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Three circles of AE squared

Chris Daems must be one of the few practitioners who can claim to have put auto-enrolmentin both a box and a book, and to do both successfully.

I am an admirer of the sterling work that Mr Daems has delivered through AE in a Box, his online solution for small companies looking to comply with auto-enrolment, and the objective of his book Three Circles: A practical guide to automatic enrolment compliance. Written in plain English, Three Circles is designed to help employers understand more about AE and its importance to their business. From the introduction onwards, Chris sets out what the book will cover in a manner that is both comprehensive and sensible – the reasons for auto-enrolment, the impact on UK firms, the background of the legislation, what happens if you do not comply, the importance of giving yourself time to implement the necessary changes and the process of getting a scheme in place.

As you would expect from someone with Mr Daems’ experience in the AE market, he has hit upon a clear way to explain the implementation process, regulation, pension and payroll. By introducing this straightforward approach, he manages to distil the seemingly huge and complex issue of AE into manageable chunks, while simultaneously communicating a lot of fairly heavy information in a way which makes it seem if not simple, then at least manageable.

The strength of Mr Daems’ work is recognising that there are numerous ways through the AE maze, depending on where you begin and who you have to take with you. I was particularly interested in the way in which he would approach payroll, and the opportunities for collaboration between advisers and accountants. Mr Daems has clearly experienced the changing capabilities of payroll, and has captured an informed picture of who ‘owns’ different parts of the process as we head into the SME market.

I was reflecting, while reading this, if it will be ‘Workie’ who gets employers to enter the AE journey and this book that gets them over the line. I hope so, but I did find it difficult to turn the pages with my fingers crossed. Perhaps this work is going to have its greatest and most positive effect in giving those business advisers who read it the confidence to handle their key clients yet to stage AE, and the tools to recognise when and how to collaborate with others.

Tom Nall is workplace solutions director of the SimplyBiz Group