Xero

How to set up STP in your accounting software – part 1 – Xero

If you’re a small employer with 19 employees or less, you have until 30 September 2019 to connect your accounting software to the ATO for Single Touch Payroll (STP) purposes. If you haven’t yet done so because you simply don’t know how to do it, then this blog is for you! This will be a four-part series beginning with Xero software. We will cover Saasu, MYOB and QuickBooks Online in subsequent blogs.


Connecting your Xero file for STP

Before proceeding with the connection, it is advised that you review and update your organisation details and also all employee details like dates of birth, tax file numbers and residential addresses. It is also advised that you check your payroll set up especially pay items and ensure they are correct. Your tax professional can assist with this if necessary.

Here are the steps you need in order to connect:

  1. In the Payroll menu, select “Pay employees”.
  2. In the message about Changes to the way you report payroll information to the ATO, click “Get started”.
    If you don’t want to opt-in right now, close the message by clicking Remind me later. To reopen the message, click Setup Single Touch Payroll.
  3. Click Opt-in to confirm.
  4. Review your organisation details. If necessary, click Update Organisation details. Xero will redirect you to the Organisation details page. Otherwise, click Continue.
  5. To connect your Xero account to the ATO, call the ATO on 1300 852 232. If you use the ATO business portal or have a myGov account, you can also log into Access Manager and nominate Xero as your software service provider there – a bit easier than calling the ATO!
  6. Provide the ATO with the proof of ownership listed in Xero’s prompt, including your Australian Business Number (ABN) and Software ID (SSID).
  7. Select the checkbox to confirm you’ve contacted the ATO to connect your Xero account.
  8. Click Register.

Xero will redirect you back to the Pay employees page. You’ll now see an STP filing column in the Pay Run History table.

Once you’re set-up, the option to report a payment to the ATO will be presented for each pay run and your payroll information will be filed with the tax office each time.


I need more information

No problems! Here is the link to the Xero blog about connecting for STP – includes details for business owners and tax professionals connecting on their clients’ behalf.


In part 2 of our blog series, we will look at how to connect MYOB software for STP purposes.

Like it? Share it!

How to get started with Single Touch Payroll

As mentioned in our last blog, smaller employers with less than 19 employees will need to start reporting their payroll data via Single Touch Payroll by 1 July 2019. That’s not far away and if this affects you, you need to start getting ready now! Don’t panic though, we are here to help and to that end, we have prepared a “get started with STP” checklist to assist you.

Before sharing our checklist with you, just a little bit of background for those in the “I don’t know anything about STP” camp…

What is STP?

STP is a reporting change regarding your payroll. Instead of reporting your payroll data once to the ATO at the end of the financial year, you will report each pay run or “payroll event” (as it is now called) to the ATO at the time it is processed. The reporting will be done via your accounting software. Your payroll processes do not need to change – the only change is that your payroll information will be reported more often to the ATO.

Why STP?

The ATO are trying to streamline the processes for employers and employees regarding all things payroll, from providing employers with current tax file number information and super details of new employees, to allowing employees to see their tax and super information in real time. Some benefits of STP can include:

  • No more payment summaries (or “income statements” as they now called). Employers will no longer need to provide employees with payment summaries as they will now access them via their myGov accounts instead, once the final pay event of the financial year is sent to the ATO via STP.
  • No more PSAR’s – employers will no longer need to provide the ATO with a payment summary annual report.
  • Employees can see at any time, their year-to-date payments from employers, superannuation paid, access their payment summaries and also access their Notice of Assessment once their tax return is completed. They will be able to access all of this information via their myGov accounts.
  • Employers will be able to offer online commencement forms to new employees including the TFN declaration, Superannuation Choice form and Medicare levy variation declaration form. This will all be available via myGov and will be provided to both the employer and the employee making onboarding a new employee a more streamlined process and helping to delays and errors.

Getting started with STP Checklist

The first thing to know about STP is that nothing really changes for you. You will continue to process your payroll as you always have except that at the end of each pay run, you will click a button in your accounting software and send the payroll data to the ATO. Of course, before you can do this, you need to set up STP in your software and ensure that the ATO knows about it! Below is a list of items you need to do in order to get ready for STP.

