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KeyPay expands UK reach with pensionsync purchase

28th Aug 2019
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Australian cloud payroll provider KeyPay has laid down a marker in the UK with the acquisition of pension fintech pensionsync.

One of Australia’s leading payroll providers, KeyPay fully launched in the UK this April and has now turbo-charged its efforts to automate the payroll and pensions process with the purchase of pensionsync.

The two firms integrated their products last year, but with the acquisition now completed KeyPay plans to tighten the internal links while continuing to offer pensionsync as a standalone product for software providers, payroll bureaus, accounting and bookkeeping firms and business users.

Founded in 2015, pensionsync is a cloud-based solution that automates pensions for employers of all sizes. The platform acts as a digital switching yard between major pension providers and popular payroll software systems.

Following the acquisition, AccountingWEB understands that pensionsync co-founder Will Lovegrove and chair Ros Altmann have moved on to new projects. But a number of technical team members have stayed on to continue developing the product.

Auto enrolment springboard

Using the government’s auto enrolment as a springboard, pensionsync was founded to streamline pensions admin by eliminating manual uploads and the resulting errors in pension provider data.

Former pensions minister and pensionsync chair Ros Altmann described the system as a “hidden jewel” of the industry.

“While the industry has been dithering about with the [pensions] dashboard and faffing around trying to work out how it might work, pensionsync has just gone ahead and done it,” Altmann told AccountingWEB in an interview last year.

Market parallels

Established in Australia in 2012 by Phil Bernie, Richard McLean, Paul Duran and Kristian Reynolds, KeyPay has grown rapidly down under and is now one of the country’s leading cloud payroll platforms, serving over 120,000 businesses and processing more than £12bn per year in payments.

Both founders were frustrated with the lack of choice in the Australian payroll market, particularly when it came to cloud-based products, and felt there was a pent-up demand for a better service.

KeyPay screenshot

Picture: KeyPay screenshot

Speaking to AccountingWEB prior to last year’s Xerocon, Bernie drew parallels between the UK and Australian payroll markets: “It’s obviously not a pure apples-to-apples comparison, but a lot of the things we’re seeing happen in the UK market at the moment are similar to things we saw five years ago when we launched in Australia.

“Everyone here wants cloud-based payroll software but no one really wants to pay for it. Back when we launched in Australia we had trouble trying to convince people of the value of what we are doing,” Bernie continued.

“We spent a lot of time educating the market. Five years ago, Australia was just looking at payroll software as an extrapolation engine to produce a payslip and some reports.

“Now they look at it and see that yes, it does the tax and pensions calculations and produces a payslip, but the expectation now is that the software needs an employee portal, an API, an integration with timesheet providers or a timesheet portal, to have a mobile app, to be able to integrate with journals with various accounting systems etc.

“The conversation has pretty much gone away in Australia, but during our time here in the UK we’ve definitely noticed similarities in the types of conversations we’re having with people.”

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