I joined Aussiepay and ePayroll as general manager 13 weeks ago. While my career to date at software firm Wolters Kluwer and CCH exposed me to many of the key issues facing the payroll industry, it’s been fascinating discussing these firsthand with my team and our customers.
So what have I learned? Here’s three things I’ll be thinking about - for the next 13 weeks and beyond.
Lesson 1: Prepare for disruption and partnership
Throughout my career at Wolters Kluwer and finally as regional director of the business, I gained exposure to two trends I’ll be watching to ensure Aussiepay and ePayroll stay ahead of the game.Disruption
Wolters Kluwer’s CCH business is a a professional publisher, and publishing is a world that continues to be disrupted enormously. Going through that and seeing how publishers have had to completely reinvent themselves has given me invaluable insight into how technology can result in change.
Disruption is a term that gets used a lot in connection with technology, and it’s often not very comforting to hear - especially when you’re the one who needs to make a change or adapt. However, for me the idea of disruption is exciting, because it’s not just about changing something for the sake of it. I think disruption in payroll is really just asking how we can all do things a little better.
Payroll has always been a mission critical function. Often, it’s one businesses are reluctant to touch. As a result, there are big opportunities to do things differently, and we think that’s a good thing.Partnership
Relationships matter in business, and partnering with the right businesses can supercharge growth and enhance productivity. Whether it’s outsourcing payroll to focus on your core business, or leveraging networks to capitalise on growth opportunities, partnerships make all the difference.
At Wolters Kluwer , we worked closely with professional advisers like accountants because businesses have such tight relationships with them. With the introduction of Single Touch Payroll and all it entails - for small to medium businesses in particular - businesses will continue to lean on accountants and other advisors for the insight and support they need to remain compliant and profitable.
That’s one thing that, based on my experience, I think we can leverage more in our own business. That relationship and goodwill is something that is difficult to build yourself. I think we can better assist SMEs out there by working better with those trusted professional networks.
Lesson 2: There’s still more to learn about Single Touch Payroll
If you’re in any way connected to the payroll industry, by now you are probably quite tired of hearing these three words: Single Touch Payroll. However, being the single biggest change to payroll - and really the tax system - since the GST, we think there’s definitely still more to learn.
We recently had a situation in which a client was called by the ATO because information sent via Single Touch Payroll raised some questions. The ATO thought, ‘Well hold on a second, this looks a bit odd’, and decided they would pick up the phone to follow it up within just a couple of days.
This tells us that, although organisations over 20 staff have been given a grace period until 30 June next year, the ATO is really looking at the data it receives. Despite Single Touch Payroll having been ‘done to death’ in terms of commentary , there’s more to learn before we get it right.
Employers need to be preparing by thinking about the broader implications of real time data. The issue of employee working visa status is a perfect example. Typically, it’s one of those checks that’s not really done, because historically you only update the ATO once a year. If you went two or three months over your visa, the ATO never knew, and the Department of Immigration never knew.
Now, every time we do a pay run that information is going to be lodged with the ATO, and therefore with the Department of Immigration. The payroll industry and individual managers need to start thinking harder about what the implications of real time data might be on their business.
Lesson 3: The future of work will be different (and so will payroll)
Aussiepay and ePayroll’s parent company ReadyTech aims to get employers ready for the future of work, by designing innovative software designed with the future in mind. For us, that means challenging the way things are done in payroll, and asking how they can move forward.
Take the gig economy for example. There are now people working different types of jobs and working in different ways. Understandably, the payroll industry is adapting and asking how it is going to deal with that. Together, we have to think about what the payroll implications might be and how we can empower organisations to manage this changing workforce, both now and into the future.
There’s also the concept of flexible pay. In the past, employees have been paid three ways - weekly, monthly or fortnightly. With Millenials coming into the workplace, the desire and need to be paid here and now for work completed will only continue to rise. After all, why should they wait? While we are in some ways stuck in these ways of working, payroll processes of the future will need to integrate employee demands like flexible pay if employers want to retain a new generation of talent.
Payroll may be one of those mission critical things we don’t want to get wrong, but there are still many elements that are manually process driven that don’t need to be. As a leading provider of software for payroll, we need to be on the front foot in asking how we enable more automation.
Daniel Wyner is general manager of Aussiepay and ePayroll, which are ReadyTech brands