A business leader has claimed that the introduction of Single Touch Payroll (STP) for businesses with more than 20 employees forced her to change accounting software provider, amid ongoing speculation about when STP will be rolled out to smaller employers.
Responding to the recent announcement that MYOB is set to scrap one of its accounting desktop products from 2019, the reader said they were effectively forced to switch to using MYOB in a bid to meet their STP compliance requirements.
“Accountright worked much better but [I] had to change due to STP,” the reader claimed.
This then led to a complaint about the difference in the functionality between the two platforms.
MYOB has been contacted for comment.
Businesses not being forced to change providers
Tony Greco from the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) told My Business he was surprised to hear that such concerns existed in the marketplace, but noted this could be a symptom of the broader confusion about STP given its staged rollout.
“STP is not mandatory for everyone – only for employers with more than 20 employees. The second stage is not law yet,” he said.
“If your provider is not compliant, then the software house can go get a deferral from the ATO, which covers all of their clients.
“We’ve seen a lot of businesses whose provider is not STP ready, but with that deferral, all clients are covered. And some have deferrals for up to 6 months.
“So there is no obligation to leave your current provider, unless your provider is not going there – which is very unlikely.”
According to Mr Greco, around 14,000 small businesses (those with less than 20 employees) have already moved to STP before it becomes compulsory, in a proactive move to compliance ahead of time.
Reach out for help, MYOB urges
A spokesperson for MYOB urged its customers who are having trouble with the transition to STP to reach out for assistance.
“We’d encourage any customers having problems transitioning to STP to contact our support team,” the spokesperson told My Business.
“AccountRight is an MYOB product. This customer may have been on AccountRight Classic. We have built STP into the newer version of AccountRight (v2018.2).”
MYOB said that anyone with an active subscription can upgrade to this version to access the STP-compliant offering.
The spokesperson said MYOB has more broadly seen “significant interest” in its accounting software from prospective new customers.
“MYOB was the first product to be STP compliant, as a result we have seen significant interest in the product to support this reporting change.”
Microbusinesses may face further deferral, assistance
Speaking at the National Small Business Summit in Sydney, Kate Carnell – the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman – revealed there are murmurs in Canberra that microbusinesses may be given a further deferral once STP is rolled out more broadly.
At present, larger businesses were required to employ STP from the first pay cycle of the current financial year, and draft laws awaiting parliamentary approval would extend this to all business from 1 July 2019.
But there are concerns that microbusinesses – those with four or less employees – would be particularly hard hit as many do not use digital accounting software, and both the purchase cost, and time taken to become familiar with the software, would place an undue burden on them.
As such, another deferral could allow more time to find workable solutions for microbusinesses to make the transition less cumbersome.
“We wouldn’t be surprised if they did that,” said Mr Greco.
“You want all in or out, that’s the ideal. But with this regime of reporting, the government is acknowledging the troubles for small businesses with no electronic accounting, and so a deferral makes sense.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.