Payroll – an untapped opportunity for practices

The introduction of mandatory payday filing in April put a spotlight on payroll for all employers and payroll services for many accounting practices.

We spoke with Sarah Collie, a Director at O’Connor Richmond in Gore about the benefits of payroll services to their practice and clients, going digital and the growth opportunity from mandatory payday filing.

Why offer payroll services?

It’s a key point of difference for us in the market. Our clients value our ability to offer a full suite of accounting, business advisory and payroll services. In many cases it’s why they choose to work with us.

The regular recurring income from our payroll services is excellent from a cashflow perspective. It also means more regular contact with clients, giving us greater insight into how clients’ businesses are performing.

That’s helped increase the value of our business advisory services and enables us to build stronger, more trusted relationships with clients over the long term.

Payroll has a reputation for being difficult and time consuming – is that fair?

That’s certainly how many businesses see payroll and in a lot of cases it’s what leads them to outsource all or part of their payroll function. Payday filing has been a big driver in that as well. We’re fortunate we’ve got two payroll specialists in house, and a number of accounting staff to support our external payroll clients, that makes things easier.

It’s also important to use the best tools for the job. For the past several months we’ve been moving the majority of our external payroll clients onto Essentials Payroll. Essentials allows us to communicate and work with our external clients in real time, which has meant great time savings and process efficiencies.

How’s the experience been moving clients from desktop payroll to the online Essentials Payroll?

We made a conscious decision in 2018 to move a big chunk of our external payroll client base to MYOB Essentials. Keeping our team focused on the digital vision and end goal has worked well. The change required a mindset shift, but we’re now starting to reap the rewards from the work we’ve put in over the past several months.

We’ve had very positive feedback from clients who we’ve moved online to Essentials. A number have also started using MYOB’s PayAgent payroll intermediary service that comes with Essentials. That’s been quite a shift for them, but they’re seeing the benefits from the time saved.

Is mandatory payday filing a big opportunity or is that wishful thinking?

I’ve seen first-hand since late 2018 how demand for our payroll services has increased. Now we’ve had a couple of months under the new filing regime, many businesses have realised they don’t want the extra hassle of payday filing. We’re still getting regular calls from clients and prospective clients looking to outsource payroll and expect this will continue.

Any advice to practices looking at moving into payroll Services?

Flexibility is key because every client’s different. Some are looking to outsource payroll fully, others want us to do the processing while they manage wage and PAYE payments, and some just want advice on best practice payroll systems and process.

And moving from desktop payroll software to Essentials Payroll?

You need great change leadership from the top. Everyone needs to be onboard at a partner level, that’s critical. And, keep reinforcing the vision of what your practice is trying to achieve for your team and clients. If you’re with MYOB, work closely with your Partner Manager and utilise their product and change management expertise. It really is a partnership and they have a big role to play in your successful transition too.

 

If you’re an MYOB Partner already, talk to your Partner Manager to find out more. If you’re not already enjoying the benefits of being an MYOB Partner call 0800 696 272.

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