  1. Decide when you want to start reporting via STP. You can begin right now if you wish, meaning your 2018-19 FY year-to-date payroll data will be sent to the ATO. You can wait until the official start date i.e. July 1 2019 or you can opt in some time between July 2019 and September 30 2019 as the ATO are allowing smaller employers to delay STP until the end of the first quarter in the 2019-20 FY (but no later).
  2. Employees and myGov accounts. In the near future, all communications from government departments including the ATO, will only be available via a myGov account. You need to tell your employees to register for a myGov account now. Here is a link you can share with employees from the ATO about STP and how it relates to them. You can also provide them with this link to assist them to register for a myGov account https://www.humanservices.gov.au/individuals/online-help/create-mygov-account
  3. Perform a payroll health check. The ATO advise that it is good practice to review all payroll items and employee setups etc. before starting to report via STP to ensure that payroll data reported is accurate and correct. We think this is a good idea too. Check things like allowances, superannuation rate, salary sacrifice, deductions, PAYG withholding rate, employees’ contact details, using correct award, agreement and/or contract etc.
  4. Connecting your software to the ATO for STP. In order to lodge payroll data via STP, firstly, you need to notify the ATO of the special software ID (SID) number from your accounting software. There are several ways to do this. If you have access to your business portal, you will notify via Access Manager. If you have your ABN connected to your myGov account, you can notify via myGov. If you don’t have either of those options available, you can call the ATO on 1300 85 22 32 and notify over the phone. Note, this is an important step and if not done, you will not be able to send your STP report to the ATO. See more information here. Once you have notified the ATO re the SID, you are ready to set up STP in your software and start reporting. Below are some links re to how to set up STP in each of the more common accounting software packages to get you started:

Need more help?

Further information or reading. If you would like further information or would like to do some reading about STP, here are some links which may assist you:

We can help – give us a call..

We realise that this is a lot to take in and that you will probably have questions or need assistance with set up. Please feel free to contact us to make an appointment to discuss your needs etc. We’d be happy to assist.


Like it? Share it!

Single Touch Payroll – is your accounting/payroll software ready?

Single Touch Payroll (STP) is formerly starting on 1 July 2018 for employers of 20 or more staff. So if you fall into this category, do you know if your accounting software is going to be ready by the start date? In today’s blog, we outline who will be ready and who is lagging behind!


We wrote about STP in our blog in May last year and in that blog we explained what STP actually is:

“STP is a government initiative requiring employers to report their payroll information to the ATO including gross wages paid,  PAYG withholding tax and superannuation at the time a payrun is created i.e. every payrun. The reporting will occur directly from your chosen payroll software solution.”

So basically, each time a pay run is completed, the information about who was paid, how much they were paid, the super accrued and the tax withheld, is sent electronically to the ATO via your accounting software (or other external payroll software). If you are a large employer, your business needs to start using STP from 1 July 2018 and you can only do this if your accounting or payroll software is going to be ready on time. Here is a list of the software companies who claim that they will be ready by 1 July 2018………. and those who won’t be ready! Also included are links to the various software blogs which explain their STP status and what you need to do now if you use that software.


Who will be ready on time?

From MYOB link above: “Single Touch Payroll is almost here and MYOB is working directly with the ATO to ensure that you’re ready to go when it becomes mandatory on 1st July 2018 for businesses with 20 or more employees. All of MYOB’s payroll enabled solutions will be compliant prior to the reporting date and deliver an easy-to-use solution to make this transition as smooth as possible.”

From the QBO link above:

“Will QuickBooks Online Payroll powered by KeyPay support Single Touch Payroll?

 
Yes, absolutely! We’re already investigating the requirements for STP reporting and will commence our implementation soon. The ATO are planning to release more information for software developers in Oct 2017 so as soon as that is available, we’ll begin our build.

We don’t have an ETA on when it’ll be ready to use, however we will definitely be ready before July 1 2018.”

