taken and remaining. Doing this will help you avoid having employees on leave, when you may need them most.

If you would like a ready-made annual leave policy which you can tailor to your own needs, visit our sister company Bright Contracts to find out more, or book a free online demo with a member of their team today.

How can I keep track of employees’ annual leave?

If you have a lot of employees, it can be difficult to keep track of everyone’s annual leave. Luckily, your payroll software can help. Thesaurus Payroll Manager used alongside our optional cloud add-on  Thesaurus Connect has an annual leave management feature which allows employers and employees to keep track of annual leave taken and remaining.

1. View a company-wide calendar of employees’ past and scheduled leave

When you open up Thesaurus Connect’s employer dashboard, from the calendar tab, you can view a company-wide calendar which shows all your employees past and scheduled leave. The calendar makes it easier for you when you need to decide whether or not you will approve an employee’s request for time off.

2. Let employees request leave through their phone

Thesaurus Connect also includes an employee smartphone app which the employee can use to request leave. From the app the employee simply selects the days which they would like off, the type of leave (paid or un-paid) and the times (e.g. a half day). Employees can request leave anytime, anywhere, even on the go. Once a leave request is approved the calendar on the employer dashboard is automatically updated.

3. Let employees know how much leave they have remaining without having to ask you

Another great feature of the Thesaurus Connect’s employee app is that when an employee opens the app, they can see how much leave they have used so far that year and the amount of leave they have remaining. When an employee can easily keep track of the amount of leave they have used it means they will be less likely to have leave left over by the end of the year.

While some employees will still need an extra nudge to remind them to take their full annual leave entitlements before the end of the year, Thesaurus Connect can greatly help payroll processers in keeping track of who has leave left to take. This can help avoid employees carrying over annual leave days and having too many employees requesting to take leave at the end of the year.

To learn more about how Thesaurus Connect can help you manage your employee’s annual leave, why not book a free online demo today.

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Posted byElaine CarrollinAnnual LeaveBrightPay Connect


Dec 2021

1

Thesaurus Customer Update: December 2021

Welcome to Thesaurus Software's December update. Our most important news this month include:


Time to renew your 2022 payroll licence

The quickest and easiest way to purchase your 2022 licence is online. The order process is straightforward and takes approximately 3 minutes to complete. Once your order is complete, you will receive your invoice along with your licence key which you will need to activate your 2022 licence.

Please note: Thesaurus Payroll Manager 2022 has not been released yet. We will send you another email once the software is available to download and install. The estimated release date is mid-December.


No annual leave headaches this Christmas  

Trying to accommodate staff leave over the Christmas period can be stressful as it's a very busy time for leave requests. Thesaurus Connect's annual leave management tool will ensure managing staff holidays over the Christmas period is a stress-free experience for everyone.


Purchase One4all gift cards 

You can purchase One4all gift cards in Thesaurus Payroll Manager. Employees can receive a gift card completely tax-free each year, up to a maximum of €500. This is the perfect gift to give employees to reward them this Christmas.

Please make sure you are using the latest version of Thesaurus Payroll Manager when purchasing One4all gift cards.


4 payroll resolutions for January 2022 

With the new year approaching, now is the perfect time to reflect on your business’s past year and decide what you want to do differently for 2022 to grow the success of your business. Here are four payroll resolutions that you could take on for 2022.


Free Webinar: Pay employees through Thesaurus Payroll Manager  

Thesaurus Software have recently partnered with Modulr, the payments platform, to enable the ability to pay employees directly through Thesaurus Payroll Manager with same-day payments and without the need to create bank payment files. Register for our upcoming webinar on 9th December.

 

Posted byHolly McHughinCustomer Update


Nov 2021

30

4 mistakes to avoid when running payroll

Thesaurus Payroll Manager's optional add-on product, Thesaurus Connect, unlocks powerful cloud features that help improve your payroll processes. Below, we outline 4 mistakes that you should be avoiding when running payroll, and what solutions both Thesaurus Payroll Manager and Thesaurus Connect can offer to ensure that your business is safe and secure using the latest technology. 


1. Failing to back up your payroll data

It is highly recommended that you always keep a back-up of your payroll data. Using a cloud platform such as Thesaurus Connect or an external device to back up data is the safest option to ensure you never lose valuable information, should something happen to your computer.

 

2. Complicated annual leave process

Do you need an easy-to-use leave management tool? With Thesaurus Connect, employees can request annual leave through their own self-service portal. Once approved, the leave will be automatically synchronised to the payroll software on the desktop.

