Frequently Asked Questions

We have included some questions we often get asked by Financial Directors, Accountants & IT managers who are looking to implement a new accounting system for their construction business.

Select from the categories below:

Can the software help us understand the cash position and at what point our contracts become “Cash Positive”?

Yes, the Contract Ledger not only provides a detailed analysis of costs, broken down by resources and optionally operations, but all costs are identified as being outstanding or paid. We are therefore able to see in both enquiries and reports the detail of costs and cash paid per contract. This combined with cash received can immediately provide cash flow information.

Can the system alert us with information based on specific parameters?

Yes, our construction accounting software has a built-in information monitor, anything from account maintenance creation or modification through to monitoring bank balances can generate messages that appear as either onscreen prompts or they can be sent to the user via email or text message if away from the office.

Does the software allows us to consolidate information for a number of companies within our group?

Yes, our built in report writer allows for the consolidation of multiple companies even if they have differing nominal account structures.

Our group includes companies in Eire, does the system handle Euro currency and Southern Irish legislation?

Yes, the system is able to handle multiple currencies with reporting either in a base or local currency, additionally full Southern Irish VAT reporting and Subcontractor legislation is catered for.

Management reporting is a major issue, are the formats for management accounts able to be user defined?

All reports within the system can be run at anytime. The standard reports such as aged creditors and debtors are able to be run retrospectively. Reports from the system's report formatter are easy to create with all formatting being designed within an Excel environment.

When do employers have to start enrolling their workers?

The date workers are enrolled depends on the size of the company they work for and is being rolled out over the next six years from 2012. This is called a ‘staging date’.

  • Large employers (with 250 or more workers), will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from October 2012 to February 2014
  • Medium employers (50 – 249 workers) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from April 2014 to April 2015
  • Small employers (49 workers or less) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from June 2015 to April 2017
  • New employers (established after April 2012) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from May 2017 to February 2018
  • Employers who chose to use a Defined Benefit (DB) or Hybrid Schemes can delay their staging date until 30th September 2017.

Staging dates are always the 1st of the month and cannot be delayed. Once The Pensions Regulator has notified employers of their staging date, employers can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from that date. If they choose to postpone, employers must inform those workers in writing.

Employers can also use the ‘postponement period’ for any newly eligible workers.

Can the system be accessed remotely by staff working from home or on site?

If a user has access to a broadband connection they can use the system. Our Evolution systems have been designed specifically to allow for this type of environment. We recognise the need for company information to be protected, so all transmitted data is encrypted for security.

In a drive to reduce our carbon footprint we are implementing a policy to use paper as little as possible, what facilities does the product provide to help us achieve our aims?

Our solution has a full Document Management module that allows for the storage of all reports and forms, there is no longer a need to print and file documents for internal use such as invoices, remittance advices, payslips, subcontractor certificates etc. A copy of the document is stored and available should a hard copy be required. In addition any document that is to be sent to a creditor, client, subcontractor, etc… can be emailed as an adobe© PDF file thereby avoiding printing and postage costs whilst protecting the environment.

See our Document Management section

Within our group, each company operates autonomously however our employees are paid from the parent company. Can employees be charged to different companies?

Our Construction Accounting Payroll module allows for any payroll (weekly, monthly, directors) to be centralised. Any employee can be charged to multiple companies within the group for a period and where an employee is costed to contracts their costs including employers costs would be charged to the appropriate contract / company. Of course all the appropriate intercompany accounts are updated.

See our Construction Payroll section

Is the system fully compliant with the new CIS rules and can Subcontractors be verified online as well as the monthly returns?

Yes, our construction software enables businesses to submit their returns to the HMRC for online verification and monthly report filing avoiding the need for lengthy telephone calls and reporting. See Working with Subcontractors

Can a Surveyor input a payment certificate for a subcontractor with an appropriate approval process before it is passed to the accounts department for payment?

Yes, the Subcontractor Ledger has a full authorisation of payment routine which allows for the recording of a Subcontractors Payment Certificate by a Surveyor or Contract Manager. This is passed to a manager for authorisation or rejection. If authorised the certificate passes to the accounts department for payment.

