Navigating the auto-enrolment maze
Gill McClelland, Regional Partnership Manager of NOW: Pensions, discusses the auto-enrolment maze and the opportunities for accountants, ahead of the ICAS Practitioners' Conference.
Auto-enrolment is rapidly gathering pace. This month, employers with fewer than 30 staff began complying and next year over half a million firms will be affected across the length and breadth of the country.
Sometimes it feels like auto-enrolment is more advanced than it really is. While five million people have already been auto-enrolled, only three per cent of employers have so far been affected. The biggest challenge is certainly yet to come.
But, despite the looming deadline, research NOW: Pensions recently conducted with 269 small firms who are yet to stage, revealed that one in four businesses haven't given any thought to how they'll find a pension provider for their workforce.
While this is an improvement on 2014 when four in 10 SMEs we surveyed said they hadn't thought about it, it still means that almost 350,000 businesses are unprepared.
Of those firms that have thought about how they'll go about finding a provider, over a quarter say they intend to seek help from their accountant, 16% are relying on their existing scheme provider, and one in 10 (12 per cent) will search the market and do the research themselves.
It's clear that accountants will have a critical role to play supporting small businesses through the auto-enrolment maze.
I'll be discussing auto-enrolment and more at the ICAS Practitioners' Conference on 9 September 2015 in Glasgow.
Gill McClelland will be speaking at the ICAS Practitioners' Conference on 9 September. Gill is responsible for managing all external relationships for NOW: Pensions in Scotland and Northern Ireland. She has worked in the Life & Pensions industry since 1981, starting her career with Scottish Equitable, then moving into Sales Management roles within Aegon and Legal & General, primarily developing business strategies with key Independent Financial Adviser practices. Gill joined NOW: Pensions in January 2014 and supports businesses across all auto-enrolment distribution channels; Accountants, Bookkeepers, Independent Financial Advisers and Employers.