Single Touch Payroll and your accounting practice

12th July, 2017

Single Touch Payroll isn’t just a big change in reporting  it could change the conversation between you and your clients.

Single Touch Payroll (STP) is set to change the way just over 100,000 employers report salary and wage payments to the ATO for about 13 million employees.

A further 700,000 employers may choose to voluntarily embrace this streamlined reporting standard.

READ: What you need to know about Single Touch Payroll 

Safe to say, this could be pretty big, and big changes sometimes give rise to resistance or anxiety in clients.

Some clients may resist these changes.

Many might resist it just because it’s something new and because they feel like they are being forced to do something yet again by the ATO.

My advice is to face that issue head on!

Start having conversations with your clients about what STP is and how it’s just an extension of what they are currently doing – the actual reporting will get done behind the scenes in their updated STP-enabled software.

If your clients’ current payroll processes are pretty seamless and the information within is accurate, then they won’t have a problem.

How can STP be a positive for your practice?

I’m a huge advocate of empowering my clients to use cloud-based accounting software in their businesses.

Accounting practices can also embrace the technology at their fingertips so that they have better practices and better lives.

For business owners, cloud accounting software helps them:

  • Automate and streamline their processes
  • Improve the accuracy of their accounting data
  • Keep data up to date

Business owners can then benefit from having quality and timely information at their disposal – that will allow them to make better-informed business decisions.

It can also help open up a conversation with your client about getting them out of the shoebox and into the new world.

A new way of filing with the ATO could be the conversation-starter you’re looking for.

Just imagine the opportunities for your practice in a world where all of your clients were computerised and their data was always up to date.

Your clients could take more ownership of their accounting data knowing that it was being transmitted to the ATO each pay run – meaning that they will no longer rely on you to fix their errors at the end of the year.

You would have time to actually advise these clients during the year and even time to take on new clients.

You would have time to prepare budgets at the beginning of the year, you would have time for quarterly meetings to check-in, you would have time for tax planning.

Surprisingly these are the things your clients want from you. These are the things your clients value. These are the things your clients are happy to pay you for too!

Amanda is a Chartered Accountant in practice and a member of the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll Readiness Working Group.