Finding an efficient and effective payroll service is integral to every modern business. Whether you want to streamline operations or meet your compliance obligations, using a trusted Australian-based payroll service is the best way to ensure quality outcomes. While lots of people offer payroll services, only the very best provide the personal support and custom financial solutions that your business deserves.

Use an Australian based solution

Do you know where your payroll is being processed? While overseas payroll services can be affordable, they can also be risky and offer a much lower quality of service. Many larger payroll organisations ship all of their processing off-shore to save money, providing you with an Australian contact to give the illusion of a domestic service. Without a local presence and an intimate working knowledge of Australian payroll legislation, these services are likely to create problems.

Avoid STP deferrrals

New single touch payroll (STP) reporting was introduced for larger employers on 1 July 2018, and will become compulsory for all Australian businesses on 1 July 2019. Despite this start date, a number of employers, tax professionals, and payroll software providers have applied for a deferral while they get their products up-to-date with STP reporting. While this is allowed by the ATO, there is no reason why a professional payroll service should have an STP deferral. If you’re looking for the best payroll solution, it’s important to find a service with the means and capacity to meet their compliance obligations.

Ensure multi-factor authentication

All professional payroll systems should implement multi-factor authentication (MFA) as a robust security solution. Also known as two-factor authentication, MFA is mandatory if the product or service is hosted in the cloud, and optional if the product or service is hosted on-premise by the business. All payroll service providers who utilise a DSP hosted system need to provide MFA in order to meet ATO requirements.

Ensure compliance with rules and regulations

Payroll service providers have to meet compliance obligations related to taxation and industrial relations laws. While accountants and bookkeepers have the technical skills to perform a lot of payroll work, they may not be familiar with these rules and regulations. For example, long service leave (LSL) is different in each state, employment termination payments (ETP) and redundancy calculations need to be accurate, and penalty shift loading versus overtime needs to be understood in relation to superannuation guaranteed (SG) and leave accruals.

Demand a comprehensive solution

The right payroll provider will offer a streamlined all-in-one solution that encompasses a wide range of payroll and related services. The best providers will be able to provide award interpretation, rostering,

time collection, payments, and archived online reporting for seven years, among other services. Using a comprehensive payroll service can help you to avoid the unwanted complexity and wasted money associated with system admin costs and multiple re-occurring annual fees. Most businesses with under 300 employees experience significant cost benefits from outsourcing payroll services.

Security and reputation

Backups should always be performed by the payroll company to protect sensitive data, and cloud- based services should be hosted in Australia to take advantage of local data protection laws. In addition, you should ensure the payroll company is abiding by the tax practitioners board (TBP) and that they have access to an adequate number of BAS Agents to check payroll data. Reputation is also important so don’t forget to check references and ask questions if needed.

Ask for a demo

While it might sound obvious, asking for a demo is the best way to ensure quality outcomes. There’s no longer any paper to fax to providers, or couriers with record cards, with the lack of physical infrastructure and long-winded contracts making it easier than ever to demo services on your own terms.

You should be able to see the software that your payroll service provider is using prior to signing an agreement in order to make the right decision for your business. The software itself should be rich in functionality and easy to use for all employees, with an ESS portal/app particularly useful in allowing employees to log in securely when they need to change their bank account details.

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