Regulatory changes, rapidly evolving tech trends, challenges attracting and retaining talent, and all the extra demands that seem to have continued after the pandemic. It’s a lot.
Accountants are pulled in so many different directions, trying to deliver an awesome client experience and grow their practice.
We think workplace pensions can be part of improving the relationship between accountants and their clients, and make things more efficient in accountancy practices.
1. Expectations of Accountants Have Changed
The expectations that clients have for their accountants have changed. In a recent survey, 83% of accountants said that clients are looking to get more from their accountant than they did five years ago.
The level of service hasn’t just increased, the types of demands placed on accountants has also changed. 42% of SMEs expect their accountants to give them wider strategic advice as they manage their business.
It’s an increasingly common sight to see accountants offer cash-flow forecasting and support with raising capital.
Lots of accountants are rising to this challenge. 60% of accountants are offering strategic advisory services alongside their core services, with 26% providing an outsourced CFO service.
“We are not just our clients’ accountants, we’re also their advisors. We’re there to support them with a wider range of things than the monthly and yearly accounts. We want to help them take another step along their journey as business owners” - Emilio Vences founder of Heaton Vences Accountancy Practice
2. Broadening Support for Your Clients
There’s lots of ways that accountants can go above and beyond for their clients. It can be as simple as making the time to talk them through a difficult decision or it can be walking them through a new software or service that can help them achieve their goals.
It’s exciting (or daunting) that there’s never been more ways for accountants to support their clients.
We conducted a survey of accountants and 100% of respondents said that they recommended software tools to their clients. The main reasons cited were that the tools improved workflows and resulted in better insights.
“We recommend tools to make clients’ lives easier – they streamline processes and give greater clarity” - Evangeline Hassall, Managing Director at PayrollBee
“Clients can access more of the basic information they need easily once they’ve set-up modern software tools. Once that’s in place, we can provide more advisory services” - Peter Stevens, Lead Partner at Malling Accountancy
Whether it’s cloud-based accounting software that gives real-time information or reporting and forecasting tools that sit on top of that, there’s lots of tools to help clients get more accurate insight into what’s going on in their business.
3. Pensions Can Be Straightforward and a Win-Win
Every accountant is familiar with how tedious and frustrating it can be sorting pension contributions after running payroll.
It’s a compliance obligation that accountants have to support their clients with. The clients don’t necessarily care, they just need a pension and accountants support them with that.
We found that pensions are one of the most expensive benefits that employers offer and employers think that they’re not as important to their teams as other lifestyle perks.
However, 90% of employees think the pension is an important part of decisions when they’re looking at new positions and if they’re thinking about leaving their existing company.
We believe accountants have a pivotal role to play with their clients to help address this misalignment. Helping clients with a pension that maximises the benefit of the workplace offering can further position accountants as a value-adding partner to clients.
Also, there are real benefits to taking pensions more seriously as a business.
Setting up salary sacrifice can save companies thousands of pounds per year. An average employer with 250 employees that sets up salary sacrifice when they switch to Penfold saves £86k a year.
Companies can also set up their pension plan to be sustainable and invest in line with their values.
Some pension providers even offer pension education sessions on top of an award winning app (hint: it’s us!)
Turning pensions from an admin heavy, compliance must-have to a value-adding service isn’t just a great way to boost accountants relationships with their clients. 55% of our partnered accountants are regularly spending 50% less time managing clients pensions now.
Accountants that partner with accountants are: • Saving time • Boosting the value they provide their clients • Giving employees a real benefit from their workplace pension
It’s a win-win-win!
If you want to talk to us about how Penfold could help you and your clients, then please complete the form linked here and we’ll be in touch.
If you want to find out about how other accountants have worked with us, you can read our success stories.
Auto-enrolment presents both opportunities and challenges for accountants. While it provides an avenue for revenue through assisting clients in selecting the ideal pension provider and handling payments, it comes with its share of complications.
Yet, there’s hope on the horizon. Accountants, it's the perfect time to rediscover your passion for pensions. Here's why:
Strengthening Client Relations
Building a lasting partnership is about adding value. When accountants continually show their clients the benefits they bring, client loyalty increases.
Two primary ways to show this value are by highlighting potential savings from reduced fees charged by pension providers to employers and shedding light on the charges employees face.
Many pension providers have convoluted fee structures that are hard to decipher. However, at Penfold, we pride ourselves on transparency. We don’t impose any fees on employers for their workplace pension – read about our approach to pension charges.
Accessible Customer Support
One of the main grievances accountants express is the challenge of reaching pension providers when urgency calls.
No one wants to be kept on hold with monotonous background music, especially when time-sensitive matters like payroll are on the line.
Penfold stands out in this regard. As per recent feedback, we rank top among workplace pension providers on Trustpilot. Our clients benefit from a dedicated account liaison, easily reachable through multiple platforms, including popular messaging apps.
The Age of Automated Convenience
Gone are the days of being entirely reliant on Excel. With the advent of advanced tech, platforms like Penfold’s provide a more intuitive way to manage data.
With our pension platform, accountants find it easier to maintain precise records, eliminating the tedious process of managing multiple file formats. Our goal is to streamline the process, ensuring accuracy and adherence to regulations, all with a more enjoyable user experience.
Redefining Pension Perspectives
The common perception of pensions is less than stellar. Receiving annual statements that provide minimal insights doesn’t help.