 

3. Inefficiency and human error

Your efficiency when running payroll will depend greatly on the level of automation used. Automation cuts down on the repetition of uncomplicated tasks. Thesaurus Software's automation includes payments platform Modulr to help reduce the risk of errors.

 

4. Not complying with GDPR

Using GDPR compliant payroll software means you and your employees can rest assured that all personal data is stored and managed in a safe and secure manner. Click here to find out how Thesaurus Connect is helping with GDPR.

Book a Thesaurus Connect Demo

Watch this short video for an overview of how your business can benefit from Thesaurus Connect.

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Nov 2021

29

Your payroll resolutions for the new year

New year’s resolutions can divide people into two camps. Those who love to start the new year with a clean slate and fresh goals, and those who’ve lost all optimism and scoff at their naivety. Understandably, there are cynics. Changing your behaviour is hard and more often than not, these resolutions fail. The resolutions most likely to fail are those that are too vague with no clear path on how to achieve them.

If you’re setting resolutions for your business or job this year, then break them up into manageable and uncomplicated steps. You’ve likely heard of SMART goals – specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time limited. If you’re looking to improve your business, for example, the payroll service you offer, then using this established tool is how you can go about it. Rather than simply saying “I want to make my payroll services better for clients” or “I want to reduce the time I spend on payroll”, decide on specific goals which will help you achieve this.

Achieving payroll goals for 2022

1. Provide an employee app for your clients
This one is a specific, easily achievable goal that can help you provide a better payroll service to your clients. Employee apps have risen in use in recent years and are popular among employers and employees alike. Thesaurus Connect, the cloud add-on to Thesaurus Payroll Manager, includes one and your clients will immediately gain extra value from it. Their employees can book their annual leave through the employee app, view confidential documents, and use it to view their payslips. From a marketing perspective, an employee app can also have multiple benefits. The extra value if offers can encourage customer loyalty, and its frequent use by clients and their employees can increase awareness of your business.

2. Offer clients instant access to reports

Similar to the goal above, this is a simple and achievable step that you can take to improve your payroll services. By using Thesaurus Connect, you can offer your clients access to payroll reports whenever they like. This can be more convenient for your clients and can reduce the amount of back-and-forth communication between you and the client.


Once you finalise payroll on Thesaurus Payroll Manager, the report will automatically become available for the client to view via their Thesaurus Connect self-service portal. Your clients will also be able to use the portal to access a number of preprogramed reports, as well as any other payroll reports which have been set up and saved on the payroll application.

3. Spend less time on manual entry

By setting this goal you can reduce the overall time you spend on delivering your payroll services. How can you go about this? First, decide where you want to reduce manual entry. For example, how you pay employees is a good place to start. By using a payroll software which is integrated with a payments platform, you can send wages on behalf of your client to their employees instantly. This means you no longer need to spend time creating bank files. To learn more about the integration with Modulr, click here. 

4. Review your GDPR compliance

It’s always advisable to review your compliance with GDPR and ensure you’re keeping your client’s payroll data secure. By keeping on top of this, you can assure clients that security is a priority for your practice. Make sure the data you collect is the minimum amount required and remember to provide your clients and their employees access to their personal information. Again, an employee app can help with this. Using Thesaurus Connect, employees can view and update their personal information, whenever they like.

Discover more:

Now that you’ve decided on what steps you can take to improve your payroll services, make sure you have the right payroll software and employee app to support you. Book a demo today to discover more about Thesaurus Connect. 


Nov 2021

22

Christmas bonuses and One4All gift cards: your festive payroll guide covered

It’s coming close to the end-of-year madness, and as payroll processors you’re likely to be particularly busy in the lead-up to Christmas. Between managing the annual leave requests, Christmas bonuses, and holiday pay, there are a quite a few payroll tasks to sort out. To help you with this, we’ve put together a few key points to remember if you’re processing the payroll this Christmas.

Christmas Bonuses:

A Christmas bonus can put a smile on every employee’s face and can be the perfect way to say ‘thank you’ for all the hard work done during a difficult year. However, it’s important you don’t get caught out on tax implications.

Under Revenue’s Small Business Exemption Scheme, employers can gift employees and directors a small benefit of up to €500 in value, tax free, each year. Certain guidelines must be followed:

  • This benefit cannot be in cash.
  • Only one such benefit can be given to an employee in one tax year. Only the first one qualifies for tax free status, even if you do not offer the full €500.

With this tax-free benefit, you have the potential to save up to €653.65 in tax per employee as the total cost of a net €500 gift paid through payroll is €1,153.65. Remember though, if a benefit exceeds €500 in value, the full value of that benefit is subject to tax.