Can all payments from the system be made via BACS including sundry payments from the Cash Book?

Yes, any Payment made from the system can be made via the BACS process, all payments from various sources can be grouped to form a single payment run.

Does the Cash Book allow for automatic bank reconciliation against a downloaded bank statement?

Yes, providing your on-line banking allows for the downloading of a statement file, the system's reconciliation process can automatically match transactions of the same values with same reference, eg cheque number and with the transaction being within a specific date range. This greatly speeds up the reconciliation process leaving only sundry items for manual matching.

Can purchase invoices be matched to a purchase order even though a delivery ticket hasn’t been recorded?

Yes, where an invoice is received and during processing it is found that no Goods Received Note (GRN) has been entered, the invoice can be processed as a “combined entry”. This has the effect of recording both the invoice and the delivery at the same time. The invoice can also be given a held status until delivery of the goods has been confirmed.

Can purchase invoices be part paid during a standard payment routine?

Yes, the Purchase Ledger payment routine is both simple and efficient. Firstly the system will prompt with all items that are due for payment to a due date. The operator can then either accept the values shown or drill down to each transaction choosing whether or not to pay or part pay. If the system's document management system is in use the operator can also see an image of the original transaction during the payment process.

Does the system force the integrity between the Job Contract Ledger and the Nominal Ledger?

As part of the original specification of the system the Nominal and Contract Ledgers were seen to be the hub of the financial systems. With any transaction being costed to a contract the Nominal code to be updated is deduced from a combination of the Contract and the costing analysis. The Nominal Accounts that are updated from the Contract Ledger are marked as “Cost Only” preventing any entry that has not originated from the Contract Ledger. This ensures total integrity of the two ledgers.

Is the Sales Ledger flexible to allow for user defined sales transactions for contract sale documents i.e. Application, Certificate, Invoice, Payment etc?

All Contract Sales transactions are defined and created to an individual company’s requirements. The flexible configuration tools enable the system to cater for all types of transactions not only Application, Certificate, Invoice and Payment but also transactions such as Internal Valuation, WIP etc. Transactions are created as tax point invoice or tax point cash with input being cumulative or movement.

What server technology does Evolution M require?

Our system has been developed using Open Server technology enabling operation on a wide variety of platforms including Windows Server Family and Unix. The software embraces Client Server technology using TCP/IP and includes encryption & compression as standard. See Technical Consultancy

Is the product database dependent?

The system was designed from the outset to operate with any industry standard ODBC standard database (SQL Server, Oracle, MySql etc). This design means that the application needs no knowledge of the database being used; this is all performed by the data tier. Different tables can even reside in multiple databases. The system provides standard data handling functionality independent of the database being used, this includes comprehensive record locking, individual company restores and XML data import/export.

What requirements are needed from the Web and Broadband connection?

Our product has been created to use wide area network (WAN) environments, meaning it operates over standard Internet broadband connections saving large sums in network costs. The system will run remotely via a secure RDP connection. All data passing over the network is automatically encrypted and compressed, meaning that your information is safe.

Are there any restrictions on the screen size which the system can run on?

All windows can be sized to meet the resolution of your screen. With today's ever increasing screen resolutions this is an essential feature in modern software to ensure user comfort and efficiency. Each user’s preferences are stored at their desktop.

Does the system integrate with Microsoft Office?

Our Evolution packages a true windows based application. The user interface has been designed specifically to integrate with the latest Microsoft Suite including Excel, Word and Outlook.

Can Evolution M integrate with 3rd Party software

Evolution M is designed with an XML Interface to all Posting Routines which allows for integration with 3rd party packages including most estimating solutions.

Can the system alert us when specific financial parameters are met?

Yes, our construction management software has a built-in information monitor, anything from account maintenance, creation or modification, through to monitoring bank balances can generate messages.

Can the product integrate with 3rd party software?

Our Evolution M product is designed with an XML Interface to all Posting Routines which allows for integration with 3rd party packages including most estimating solutions (Conquest, Estimate, Causeway etc…) and Workspace from Union Square.

Is it possible to migrate data from our current software?

