SME concerns around the impending rollout of Single Touch Payroll have been stoked by scaremongering from vested interests and misinformation, according to a major software provider.
Simon Berglund, vice president of customers for life at Sage, said that Single Touch Payroll (STP) is effectively guaranteed to bring efficiencies to every Australian business.
“Single Touch Payroll reporting’s entire definition is around making reporting simpler and easier for businesses – that is its goal,” Mr Berglund told My Business.
“When implemented and done properly, it will result in business reporting efficiencies, both for the business itself and for the employee with respect to getting an understanding of where their earnings are year to date at any point throughout the coming year.
“That is absolutely the goal and that will absolutely be the case.”
According to Mr Berglund, businesses will effectively see the switchover as a blip on the radar, given the change actually does not affect how they report data.
“Essentially there is no change to what they do – the software does it for them,” he said.
However, he cautioned that some initial teething problems could be expected.
“Where there will be some disruption is in the early transition phase, as is the case for any transition from one paradigm to another.
STP has been somewhat controversial, with one bookkeeper telling My Business sister Accountants Daily that, particularly, larger businesses are resisting the forced compliance “when they feel that they are compliant anyway”.
Yet Mr Berglund said that confusion and misconceptions of what STP will actually entail for businesses has been allowed to flourish.
“A lot of payroll professionals and business professionals, finance professionals, who went through the superannuation reporting paradigm change many years ago experienced quite some disruption with the ATO delaying and changing its intentions during that project. So there is probably a spillover, a memory effect, associated with that,” he explained.
“Any change at all always causes uncertainty, and gives the opportunity for people to put forward a point of view that might not necessarily be well-informed.
“[But] there are definitely entities out there that have sought to make it appear more complex than it actually is, because it is in their interests to potentially do so.”
Mr Berglund concluded that businesses that are prepared for the STP introduction and are working with their software providers ahead of time will simply reap the benefits.
“It is not a complex thing for an organisation to do once the solution has been put in place by their software vendor,” he said.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.
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