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How to choose the best Single touch payroll system

Small business employers in Australia must meet single touch payroll (STP) reporting requirements under Australian Tax Office (ATO) laws.  It’s important to select a cloud payroll software that is STP compliant and also suits your small business needs.

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Must-have features for an STP system for small businesses

The ideal STP software for your business should have the following features:

Total compliance with STP laws

The STP software you choose should be fully compliant with both STP Phase 1 and Phase 2 requirements. This ensures it can handle reporting all the mandatory data points, including salaries, wages, taxes, super contributions, and the additional details introduced in Phase 2.

Your STP system should also support future STP updates. As STP evolves under the ATO, your system should be adaptable and receive updates for complete compliance.

Cloud-based access

Cloud-based systems offer remote access and data storage. This means you can manage payroll and report STP from anywhere. This is ideal for businesses with remote employees, multiple locations, or those who travel frequently.

Cloud software also protects your payroll data from hardware errors or local disasters. No matter what happens, your data will be backed up securely and accessible in case of unforeseen events.

You’ll also enjoy reduced IT costs because you won’t need to host your own infrastructure to run the system. Without additional hardware expenses, you can invest more in doing the actual work of your business.

Automatic payroll data mapping

The STP system should allow you to process payroll for all of your employees of different types. It should also automatically map your existing payroll data to the required STP data format. This eliminates manual data manipulation and reduces the risk of errors.

Make sure your chosen system has built-in features to identify and flag potential errors in your data before submission, ensuring data accuracy.

Real-time STP reporting

Ideally, the software should allow you to report STP information in real-time with each pay cycle. This keeps you compliant and avoids any delays or penalties. Real-time data also allows you to quickly monitor payroll trends, identify discrepancies or potential issues, and take corrective actions promptly.

When payroll reports are done in real-time, reconciliation with your accounting system becomes easier as both sets of data remain constantly synchronized.

User-friendly interface

A clear and intuitive interface makes navigating the software easy, managing payroll tasks, and accessing STP reports. Since small businesses often have a lean staff, and payroll tasks might fall on someone who isn’t a dedicated HR or payroll professional, user-friendly systems eliminate the need for extensive training.

A clear and intuitive interface streamlines navigation and simplifies tasks like data entry, report generation, and STP submissions. This saves valuable time for small business owners and staff wearing multiple hats. Automation, like pre-filled forms and intuitive data collection and reporting, frees up time to focus on core business activities.

Reports and analytics

Generating reports on payroll data and STP submissions allows you to monitor trends, identify potential issues, and stay compliant. These tools can help you detect anomalies or inconsistencies in payroll data, such as unexpected spikes in overtime pay or discrepancies between leave requests and leave balances.

Early identification allows you to investigate and address potential issues before they escalate. You can also use the data to create more accurate forecasts for future payroll expenses.

Employee self-service

An employee self-service payroll app allows employees to access their payslips, tax summaries, and other relevant information. They can access payslips, tax summaries, and other relevant payroll information independently. This transparency fosters trust between employers and employees.

Employees can find answers to basic payroll questions or download their payslips on their own, minimizing inquiries directed to HR or payroll departments.  The portal can be used to communicate important payroll information or updates directly to employees, ensuring everyone is informed and on the same page.

Available on web and mobile

Flexible access between a web app and a mobile app means that both employers can check their payroll on any device. Web access can be used for normal office days, while a mobile app can provide easy access on the go. This enhanced convenience and employee self-service features are invaluable to small business owners juggling several responsibilities.

Both web and mobile access allow for real-time updates. Employees can receive immediate notifications about their payslips, approvements on leave requests, or important payroll announcements. This fosters better communication and keeps everyone informed.

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How to choose an STP system

Consider the following questions and prioritise what factor/s are most important to you.

Does the STP system have features you need?

Any Australian employer is legally required to use reliable single touch payroll (STP) approved software.  Basic STP software includes automated payroll processing, STP reporting, and calculations of PAYG withholding, tax, and superannuation. 

Your chosen STP system should enhance the current state of your payroll. Beyond STP reporting, look for a solution that offers pay runs, reports, employee access, and other features mentioned above.

Is the STP system too costly for my small business needs?

It’s important to determine your budget and consider upfront costs of STP cloud systems. Large accounting packages often have features you don’t need as a freelancer, micro-employer, or small business.

STP systems will usually charge beyond the first employee, so pick a platform that can accommodate the size of your team. You may also want to pick a provider that fits your needs for future scaling projects.

How do I know if a STP system is easy-to-use as a small business?

One of the major concerns as a small business in Australia is finding the time to run payroll and fulfill STP & other compliance requirements. Before purchasing an STP solution, read reviews and testimonials from other small businesses using the STP software. Look for comments regarding ease of use, user interface, and suitability for small businesses.

Most STP software providers offer demos or free trials. This allows you to test the software firsthand and get a feel for the user interface and functionalities. Pay close attention to how intuitive and user-friendly the system is for basic payroll tasks and STP reporting.

Try Payroller's STP software for small businesses for all your payroll needs

Payroller is a low-cost payroll solution with all the necessary STP reporting functions. Our versatile platform provides STP compliant systems designed for sole traders, microbusinesses and small businesses.  

Not only does Payroller meet Australian business laws, but it also helps you save time with all things related to employee administration. With Payroller, you can make and send payslips direct from payroll, manage leave, make superannuation contributions and more on the web and mobile app

Other features include superannuation payment functions via our BEAM integration, timesheets, rostering and more. Additionally, you can invite your accountant, bookkeeper or tax agent to help you manage your payroll on your behalf using the free Payroller agent portal.

Find out why Payroller is the easiest STP software for any business.  Sign up to try the full feature version of Payroller for free.

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