However, I don’t believe that PYE needs to be stressful and time consuming. By following the right advice, finance teams can make the PYE process easier and more efficient – leaving them with more time to dedicate to the tasks that drive businesses forward.Below are some of things that I’ve found make PYE returns less painful.
1. Planning and preparationFor all PYE submissions, preparation is key. The first step to making your PYE return run more smoothly is to ensure you are aware of all of the key HMRC dates regarding administration. Failure to do so may lead to your organisation incurring fines. For example, a timetable should include dates for the submission of your PYE return to HMRC (19 April 2014); the distribution of P60s to employees (31 May 2014); and the date from which you can submit an Earlier Year Update (20 April 2014). In addition, it’s important to ensure that your finance team has a series of deadlines in place to action the steps necessary to complete a timely PYE return. For instance, finance teams will have to check all of their employees’ data is correct; ensure that financial management software has been updated for the current tax year; and that they have all of the necessary HMRC stationary to complete a submission. By developing a full checklist and assigning manageable deadlines, you’ll avoid the stress and pain of a last-minute completion.
2. Be software readyAs the owner of webexpenses, naturally I understand the importance of software when it comes to financial management. Unfortunately a number of finance teams don’t share this understanding, with some still operating with out-dated or even obsolete systems. For me, nowhere can the benefits of up-to-date financial software be seen more clearly than when it comes to preparing PYE returns. For a start, the right finance software will enable you and your team to extract the data you need for your return with minimal fuss and at the touch of a button. What’s more, many systems now on the market can produce data which needs no editing by the finance team using it – meaning that bespoke data can be produced rapidly for things like tax returns and other statutory administration. One additional benefit of embracing financial management software is that some of the more cutting edge packages are now also accredited by the HMRC – this giving users the ability to upload PYE returns directly to HMRC Online.
3. AutomationAnother important aspect of having the right financial management software in place is that it can allow you to automate a number of the more admin-heavy tasks that befall members of your finance team. For instance, webexpenses’ own expenses management platform allows employees to upload expense claims easily to a cloud-based database, which can be viewed in real time by the company finance team. Having the ability to do this means that financial controllers can accurately monitor expenses throughout the year and spot any discrepancies quickly. The main advantage of this is that there will be no nasty surprises when preparing a PYE or other statutory return. What’s more, automation of internal financial processes enables finance teams to focus their efforts on business planning and forecasting for the year ahead. This is important, as the role of financial controllers is now so much more than simply monitoring and accounting for company finances.
4. When in doubt, ask the expertThe PYE return is not going to be plain sailing for every UK organisation. There is very rarely a one-size fits all approach to preparing a return for HMRC. With this in mind you’ll need to draw on expert knowledge, as filing the wrong information regarding your workforce could result in a rejection of your submission. To prevent this, I’d recommend taking advantage of some of the information that many of the larger financial management software companies provide for free. As well as producing white papers on the subject, many provide short videos or online webinar training sessions designed to give you help and advice in putting your submission together. Written by Michael Richards of webexpenses. Image source
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