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MANY COMPANIES OUTSOURCE PAYROLL because it contains many moving parts. For instance, there’s the payment of wages each week or fortnight or month, sure. But there’s also superannuation contributions, PAYG obligations, annual and sick leave accrual.
Fortunately, most accounting apps like Xero and MYOB have made payroll easier to manage, particularly if you only have a handful of employees.
Electronic superannuation payments are one way that paying staff is made easier, but paying a dozen or so employees individually each week or fortnight can be tedious. Fortunately, both Xero and MYOB have a ‘pay run’ function that lets you make batch wage payments. This eliminates the tedium of paying employees individually, as well as the potential for error.
Accounting software calculates entitlements
MYOB, Xero and QuickBooks, if you’ve set up your employees correctly and have the appropriate payroll subscription, will also calculate your employees’ sick and annual leave entitlements, also reducing the time it takes to process payroll and the potential for error.
Third Quarter is Looming; Are You Up to Date with Payroll?
Most businesses using an accounting program like MYOB or Xero will use the included payroll package to manage their employees’ payroll. For businesses with only a few employees, however, the additional payroll function is an unnecessary expense.
Every Australian business with employees who are each paid more than the tax-free threshold has a legal obligation to withhold tax on their employees’ behalf. This is known as the PAYG System (or Pay As You Go), where amounts of tax are withheld from each employee’s wage payments.
Businesses that withhold up to $25,000 each year only need to make payments to the ATO each quarter; businesses withholding amounts greater than $25,001 may have to make payments to the ATO each month or as regularly as each week.
At the time of writing, the tax-free threshold is currently $18,200, which is equivalent to:
$350 a week
$700 a fortnight
$1,517 a month
Again, any business that pays its employees more than $450 each month must also make regular superannuation contributions on their employees’ behalf. We’ve written in the past about the government’s clearing house called SuperStream, which allows you to easily make super contributions — for free.
But first, you need to work out how much super you need to contribute for your employees. The superannuation guarantee is currently 9.5 percent of your employees’ gross wages, which is payable on top of their wages — not deducted out of.
Using tax tables to calculate wages
Each year, the ATO produces a range of tax tables to help you work out how much to withhold from payments you make to your employees. In our Ad Hoc Payroll Micro Course, we’ve already added the most current tax tables to the accompanying payroll spreadsheet, as well as the superannuation guarantee tables.
Companies with over 20 employees should ALREADY be compliant
In July last year, EzyLearn published a couple of posts about SuperStream, the government initiative to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system, which all businesses with 19 or fewer employees must be compliant with by June 30 this year. As we’ve now reaching June 30, it’s important to ensure that you’re fully compliant with SuperStream, the government’s electronic system for sending superannuation payments to your employees’ super funds.
If you’re already using a payroll system to pay super and send your employee information, then you may only need to alter your system slightly to ensure you’re compliant. If you don’t currently send super and employee information electronically, then you’ll need to implement a system for doing so – and as soon as possible.
Get compliant by using a SuperStream certified payroll system
If you currently use one of the major cloud accounting programs, such as MYOB AccountRight or Xero, they’re already SuperStream compliant – both have been gold certified, meaning they conform to all of the testing requirements for all data and messaging for SuperStream. As long as all of your employee information is current and accurate, then you’re already SuperStream compliant. It’s now just a click of a button in your accounting software to create the super fund report, which, along with the money, is sent through to each super fund.
If you’re not using a SuperStream compliant payroll system
If you don’t use MYOB AccountRight or Xero or another SuperStream compliant accounting package – or the version of MYOB you’re using isn’t up-to-date – then you can use the government’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, which is free for businesses with 19 or fewer employees and an aggregated turnover below $2 million per annum.
This will involve a few extra steps in the payroll process, and also involve some double handling of certain information, but it’s still an incredibly simple process to follow to ensure you’re sending your employees’ super contributions electronically.
If you currently use a bookkeeper, however, the double handling of information may make it less cost effective to use the government’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, as opposed to upgrading your accounting software to a compliant system, like Xero or MYOB AccountRight.
Check out this great video that explains from the horses mouth how SuperStream works and give you a checklist of things to do to see if you are compliant.
To find out if your current payroll system is SuperStream compliant, visit the ATO website, or ask your bookkeeper or accountant.
For training in SuperStream compliant payroll systems
If you decide to upgrade or adopt a SuperStream compliant one, and you’d like training in how to use it correctly, EzyLearn offers both MYOB training courses (which includes payroll) and Xero training courses, delivered completely online. Otherwise, for more small business news, tips and insights subscribe to our blog.
Good local bookkeepers
As bookkeeping tasks become more complicated and require more compliance you may find it better to use the services of an experienced bookkeeper who provides their services on a contract basis when you need them. If you want to find a local bookkeeper be sure to check out great bookkeepers at our bookkeeping directory National Bookkeeping. If you are a great bookkeeper and want to get more exposure and join a collaborative marketing team feel free to Pre Qualify and tell us about yourself.