From the Saasu link above: “We have already started work on Single Touch Payroll reporting within Saasu. We don’t have a fixed date on when it will be ready to use, but we will definitely be completed before July 1, 2018. We’ll make sure you know when the STP reporting functionality gets rolled out. STP will be included in your file automatically, without you needing to update, and without additional upgrade costs.”

From the Reckon link above: “All Reckon products with Payroll functionality will be STP enabled and ATO certified by 1 July 2018. This includes Reckon One, Reckon Accounts Desktop, Reckon Accounts Hosted and Payroll Premier. Reckon is part of the Australian Business Software Association who are working collaboratively to help shape and influence the design and implementation of Single Touch Payroll.”

From the CP link above: “STP reporting comes into effect on the 1st July 2018 and will be offered as part of CloudPayroll’s standard services.”

Who won’t be ready on time (and has applied to the ATO for a deferral)?

From the Xero link above: “Australia’s 1 July deadline to adopt Single Touch Payroll (STP) is fast approaching. But if you or your clients are on Xero, there’s some good news: You may have extra time. Thanks to the ATO, Xero subscribers will have a deferral of as much as six months to ensure a smooth rollout of STP.”

So basically, some Xero users will have access to STP on 1 July 2018 and others will be introduced to it later via a rollout system: “The Xero platform will invite you to use STP when it’s time to make the switch. Until then, you can process payroll as normal, without incurring any penalty. It’s that simple.”

From the MYOB other link above: “Clients who are unable to move to an STP enabled version of AccountRight, because they are currently using multi-currency, negative inventory, multi location inventory, M-Powered Payment or ODBC and those using AccountEdge, have been granted an STP reporting deferral until 31 May 2019. Others are encouraged to move to the latest version of AccountRight to ensure you are ready to meet your STP reporting obligations. “

What can I do if my software will not be ready for STP implementation by July 1 2018?

If your software isn’t going to be ready for STP by 1 July 2018, it’s developers will apply for a deferral and will be able to provide you with a deferral reference number (DRN) which you can then quote to the ATO to advise re the delay.

NB! If your business will not be ready for STP and the reason is not related to software delays, then you will have to apply to the ATO for a separate deferral yourself. If you engage a registered BAS or Tax Agent, then he/she can apply for a deferral on your behalf – see notes from the ATO below:

“Deferrals

Employers who won’t be ready to start STP reporting from 1 July 2018, or by their software provider’s start date, will need to apply to us for a deferral.

Registered agents providing a payroll service, or supporting employers to transition to STP, can apply for a deferral for their clients. This includes registered tax agents, registered BAS agents and payroll service providers.

You must be a registered tax or BAS agentExternal Link to report through STP for your clients, or apply for a deferral on their behalf.


So in summary, most of the popular accounting software giants will be ready for STP come 1 July 2018 and some won’t be so ready! If your software or business won’t be ready, then a deferral application to the ATO is required. If you would like more information re STP and/or assistance with the deferral application, please get in touch – we’d be happy to assist!

[highlight color=”blue”] NB! If your chosen accounting/payroll software isn’t listed here in this blog, we advise that you contact that software immediately to find out their STP status! [/highlight]

Like it? Share it!

Comparison of payroll features in major accounting software

If you are looking for accounting software with payroll, you may want to review my comparison table below before making the big purchase. As the saying goes, “oils ain’t oils” and the same goes for payroll features offered by software companies. Basically, some features are great and others, well, not so great. Our comparison table reviews some payroll features offered by Saasu, Xero, QuickBooks Online and MYOB Essentials. I won’t be favouring one platform over the other in this blog, that’s your job; I will simply be presenting the facts which will hopefully make your choice a little easier.

Like it? Share it!

How to make journals in Saasu & Xero more useful

One of the most useful features found in cloud-based accounting software such as Xero and Saasu is the ability to upload and attach documents to various transactions. This is great because it means that not only are you complying with your record keeping requirements, but you can also verify your purchases with others. By “others” I mean your accountant, bookkeeper and yes, the ATO should they ask for supporting evidence. Most Saasu and Xero users will be aware that they can upload and attach source documents to sales and purchase invoices. What they may not be aware of is that you can also attach documents to journal transactions. Today I will show you how this done in Saasu.

Like it? Share it!
Scroll to Top