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7 signs that you need to change payroll software

Chances are that you’re probably using a payroll service that isn’t right for you. It might be overly complicated, too expensive for your business or has too many features that you don’t need. 
We’ve created a list of seven signs that indicate that you should change payroll software.
If you think that your software fits any of these criteria, then it might be time for you to consider finding a new solution that fits you better.

1. It’s too complicated

Most of us aren’t gurus when it comes to both technology and accounting.
That’s why you need a software that’s easy for you to understand.
This means purposeful features, a simple layout and functions that are useful for microbusinesses and small businesses.
There’s quite a few payroll programs that have gotten away with being overly complicated for years because there was never a better alternative.  Most people may assume that larger payroll providers are always the best solution.
Many larger payroll providers have bad layouts or lots of complicated features that you either don’t need or just don’t make any sense for your business size.
It can be hard to understand these programs without prior accounting knowledge.
It can be even harder to learn how to use these programs if you’ve got other, more important priorities.
A good rule of thumb to judge whether something is too complicated is to ask yourself how many features you don’t understand.
Same goes if something is taking you too much time. It’s usually an indicator of the software being overly complicated and not you as the user.

If this is an issue for you, try find a simpler program.  They’ve generally been built with the knowledge that you don’t generally have a payroll specialist working for you.


2. It’s too expensive

Many businesses need to keep expenses to an absolute minimum.
This means you don’t always have the financial freedom to be purchasing expensive software just to run payroll.
Many of the big players in the payroll industry charge large fees.  Larger payroll providers have gotten away with it for years because their users are not aware of other options.
There are a range of low-cost and effective payroll solutions on the market, particularly if you require payroll for your micro-business or payroll for your small business.
So, if finances are something you worry about, finding a cheaper payroll software is a good way of reducing expensive costs.
You also need to be wary of what’s included in your plan because although they may appear cheap, they usually cap what you can do with them pretty quickly.
Once your business reaches a certain level and you need to change plans, they tend to jump quite dramatically in costs.
Don’t unnecessarily spend your money on something that you can get for cheaper with exactly the same features.

3. It’s not Single Touch Payroll (STP) approved

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) announced that as of July 2019, all small businesses must be single touch payroll (STP) compliant. This isn’t new for medium and large businesses who made the move a year before.
If you’re an Australian business, you can not ignore this.  All this takes is you checking with your software provider to see whether they’re STP approved and whether STP is included in your subscription.
Most payroll software should be STP approved but you still need to check.
If you don’t, you run the risk of getting in trouble with the ATO which is the last thing you want.

4. It takes too much time

There can be a fair bit of manual work for employers with most payroll software.
It can be time-consuming for a business owner to go into a payroll program and enter the details of each employee and all pay run details.
If you have to do this, it can be a sign that the payroll system you’re using is a bit outdated.
Due to a lot of the major players in the payroll industry having a strong hold of the market, they don’t update their systems regularly.
This means they can be slow and inefficient.
Good payroll software should automate as much as possible. The less work you need to do, the better the program.
If your software hasn’t caught up to this yet then it might be time that you swap to a solution that is going to keep updated and is worthy of the money you spend on it.
A dedicated payroll service might be the answer for you as most of these are invested solely in improving their payroll system.
This means that they’re always updating their features and working to make the overall experience for their users smoother and simpler, making the experience quicker and easier for you.

5. You don’t feel like it fits your business

Let’s face it, a lot of products on the market are targeted towards enterprises and large businesses with not much focus on the smaller guys.
The same goes for payroll services.
Most of these have a business model that encourage large businesses with lots of employees because they bring in more money.
This means that everything within the program is targeted towards large companies but small businesses have very different needs.
Large companies usually have employees that are experts in payroll and accounting so they understand how this all works.
This ties back in with software being too complicated.
However, there are payroll programs for any business type like Payroller.  Although on the surface they may appear basic, they realistically provide you with everything you need.
A lot of these smaller payroll providers also tend to be more invested in growing and developing with your business.

6. It’s only available on certain devices

You may have a payroll system that’s only available on the web.
Or perhaps it’s just available on mobile.
It might suit you this way. You might prefer only using a web program or a mobile app.
But what happens when you don’t have access to your computer or you don’t have access to your phone.
You need to have a backup. You should be prepared for any situation that may occur.
This is particularly important now with the STP laws as there may be consequences if you miss reporting for a pay period.
It’s better to have a solution that gives you options than cop a fine from the ATO.
It’s also important to check whether your current program is cloud-based (backs up all your data online) because losing your data and reporting is just not an option.
I think we’ve all experienced that dreaded moment when you open up your computer and everything you worked on is suddenly gone or your computer decides to die and delete everything that you were doing.
Cloud-based software also allows you to work off multiple devices which is likely something you will need to do.
Most payroll software is cloud-based so it’s unlikely you’ll need to worry about this. If your software isn’t then it’s probably not that good to begin with. Trust me when I say that you can pay the same and get more than the absolute minimum.
However, most of these are usually just available on either web or mobile.
If you’re interested in something that can do both, there are solutions available out there.
You usually won’t pay any extra and it really simplifies the whole process.

7. It’s too limited

As time goes on, so will your payroll needs and the features you want to see on your software.
A lot of payroll providers aren’t focused on this.
Many of them are content with providing you basic features and will keep them the same forever.
That leaves it up to you to either find an additional service to go with your current one or find an entirely new one that meets your criteria.
That’s not entirely fair though. You should have a service that is always looking to improve itself and get better.
You need a software that will grow with your business, not hinder it.
There are payroll software out there that will do this.
Chances are however that they’re not one of the large providers.
Payroll isn’t a focus of these large accounting software providers. It’s more so an element they need to include in their overall service.  
Quite often, the smaller companies that focus on payroll offer better features as they’re trying to compete with the big guys.
They also have more of a customer-based focus rather than a business-based focus.
This means that with these companies, they’re always looking to develop and make the experience of their products better for you.

The verdict

You may be using payroll software from the big providers like Xero, MYOB or Reckon.  However, you may be satisfied because you’re not using all the full features and/or it’s too complex for your business needs. Fortunately, there are alternatives.
Payroller may be a good alternative for you – find out why Payroller is the easiest STP solution for Australian employers.  
Payroller is designed specifically for small businesses to run STP payroll easily.  It’s simple and cost-effective.  Try out Payroller for free today.  

Learn more about Single Touch Payroll (STP)


What is Single Touch Payroll (STP)? Find out everything you need to know about STP Phase 2 in our guide.