4 Ways to Prepare Your Recruitment Agency for Single Touch Payroll
Forward-thinking recruitment agencies across Australia are currently preparing for the rollout of the new the Single Touch Payroll (STP), which will begin on the 1st July. Unsure of where to start? There’s plenty that proactive agencies can do now in order to prepare their agency for the forthcoming changes. Expert Marcus Webb, CEO of Australia’s leading billing & payroll software provider Astute Payroll, has shared his top tips so businesses can ensure they’re ready to go.
1. Take a Headcount
The Australian Tax Office’s (ATO) first major requirement is understanding your employee headcount as of the 1st of April. This will confirm if your business qualifies as a substantial employer (one that has more than 20 employees on this date). The substantial employer status determines if you’ll need to be STP compliant from the 1st of July 2018, so it’s important to get your headcount right, Webb says.
The ATO website has some guidelines on how to complete the headcount, but the main point to be aware of here is how to understand who counts as an employee. You’ll need to include any full or part-time workers, including those who are overseas, on leave or absent, and casual staff who are active on your payroll on the 1st of April and have worked during March.
2. Check your Software
From a software standpoint, Webb recommends getting in touch with your current provider to find out how they’ll deal with STP. They might release an update as part of their existing software or offer an additional service. It’s also good to know if your provider will be ready for the 1st July or if they’ve applied for a deferral, particularly if your business is applying for a deferral of its own.
Webb also advises you to leave yourself with the opportunity to book in consultation time if you think you’ll need it. There may be extra resources at your disposal to help get you up to speed on STP, putting you in the best position to get started from the 1st of July.
3. Ensure your Data is Accurate
Data accuracy is another key area that can help make the transition to STP smoother for businesses, advises Webb. Making sure your payroll records are up-to-date is something you can do now to get ahead of the STP rollout. You can confirm personal details like name, address, date of birth, and tax file number with employees for accuracy. After a lodgement, these details are matched with the ATO, so having valid information for each employee means a more streamlined process for your business.
You may also want to check that superannuation contributions, such as Reportable Employer Super Contributions (RESC), are processed and reported correctly for employees in order to save yourself time later on, once STP has gone live.
4. Check your Security
An AUSkey is a secure login that identifies you when you use participating government online services on behalf of a business. Webb advises agencies to take the time now to check that you have a registered AUSkey to link your business securely with the ATO’s online portals when making the lodgements.
Don’t get caught non-compliant and risk substantial fines from the ATO as a result of these changes. Start looking into your systems now or enlist the help of your software provider to get expert tips to be prepared.
Changes to payroll reporting isn’t the only legislation affecting your agency this year. Check out The New Data Privacy Law Your Recruitment Agency Can’t Risk Breaching.