It seems small businesses are feeling relaxed over the imminent arrival of auto-enrolment, despite fears that some SMEs would find it a major headache. New research suggests from NOW Pensions suggests that only 3% cite pensions regulation as their top business concern.
Indeed, the survey shows that, despite the introduction of auto enrolment for a huge swathe of small businesses in 2016 and 2017/18, the issue ranks at number seven on the list of key issues.
Biggest business concern this year:
- Sales – 34%
- Access to finance – 12%
- EU referendum – 7%
- Government spending cuts – 7%
- Not being able to keep up with technology – 6%
- IT security – 4%
- Auto-enrolment – 3%
- National living wage – 2%
- Attracting and retaining staff – 2%
- Lack of skilled workers – 2%
Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions, warned smaller businesses that they needed to pay more attention to ensuring they were compliant with the new legislation as it arrives: “With so many other things to think about it’s easy to see how auto-enrolment can slip through the cracks. The penalties for non-compliance are steep, as much as £500 a day for firms employing five to 49 people, so small firms need to give it the attention it deserves.”
The FSB recently called on the government to push back its review of the AE process until SMEs had been given time to go through the process properly. At the start of the year the Public Accounts Committee warned that, without transparency of process, people could end up failing to contribute enough into their personal pension scheme.