Your clients are becoming vaguely aware of something called auto enrolment.
Unfortunately, for most accountants, ‘vaguely aware’ may also represent your own understanding of the new regulations and how you will present them to your clients.
Perhaps your conversations go something like this:
Client: “I saw something the other day about something called auto enrolment… what do I need to do?”
You: “Oh, yes, it’s a pensions thing, there are a lot of regulations. It’s very complicated.”
Client: “And it’s a payroll thing too?”
You: “Yes…sort of…”
Client: “Can you help me with sorting it out?”
You: “Erm, we’re setting up a solution… but it’s not up and running yet… sorry!”
If that sounds familiar then you’re not alone. Auto enrolment is a massive change to UK workplace pensions and it’s beginning to have an impact for your small business clients. And they want help, fast.
The good news is, this is a huge opportunity for you.
The bad news is, if you don’t start marketing it now, the opportunity will quickly disappear.
So, are you ready to market auto enrolment to your clients? If the honest answer is ‘No!’, then read on.
Auto enrolment is a big deal for your clients
Between now and 2018, auto enrolment is going to affect all UK businesses – yep, we do mean all of them, even those with just one employee! If a business has one or more employee then they’re now legally required to sign those staff up to a suitable pension scheme. Sorting that out requires some pretty deep, drilled-down knowledge in payroll, pensions and investment choices, hardcore expertise that most business owners just don’t possess.
And that’s where the problem lies: small businesses need urgent help to meet their auto enrolment requirements. So, they’re coming to you for help and guidance.
A golden opportunity to help your small business clients
If you’re going to make the most of the opportunity, there are some fairly fundamental questions to ask of yourself and your practice:
- Do you have the right expertise in payroll and pensions?
- Have you thought about your strategy for offering this service?
- Do you have the right software systems and processes in place?
- Are you partnered with a suitable pension provider who can provide a scheme?
- Have you thought about how you’re going to market this?
The first question is the most important. If this isn’t an area in which you have either the capability – or the willingness – to assist clients, then you need to connect with a trusted strategic partner who does specialise in auto enrolment, so you can direct your clients to them.
Remember, this is not just an IFA who helps your clients with pensions – if you’re not going to address the payroll needs, you’ll need a partner in that too.
You need to start planning right now
There’s a feeling in the industry that many practices just haven’t grasped the nettle and that many don’t have an auto enrolment package that’s ready to deliver to clients.
Staging dates for smaller dates came into force last year, and between now and 2018, every employer in the country will have to have their auto enrolment pension scheme in place . So, if you’re planning to offer an auto enrolment solution you’d better get your processes and systems in place pronto.
There’s info on client staging dates and the predicted volumes on the Pensions Regulator website. But the main message is pretty damn clear – time is running out! So get your solution in place now and be ready when your client comes to you with their auto enrolment questions. As their trusted business adviser, they’ll expect you to have the answers they need.
Six top tips for being an auto enrolment marketing star
Once you’ve got a workable solution up and running, you’ve then got the question of how to market it. How will you build your profile, create new business and position yourself as the go-to practice for auto enrolment advice?
There are multiple ways to become that ‘auto enrolment star’, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
1. Run an auto enrolment event – explain the basics of workplace pensions and highlight a small business’ responsibilities. Then outline how you can help them with these. There’s a free ‘Auto Enrolment’ Powerpoint or Keynote presentation as part of our Xero resources – log in to our Customer Hub to download it.
2.Send an email to all your payroll clients – auto enrolment is a natural progression if you’re already running their payroll. Go for the upsell and explain how you can streamline the process.
3.Run an auto enrolment webinar – a webinar gives business owners a convenient online way to find out the basics of auto enrolment. And you get to answer their questions as a trusted adviser.
4.Record a short video explaining the key issues – video gives business owners a quick, simple, online way to find out how auto enrolment affects them. Link back to your site and push people to contact you.
5.Make someone in your firm the auto enrolment star – having an auto enrolment expert gives your clients a specialist to talk to. And by specialising in this niche, your AE star will really deepen their expertise.
6.Give some cool stuff away – there’s nothing wrong with giving great content away for free. Design your own auto enrolment guide and give it away for nothing through your social channels, but with a simple call to action that drives clients to your website.
So, what are you waiting for?
Let’s guess… you’re not waiting, you’re just swamped. You don’t have time to talk to your clients about their accounts, much less this new auto enrolment thing, much less market it. If that’s the case, not to worry – our marketing packages can be tailored to give you a whole suite of auto enrolment goodies.
There’s no time like the present – get out there and start talking about auto enrolment with your clients before they start talking to your competitors (and if you’re not ready, believe us, they will).
Remember, you can start on your way to stardom with a free auto enrolment presentation deck. Enjoy!