Yes, we have developed tools that can be used for the transfer of data from other systems or allow integration with estimating and other third party products. See Data Conversion & Migration

Can the software help us understand at what point our contracts become “Cash Positive”?

Yes, the Contract Ledger not only provides a detailed analysis of costs, broken down by resources / operations, but all costs are identified as being outstanding or paid. We are therefore able to see in both enquiries and reports the detail of costs and cash paid per contract. Combined with cash received this can immediately provide cash flow information.

What is RTI?

Using RTI, employers and pension providers will tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about tax, National Insurance contributions (NICs) and other deductions when or before the payments are made, instead of waiting until after the end of the tax year.

RTI will:

  • Make the PAYE process simpler and less burdensome for employers and HMRC for example, by removing the need for the end of year return (forms P35 and P14) and simplifying the employee starting and leaving processes
  • Make PAYE more accurate for individuals, over time reducing the number of bills and repayments sent after the end of the tax year
  • Enable HMRC to pursue late payments more effectively
  • Support the payment of Universal Credit
  • Reduce Tax Credits error and fraud

Employers and pension providers will send this information to HMRC online for payments made to all their employees, including those paid below the National Insurance Lower Earnings Limit (LEL).

Does RTI apply to the self-employed?

No - it is for the operation of PAYE only.

Will forms P35, P14 and P38A be needed after joining and using RTI?

No - end of year returns (forms P35 and P14) or P38A supplementary return will not be needed as employers will tell HMRC about all payments made during the tax year each time their payroll is run.

Why does an FPS include the hours worked?

The hours worked is required for the purposes of calculating Tax Credit payments.

How soon after the Employer Alignment Submission (EAS) will the employer be permitted to send in their first RTI submission?

Once the EAS has been successfully submitted the employer is considered to have joined RTI. The EAS should be submitted at least 24 hours before the first FPS.

How will HMRC treat statutory payments shown on an Employer Payment Summary (EPS)?

If you have claimed an advance of statutory payments then the amount you report on an EPS will be set off against the PAYE due as reported on an FPS. If a credit remains this will be set-off against any advance you have claimed, and any remaining credit will be used against any other amount due, or if nothing is due you can contact HMRC and claim a repayment or reallocation.

Will I have to make a submission even if I haven't paid anyone?

If you are registered with HMRC as an employer who pays HMRC quarterly, we will know to expect quarterly payments from you without you needing to do anything further.

All employers need to send an FPS every time they pay their employees, whether they pay HMRC monthly or quarterly. If you haven't made any payments to any employees in a tax month, you should send HMRC an EPS showing 'No payment due as no employees or subcontractors paid in this pay period' within 14 days following the end of the tax month. This also applies to employers who pay HMRC on a quarterly basis - if you do not, then HMRC will specify an amount due for that month, and pursue this at the end of the relevant quarter.

Can I advise HMRC that I am not going to have any employees for a specified period?

Yes. You can submit one EPS to advise us of your 'period of inactivity'. HMRC will not expect any other return, nor any payment, for the period(s) reported.

How will the system cope with an employee who resigns and is rehired in the same month with two corresponding payslips (two separate contracts)?

The system will count the two employments as separate by operating on the information submitted by the employer. The last payment from the first employment should have a date of leaving.

The first payment from the new employment should include the starting information including start date and should not take into account pay and tax information from the previous contract of employment when calculating the year to date figures. If the employer is using payroll IDs they must ensure the second contract is set up using a different payroll ID, i.e. employee number.

When will I be expected to report PAYE in real time?

Employers and pension providers will be required to report PAYE information (via an FPS or EPS) in real time 'on or before' payment is made to employees or pensioners for the vast majority of payments that they make.  

What would happen if an individual had five positions with the same organisation (for example) and ceases four but keeps one of these positions? How should this be reported?

Assuming that the five positions are treated as separate employments and tax and National Insurance are calculated separately for each employment, as each finishes a leaving date should be sent as part of the relevant FPS. HMRC will, if necessary, issue a code each time.

If the earnings from all five jobs are accumulated and tax and National Insurance are calculated as one employment (i.e. there is one tax code in operation) no additional action needs to be taken until the last employment ceases.

