The Pensions Regulator has warned hundreds of thousands of small and micro-employers to check when they must meet new workplace pension duties.
As many as 1.8 million small businesses will be required to comply with automatic enrolment laws in by 2018.
A study from the pensions watchdog found seven out of 10 firms expect to use advisers for advice on the right scheme.
The regulator, which oversees compliance with the rules, said there is “no room for complacency”, as businesses that don’t provide and enrol workers onto a suitable pension scheme by the right date may face fines.
Charles Counsell, executive director of auto-enrolment at The Pensions Regulator, said: “Research shows many employers are still not preparing early enough.
“We continue to develop new tools on our website to simplify the process for employers and we are using a diverse range of communications to reach out to employers, but my message to employers remains clear: start getting your plans in place or you risk a financial penalty.”