With today's technology capabilities, managing pensions should be as easy as booking a flight. Penfold’s app offers users real-time insights into their savings and projected outcomes. Users get a tangible sense of their retirement readiness, enabling better financial planning and peace of mind.
Pension management can be daunting for some accountants, but it doesn't have to be. With the right provider, not only can challenges be reduced, but opportunities to strengthen client relations can also arise.
If pensions haven't yet won your heart, let Penfold show you the possibilities. Book a demo today to dive into our platform and discover the difference.
A significant number of accountants offer workplace pension management as part of their services without any additional charge. This is often seen as a bonus service that adds value to the broader services provided, ensuring a consistent flow of income from their clients.
However, as we will illustrate, the task of managing pensions is of immense worth and could serve as a potential revenue stream for accountants. If you haven't started yet, here are three compelling reasons to consider it.
1. Pension management: A crucial yet intricate task
Many businesses struggle with handling their own workplace pension duties unless they possess the necessary expertise. This is a process they are mandated to carry out since auto-enrolment became law in 2012, but its complexity is a challenge.
Calculations for tax relief and National Insurance implications, especially within the context of salary sacrifice schemes, further complicate the matter.
Additional tasks like determining pensionable earnings, tracking staff changes and opt-outs, and managing statutory communications all contribute to a complex administrative burden. It’s understandable why payroll managers prefer to delegate pension management to accountants.
A proficient accountant who can accurately handle all these tasks is a valuable asset, saving businesses from the daunting task of understanding and complying with complex rules and regulations.
Simplified payment processing
Many accountants may consider the task of processing pension payments as daunting, but with the right tools and assistance, it needn’t be. Consider, for instance, the Penfold platform which allows for straightforward bulk file processing through a drag-and-drop interface.
This functionality enables you to simultaneously process files for all your clients without needing to tailor client files to accommodate diverse systems. A batch upload tool allows for rapid processing of multiple client files.
Any recognizable file can be handled, with data transformed and displayed in a clear, easy-to-understand manner. Tracking contributions, opt-outs, and payments becomes a breeze.
Moreover, the platform ensures data accuracy, reviews files in real-time, and presents a summary for verification.
UK based account managers stand ready to assist with any potential issues. This can result in a better, more efficient service for your clients that requires less time on your part.
Workplace pensions: A high-value proposition for businesses
An effective pension plan can be a powerful tool for businesses in attracting and retaining talent. By managing these pensions on your clients' behalf, you’re adding value to their operations.
However, pension plans need to be high quality to attract skilled professionals. Despite being a significant expense, with businesses now required to contribute a minimum of 3% of an employee's salary into an auto-enrolment workplace pension, they can provide significant savings.
If a robust workplace pension plan can aid in employee retention, it becomes a cost-saving tool rather than just an expense. Our research from last year shows that 90% of employees would remain in their current position due to pension benefits, while 16% would switch jobs for better benefits.
According to Oxford Economics and Unum, the average cost of losing an employee amounts to £30,000, accounting for the lost productivity, hiring costs, and the time required to train the new hire. A quality pension could save a company nearly £70,000 annually. Calculate the potential savings for businesses of different sizes here.
Moreover, every three years at the time of re-enrolment, your clients are likely to value your advice on alternative options. If you provide them with a beneficial plan that their employees appreciate and remain with the company for, you could save them substantial sums, making your fee for pension processing fair and justifiable.
It should be clear by now: pension payroll management is an incredibly valuable service. If you haven't considered charging for this service, it may be time to rethink.
Handling these payments not only eases the burden on others, but could also be a stepping stone to your other services.
Modern software solutions, like the Penfold platform, simplify the process of handling pension contributions. If you're interested in seeing this in action book a demo now.
Digital pensions provider Penfold today announces the launch of its revolutionary new Penfold Platform for accountants, as part of a strategic shift towards better serving this key group of users.
Built specifically for accountants, the Penfold Platform will significantly reduce the time required for pension processing, making their working lives easier and more streamlined.
The Penfold Platform offers a distinct and game-changing approach to pension administration. In contrast to the archaic and inefficient offerings prevalent in the industry, it leverages technology to significantly simplify the entire process.
The Platform's ease of use provides an edge over competing legacy pension providers, freeing accountants from the burden of outdated technology and poor customer support.
Accountants can now focus on the big picture rather than admin tasks, through smart and intuitive technology such as ‘drag and drop’ bulk uploading and smart processing across multiple file types. Accountants will no longer have to download, reformat, upload, and sort each individual file across each client, saving them from unnecessary stress and hassle.
Coupled with dedicated account managers on-hand to quickly solve any problems for both accountants and their clients, the Penfold Platform is poised to transform the way pension contributions are managed and set a new industry benchmark.
"Today's launch of the Penfold Platform signals a new era of simplified and efficient pension management," said Pete Hykin, co-founder of Penfold. "Our aim is to redefine the pensions landscape by providing accountants with an exceptional, time-saving solution that is free of charge."
As the platform continues to evolve and develop the ways in which it makes accountants' lives easier, the prime focus remains on delivering a platform that is intuitive, cost-effective and ultimately, allows accountants to make the most of their time and resources.
Building on our success in the direct-to-consumer and workplace pensions market, Penfold is committed to offering an unparalleled, modern, and intuitive service to accountants for the seamless management of their clients' pension contributions, while still delivering unrivalled value to their employer clients and employees.
For more information and advice on pensions, visit Penfold.