The next 3 years will be a time of change for the nation’s small and micro businesses.

From April, companies with less than 50 employees will begin auto-enrolling their employees. Almost 1.3 million businesses will need to have completed auto-enrolment by the end of the 2017/18 tax year. In 2015/16, more than 150,000 businesses will pass their staging dates, while 1.1 million will pass theirs between 2016 and 2018

If you’re a business owner, chances are that you’re going to have to comply with the government’s flagship workplace pension policy at some point in the coming years. With that in mind, here are 5 essentials things you’ll need to do ahead of the big day.

1. Find out your staging date

Finding out when your staging date is the most important thing to do before you begin auto-enrolling your employees. It may sound obvious, but sometimes the simplest things can be the easiest to forget. As well as running the risk of being late, not knowing your staging date makes preparing for your auto-enrolment duties almost impossible.

Your staging date will be printed on any letters sent from The Pensions Regulator. You can also find out by entering your PAYE reference number on the regulator’s website.

2. Choose a provider and set up a scheme

You’ll need to choose a pension scheme if you don’t have one set up already. There are many different types of scheme. Some won’t cater for certain business types and not all schemes meet the criteria for auto-enrolment. Speak to us about finding a high quality scheme that suits your needs.

If you already have a workplace scheme, you can check if it qualifies for auto-enrolment on The Pensions Regulator website.

3. Decide how much you’re going to contribute

The current minimum contribution for employers is 1%. This will increase to 2% from 1 October 2017 and 3% from 1 October 2018. However, contributing more than the minimum may increase staff retention and help with recruitment.

4. Check your payroll data

Make sure you check your payroll data for inaccuracies and missing information. Making sure that your payroll data is up to date will avoid problems when you begin to implement auto-enrolment.

5. Call your accountant

We’re experts on auto-enrolment. Our accountants can do everything from helping you choose a suitable scheme to managing your payroll.

Contact us on 01344 776225 or email to start your preparations today.

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