A straw poll of 780 respondents conducted by My Business sister publication Accountants Daily has revealed that just 11.7 per cent of small business clients are ready for Single Touch Payroll, despite the regime set to begin in three months’ time.
While the ATO has been reaching out to small businesses in a bid to spread awareness ahead of the 1 July deadline, accountants and bookkeepers are being heavily relied on to help nudge clients to make the transition.
Speaking to Accountants Daily, Leanne Berry (pictured), Love Your Numbers director, said that accountants and advisers should start transitioning their business clients ahead of the end of financial year rush and sell them the benefits of using STP, rather than using the impending deadline as a scare tactic.
“I’ve used this as a way of saying, I know we haven’t had software previously and we’ve been using manual systems, but this is an ideal opportunity for us to review what we’ve been doing and how you’ve been calculating, and talking about the benefits and not solely around because it is now law and how you have to report to the government, but more around their business operations and financial management,” Ms Berry said.
“It’s not about fear, it is about education. It is more about the financial management of their business and the accuracy of having data that helps them make decisions about their business and helps them manage their business more effectively.
“It’s not just another reporting requirement; using STP-enabled products means not having to provide payment summaries or spend hours reporting at the end of the financial year. It improves payroll processes, saving time and increasing accuracy.”
Acknowledging that some microbusiness clients have concerns over software costs, Ms Berry believes it is up to advisers to help frame the benefits of using STP-enabled products to businesses.
“We live in a subscription world — they are happy to have subscriptions for Netflix for their entertainment, but they are not happy to have a subscription for the financial management and security and safety of their business,” she said.
“You are paying a subscription for Netflix, Stan, Spotify, and they all add up to a more than $100 on a monthly basis, and you are paying that without any qualm and it’s solely for entertainment purposes.
“Surely, $100 a month for financial management is within their realm of possibility. We are not selling price — we are selling features, benefits and savings.”
In February, the ATO published a detailed register of STP products catered for micro employers, outlining their pricing and availability ahead of the 1 July deadline.
To help small businesses make the transition, My Business has developed a comprehensive guide on the roll-out of Single Touch Payroll, which is now available to download for free.