Reclaiming tax in previous tax years - can you clarify the use of Earlier Year Updates (EYUs) against the FPS for a previous tax year? What would you expect for reclaims greater than two years? For six years following implementation will we still need to do P14 submittals for the non-RTI years which can be claimed on?

The EYU is needed to correct details of previous RTI years - you will only be able to use it for the tax years where you were required to operate PAYE using RTI. An FPS can only be sent up until 19th April following the end of a tax year - after this any corrections need to be made on an EYU.

Non-RTI years will still be corrected via amended P35/P14s as per the existing PAYE arrangement.

Reclaiming overpayment of tax - will we still need to do adjustments for previous years at the end of each tax year or can this be done throughout the year? Each time we do a mini adjustment to the employee, how are we reclaiming the tax?

Adjustments can be made throughout the year with the final FPS showing the correct Year-To-Date (YTD) figures. If adjustments relate to previous RTI tax years then the EYU is needed to show the correct details.

I have claimed 'CIS deductions suffered' on my EPS. Can I have a refund of any excess?

Yes you can have a refund at the year end, and if there are no outstanding debts. 

Date of leaving. What date should be entered on the FPS?

The date to enter is the date the employment ended. The exact date of this is for the employer to decide.

What will not change using RTI?

The following will remain unchanged:

  • PAYE - PAYE remains the same using RTI. It is only the reporting that changes.
  • Coding notices - using RTI employers will still be able to choose how they receive coding notices; as they do now.
  • Reporting a change to HMRC e.g. updating employee's new name or addresses for HMRC records - an RTI submission will not update HMRC records. It remains the responsibility of the individual employee to notify HMRC of changes of name, address, etc.
  • HMRC messages to employers using RTI - HMRC will continue to use the Data Provisioning Service (DPS) and EDI outbound message services.
  • Payment dates using RTI - payment dates to HMRC will remain the same using RTI.
  • Forms P60 - P60s will remain using RTI.
  • Forms P11D - HMRC are not planning to change the requirement to complete a deductions working sheet (or electronic equivalent)

Will RTI change the Construction Industry Scheme (CIS) payment and reporting process?

RTI is not changing the existing CIS process. Employers will continue to complete and file monthly returns due under the existing CIS arrangements.

How do I deal with the fact that I don’t have a National Insurance number?

Evolution will allow for the National Insurance number field to be left blank if the National Insurance number is not known, but you must provide the employee's address. However where possible, you should ensure that you obtain the correct National Insurance number for your payroll records.

Is a default date of birth, (01.01.1901), in such scenarios is still acceptable?

You should not use a default date of birth. You should make every effort to obtain the correct date of birth for the individual, especially for new pensions coming into payment. Where, despite these efforts, it's not been possible to obtain the correct details, please continue to use the date of birth currently held on the payroll.

What guarantees can HMRC provide about the accuracy of National Insurance number information that they will send to providers?

HMRC will attempt to validate National Insurance numbers provided by checking with the DWP. In cases where there is a discrepancy, or where the employer has not provided a National Insurance number, HMRC will inform the employer.

If the annuitant (a person who is entitled to receive benefits from an annuity) queries the National Insurance number provided by HMRC, the annuitant should contact HMRC to resolve the query.

The more accurate and comprehensive employee data the employer gathers and maintains, the more likely it is that the National Insurance number provided will be correct.

Whilst employers and pension providers may request sight of a passport occasionally to verify age, do I now need to request to see the passport number?

The passport number will only have to be provided if the employer or pension provider collect it as part of their checks that the employee or pension recipient is entitled to work in the UK or receive a UK based pension.

Why is it important to check the details I hold about my employees are accurate?

It has always been important to make sure the information that you send HMRC about your employees is accurate to help ensure that your employees pay the correct Income Tax and NICs. Improving the accuracy of the information you hold and send to HMRC will help match the information to the correct HMRC record. This could save you money by helping to reduce the number of employee enquiries you receive.

This is not just important for tax and NICs. From October 2013, RTI will support Universal Credit by providing the DWP (Department for Work and Pensions, formerly the Benefits Agency) with up to date information about claimants' employment income. Ensuring your employee information is correct will help to ensure they receive the right amount of credit.

