An estimated 800,000 small businesses are set to reach their auto enrolment staging date in 2017. That’s more than double last year which sat at approximately 336,000. SME’s will now have the added burden to ensure they meet their AE obligations.

Many small business owners are under enough pressure as it is to make sure they are keeping their heads above water without the added admin requirements that auto enrolment brings with it. However, if they fail to meet their AE obligations they will face large penalties and in extreme cases could land themselves in jail. In a recent survey by market researcher YouGov for workplace pensions provider Smart Pension, more than half of small and micro businesses felt auto enrolment would be a burden.

Will Wynne, co-founder and managing director of Smart Pension, stated 2017 is going to be a challenging year for hard-working small companies and that 2017 would be a massive step change. He highlighted that almost a million small firms offer employees an opportunity to save for their retirement for the first time. Which means just over 1.46 million small firms in total will need to set up pension schemes.

Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said “Our country’s prosperity in 2017 will be founded on the success of the smaller business movement.” He went on to say “any small business owner will tell you that the sheer cost of doing business has steadily risen over the last year, with a range of policy choices hardening at the same time, creating a cumulative effect.”

2017 is going to be a busy year for us all involved with AE, none more so than the SME, so give them a round of applause as they start their AE journey.

“Break a leg!”

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