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.

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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]

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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.

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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.

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Virtual Bookkeeping? Please Explain?

Okay so you run a small business and things are super busy! You’ve got lots to organise – employees, clients, projects, supplies, website, marketing and dare I say it, yes, the bookkeeping and tax compliance tasks! Some business owners prepare their own books but many are outsourcing the task to professional bookkeepers instead. Some prefer to employ an onsite bookkeeper but others have chosen to use the services of virtual bookkeepers. They have done this for various reasons, the main ones being:

  • As small business owners, they are probably operating a home-based business and do not want someone regularly coming into their home/family space.
  • They operate from a formal office which does not have the space for another worker, desk and equipment etc. or
  • Their business is primarily mobile and as such, they don’t really utilise a physical office.
So just what is a virtual bookkeeper and how does virtual bookkeeping work? What are the pitfalls or cons or virtual bookkeeping? Today we answer these questions and more……..

A virtual bookkeeper is someone who works remotely, utilising current technologies and the internet to complete bookkeeping and other tasks for his clients. Virtual bookkeeping is not location-dependent. A virtual bookkeeper can offer services to clients Australia-wide (or perhaps worldwide), without leaving his office. The internet, current technologies and cloud services all make this possible. At e-BAS Accounts, while we do have some local clients whom we see in person, we are essentially virtual bookkeepers and maintain clientele in several Australian states even though we are Victorian-based. To ensure the virtual relationship runs smoothly, we use a system which we will share with you today. Here is a summary of how our virtual bookkeeping system works. If  you would like to read the extended version, head here.

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