As part of the process for an employer joining RTI, HMRC will align the records of employees held on the NPS system (National Insurance and PAYE Service, is a single national computer system introduced by HMRC in July to replace the 12 regional databases that previously handled PAYE processing) and the records held by employers.

In the meantime HMRC recommends that you start to prepare for RTI by checking the information you hold.

How does RTI affect me as an individual?

Generally, employees probably won't see much, if any, difference in their working day. However, using RTI, employers and pension providers will need to ensure that their employee records are up to date. They will also send information to HMRC when or before they pay their employees. This better quality, more up-to-date information will mean that, over time, more people will pay the correct tax in-year.

HMRC will also have the RTI needed to support the introduction of the DWP's Universal Credit in October 2013. Universal Credit will need up to date information about employment and pension income from RTI so that the DWP can adjust claimants' welfare payments to reflect their circumstances.

How does RTI support the payment of Universal Credit?

RTI will support Universal Credit when it is introduced by providing DWP with up to date information about claimants' employment income.

What happens if I leave my job?

Using RTI employers will still give leaving employees a form P45 showing their pay and the tax deducted.

What happens if I start a new job?

Using RTI employees still need to give their new employer the form P45 given to them by their previous employer so they can operate the correct tax code. Employees will also need to answer some new starter questions. Getting this information right is paramount as it will help make sure the employee pays right amount of tax is paid, and receives correct amount of credit for the NICs they pay.

What happens if I don't have a P45?

This has not changed. The employer will ask employee some new starter questions similar to completing a form P46 so they are able to operate the correct tax code. 

What additional information does the employee need to give to the employer?

Using RTI there is little change to the information given to your employer. To help get employee’s tax right and make sure they get credit for the NICs that they pay, they should provide:

  • National Insurance number shown on the card or letter issued by the DWP. A National Insurance number consists of two letters followed by six numbers, followed by one letter - A, B, C or D.
  • Full formal name (surname and forename) must be obtained. It is important that full forename and not just the initials (for example, John Smith and not J Smith), are provided by employees.
  • Date of birth
  • Gender

The employer needs to verify the above information from an official source, such as employee’s birth certificate, passport, driving licence or official documents from HMRC or the DWP.

3. What are my responsibilities as an employer?

As an employer in the construction sector under the latest pension reforms, your duties will be as follows:

Registry: Regardless of the size of your company, you must register with the Pensions Regulator within four months of your staging date. Once registered, the government will be able to ascertain whether you’re able to comply with the auto-enrolment pension reforms easily, or whether you may require their assistance. Our own accounting software has optional capabilities for managing auto-enrolment as standard, which will make the processing of such a change much simpler when your firm reaches its staging date. You can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from your staging date. However, this does not postpone your staging date so you still have to register within four months of this date.

Automatic enrolment: Unless you have postponed automatic enrolment, any employees who qualify for auto enrolment (eligible jobholders) should be enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme and have contributions made into this pension on the first payroll run after your staging date. Any non-compliant firms will be chased up by the Pensions Regulator, who has the power to enforce compliance. Your accounting software should also give the chance to manage auto-enrolment of employees on an individual basis, particularly as opt-outs, contributions and different earning brackets will give a number of different variables to consider.

Contributions: Those employees eligible for auto-enrolment under the new pension reforms will also require monthly contributions from their employer. The requirements for contributions can be found here, and those companies found to be non-compliant will be likewise punished by the Pensions Regulator.

Managing opt-ins: Those employees who have qualifying earnings below the trigger for auto-enrolment (non-eligible jobholders) may choose to opt in to your qualifying pension scheme and you will also be required to make a contribution. Those employees who don’t have qualifying earnings (entitled workers) may choose to join a pension scheme which you will not be required to pay into. You will be expected to manage the process of opting in/joining the relevant scheme on behalf of your employees.

Managing opt-outs: Some employees may choose to opt out of the enrolment process, in which case it is your responsibility to oversee their withdrawal from the scheme. When you receive a valid opt-out notice, you must refund the jobholder any contributions deducted from their pay within a specific timescale, while any money paid over to the pension scheme must be refunded also.

