Are the UK's largest companies ready for RTI?

An adviser has warned that the introduction of payroll real time information for the UK's biggest companies may cause problems, and should be pushed back.

Kate Upcraft, payroll adviser at ISIS Support Services, has voiced concerns that the fledgling RTI system may not be able to cope with the data from the country's 16,000 largest businesses when they begin submitting information in October. This is due to so many problems arising with the existing system, such as "corrupting employer data" and incorrect tax codes.

A HMRC spokesperson commented:

"Employers are joining RTI according to their normal payroll cycle, and for some, it will take a little while to get into the routine of reporting RTI. In the first year, we want to support them in meeting their new obligations."

Small business costs

Meanwhile, the introduction of RTI has already had a significant cost impact for small businesses, according to research from the Forum of Private Businesses. The forum surveyed 4,000 businesses in May and June 2013. Its findings indicate that the introduction of RTI cost a total of £318m. In comparison, HMRC initially predicted the cost would be £120m. Meanwhile the average cost of RTI software was put at £300-£400 per business.

Minimising RTI impact

While the readiness of the system is debatable, large companies are doing all they can to ensure they are prepared for the transition.

Payroll software will of course need to be updated, with payroll staff trained in its correct usage. Meanwhile all employee data should be verified as up-to-date and accurate. Next, the processes and procedures of the payroll department will need to be completely overhauled.

The scale of these payroll accounting changes for a large employer – e.g. with a high volume or global payroll – could be monumental, which is why Portfolio Payroll is seeing increased demand for payroll RTI specialists and experienced payroll consultants to oversee the transition. For assistance finding a suitable candidate, contact Portfolio Payroll on 020 7247 9455.

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