A Settle-based arts charity is gearing up to enrol its staff into a workplace pension scheme ahead of schedule, thanks to the help of Chartered Accountancy firm, Haworths.
Settle Stories, a charity whose mission is to “Change your world through story”, called on Haworths for guidance on new pension legislation and to manage its wider financial and accounting operations.
Founded in 2010 by Sita Brand, Settle Stories engages with more than 5,000 people each year through its extensive Learning Programme, hosting year-round events, workshops and its highly acclaimed Settle Stories Festival.
In order to cope with the growth in scale and scope of the charity, Sita has recently taken on a small team of part-time staff to deliver the charity’s initiatives all-year round.
Sita said: “Volunteers are the lifeblood of our organisation, and we are very lucky to call on the support of many people who offer their services for free because they want to support the cause.
“But when it comes to managing the charity all-year round, there is only so much I can do on my own so I have a small team that looks after certain aspects such as marketing, design and festival production.”
Like all charities that employ permanent members of staff, Settle Stories will eventually need to automatically enrol eligible workers into a pension scheme, which is where the guidance from Haworths became invaluable.
“To be completely honest, I didn’t know where to start with our workplace pension scheme,” Sita added. “But Haworths has made it so much easier to understand what our obligations are as an employer.
“The auto enrolment seminars they run have also proven useful and I now feel more confident that the charity will be ready for its fast-approaching staging date.”
Legislation changes will make it compulsory for all businesses and organisations to enrol eligible workers into a pension scheme by 2017, with those employing fewer than 50 members of staff beginning to be affected by the new rules. With 166 penalty notices handed down in quarter four of 2014, non-compliance could have serious cost implications for businesses of all sizes.
Haworths, which has offices in Settle, Bentham and Accrington, has also helped Settle Stories to manage its accounts and prepare for annual audits by the Charity Commission to ensure it complies with their legal requirements.
Sita added: “As a charity, it’s crucial that we keep on top of our accounts to ensure we comply with the Charity Commission’s stringent regulations. The support from Haworths means it’s one less thing on my mind.
“The guys at Haworths really know their stuff but they’re also very approachable and easy to work with too. The fact they are based next door is an added bonus!”