Communicating with employees: As well as managing the enrolment process, it is your responsibility as an employer to keep employees in the loop regarding how the pension reforms will affect them. Employees need to be informed any time their auto-enrolment assessment is postponed as well as if they they qualify for auto-enrolment or not. They will also need to be informed when they are automatically enrolled and be made aware of their rights under terms of the pension reforms. Failure to communicate these details with your employees will be seen as a failure to comply with government legislature by the Pensions Regulator.

1. What are pension reforms?

In previous generations, pension schemes were primarily the reserve of workers themselves. While many employers will have offered corporate pension schemes, it was ultimately down to the employees whether they wished to opt in to a scheme or not. Those who opted in would set aside a small amount from their pay each month that they could subsequently access once they reached retirement age, essentially providing for their own future over time. Under the terms of the pension reforms, however, these schemes will no longer be optional. Most companies will have to establish corporate pension schemes before enrolling certain staff members automatically. As some workers won’t be able to afford monthly pension payments, companies will be expected to contribute to their employees’ pension funds too. These contributions will be slowly phased in, the details of which can be found on the Pensions Regulator website.

2. Who is eligible for auto-enrolment?

Not all of your employees will be eligible for auto-enrolment under the new pension reforms and may choose to opt in or out as they see fit. There are three categories of worker identified by the Pensions Regulator, and they are as follows:

  • Eligible Jobholder

An eligible jobholder will be aged between 22 and state pension age (SPA), qualifying earnings payable by the employer that are more than the earnings trigger in the relevant pay period, currently £9,440, for 2013/14 tax year and work in the UK. As an employer, you must automatically enrol an eligible jobholder into a qualifying pension scheme.

  • Non-eligible Jobholder

A non-eligible jobholder are workers employed in the UK that may be too young or old to be eligible, or may earn below the rate that will trigger auto-enrolment, currently set at £9,440 for the 2013/14 tax year. These workers will not have to be automatically enrolled, but can choose to opt into a pension scheme instead.

  • Entitled Worker

An entitled worker will earn less than the qualifying earnings but is entitled to join a pension scheme. The employer must arrange access to a pension scheme if asked, but does not have to make any contribution.

Auto-enrolment applies to any individual classed as a ‘worker’. A worker is defined as any individual who works under a contract of employment (an employee) or has a contract to perform work or services personally.

Read more information on identifying ‘workers’ and defining your workforce on the Pensions Regular website.

1. What is the Single Euro Payments Area?

When the Euro was first introduced, the goal was to create a unified single currency market comprised of a number of different countries in mainland Europe and beyond. However, replacing dozens of different currencies across countless markets with a single payment method proved to be more complex than analysts made it sound, and some remaining processes have still failed to keep pace with progress today. The Single Euro Payments Area is an initiative that intends to modernise and streamline the processes of making and receiving card payments – in Euros – across the Eurozone, Ireland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Switzerland and Monaco. For Irish construction firms, the date to bear in mind is the SEPA deadline of February 1st 2014.

2. How will SEPA affect my company?

Ultimately, the goal of SEPA is to make electronic transactions more straightforward for both companies and individuals alike. By February 1st 2014, all national electronic payment schemes – including payroll, direct debits and credit transfers – will have been replaced by equivalent SEPA schemes, meaning that your account details will need changing. Both businesses and individuals will receive new account numbers and sort codes (you can find what these are using a simple converter), while your payroll services will need to be completely revamped in order to remain SEPA-compliant. This means updating your system to the latest version provided which is ready for SEPA, otherwise you’ll be unable to issue or receive Euro payments after the February 2014 cut-off date.

3. What will be required of me?

The SEPA initiative is something to look forward to for Irish businesses and represents a long-awaited modernisation of single currency accounting and payroll services. It does, however, require Irish construction firms to conform to a number of legislative standards. By the cut-off date of February 1st 2014, all Irish businesses must have taken steps to conform to the SEPA standards as specified by EU regulation 260/2012, and that means ensuring that you have updated your system to the latest version as detailed below.