In order to qualify for the small benefit exemption, it is important that gift cards are not given to employees as a salary sacrifice. This means you cannot fund the bonus from a deduction of your employee’s salary. The rewards must be invoiced and paid external to payroll.

Vouchers:

  • Tax-free vouchers are a popular way of gifting a Christmas bonus to employees.
  • Tax-free vouchers can be used only to purchase goods or services.
  • The tax-free vouchers must be purchased from the business bank account or credit card.
  • Employees or directors cannot purchase a voucher themselves and seek reimbursement for it.

One4all gift cards are commonly used as they allow employees to choose a gift from over 11,000 retailers. They also don’t charge over administration, service, or delivery.

If you’re a Thesaurus Payroll Manager customer, you can purchase One4all gift cards through the software. The software's integration with One4all allows you to easily purchase the cards, and more importantly, it can keep track of your purchases. This ensures that you’ll be notified if you attempt to purchase more than one gift card for an employee in any one tax year. Click the link to discover more about how the integration between Thesaurus Payroll Manager and One4All works.

Please note: to use the One4All feature on Thesaurus Payroll Manager you must have upgraded to the latest version of the software.

When to pay employees in December:

It’s common for many businesses to have a different payroll date in December. Often, employees will be paid earlier in December so they can cover their holiday expenses and because many businesses are closed at the end of the month.

It's likely only your monthly paid employees will be affected by this. If you plan to pay employees early, make sure you give yourself enough time to process the payroll in advance. Give your employees notice of the change in pay date and enough time that they can submit their expenses if they have any. Remember to make provisions to ensure that you report your employees’ pay to Revenue on or before the pay date.

Managing annual leave requests:

Christmas can be a very busy time for many businesses, and it may also be a time when employees are most looking to take annual leave. While you need to ensure you have enough employees working to cover this busy period, you should also look to be as fair as possible.

It’s recommended that you have a clear policy on holiday requests. Most often, a “first-come, first-served” approach is used. This provides a fair and transparent method for all employees. One way of achieving this is by using an employee app. Thesaurus Connect, a cloud add-on to Thesaurus Payroll Manager, includes an employee self-service platform which can be accessed online or through the Thesaurus Connect employee app. The app gives employees access to a self-service portal that they can use to request leave at any time. Once a request has been made, the employer or their manager, will be notified of it. When a request has been made it is time stamped, allowing you to see the order in which they come in. The employee will then be notified if the request has been accepted or rejected. Thesaurus Connect also includes a company-wide calendar for the employer to view so that you can ensure that there is adequate staffing before approving an annual leave request.

Discover more

Interested in learning more about annual leave management on Thesaurus Connect? Book a free online demo here for a detailed walkthrough of everything Thesaurus Connect has to offer you and your business.

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Posted byÁine CourtneyinAnnual LeaveBrightPay ConnectPayroll


Nov 2021

1

Thesaurus Customer Update: November 2021

Welcome to Thesaurus Software's November update. Our most important news this month include:


New: Pay Employees through Thesaurus Payroll Manager

Thesaurus Payroll Manager is excited to introduce our latest integration with the payments platform, Modulr. This integration will give you a fast, secure and easy way to pay employees through the software without the need to create bank files. Join our free webinar to find out how it works.


What to Include in a Hybrid Working Policy 

Having hybrid working policies and agreements in place is essential when returning employees to the office and agreeing on a split between working remotely and working in the office. Book a demo of Bright Contracts to see how they can help your business today.


Reward your employees with a One4all gift card

With Halloween officially over for another year, it’s time to start preparing for the festive season, in particular, how you would like to reward your employees. Did you know, you can purchase One4all gift cards for employees through Thesaurus Payroll Manager?! Employers can give a gift card of up to €500 tax-free to employees.


Next Generation Payroll Trends for Accountants 

In today’s world, payroll can (and should) be profitable for accountants. Join our upcoming webinar where we explore various ways that accountants can automate payroll processes and become more efficient.


The App that Every Business should be using 

Give employees more control with Thesaurus Connect’s employee self-service app. Employees can view their payslips and HR documents, request annual leave and view their leave balance taken and remaining and can even update their personal details. Book a free 15-minute demo to find out more.


The Year that was: 2021 in Review 

2021 was a year of both personal and business challenges. COVID-19 changed life as we knew it and resulted in a lot of changes being made worldwide. New policies were introduced, people's places of work changed as well as a number of other adjustments.

Join Bright Contracts for a look back at 2021 where we detail all the employment law changes that were made and a look forward as to what the year 2022 will bring.

 

Posted byHolly McHughinCustomer Update