We recently attended the APA annual conference in Sydney – here are some highlights:
Simon Gallagher, MD from Drake Allegiance, spoke about the Changing Landscape of Payroll in Australia. He sees the biggest change facing the industry is the Payroll department becoming a Strategic Business Partner. He also sees that increasing complexity in Award Structures, and the Gig Economy (Freelancers / Contractors) will place extra pressure on the industry.
To illustrate his point, he says that the current makeup of the workforce is as follows, with more and more people moving to the Gig Economy:
He says that the industry needs to be changing to stay efficient. There needs to be; Process automation for Time Sheets, legacy systems must talk to each other, manual processes must be eliminated, and broken systems need to be fixed. AND, they all need to be accessible on a SMARTPHONE.
Simon pointed out that 85% of people have a SmartPhone – even blue collar workers. He also suggested that organisations should have a mobile based timesheet & rostering system, which should be fully automated with eye detection / biometrics etc.
Simon also suggested that organisations need to have real-time data, including salaries, reports and analysis, and that the payroll function must be business facing. He sees the use of bots for handling time off requests will become more common, taking the grunt work out of payroll, and allowing payroll people to become more of a strategic business partner.
Single Touch Payroll was discussed at length by John Shepherd (Assistant Commissioner from the ATO) and Ken Pullar (CEO of CIPP UK).
Some key take-away’s:
- Super is still to be paid quarterly
- PAYG can be paid at the same time as salaries, but won’t be compulsory
- STP is being introduced to enable real time data to employees, employers, and the ATO, and should eliminate end of year tax debts
- A speaker from the floor indicated that SAP won’t have STP compliant product until September 2018 at the earliest, and that clients would need to seek an exemption from the ATO based on the software not being ready. John Shepherd refuted that, saying that SAP needed to put in a request for a group extension for all their clients. He also indicated that the final spec for STP isn’t set in stone, and may change as they learn more from their test sites.
- John indicated that there are currently 72,000 employers in Australia with more than 20 employees, and a further 700,000 employers with fewer than 20 employees.
Another session on the day was “How Payroll Professionals can Protect Themselves Against Act Accessorial Liability”, presented by Natalie James, the Fair Work Ombudsman. This was a sobering discussion about risks for all associated with the payroll profession.
Maria Nikoletatos, the Chief Knowledge Officer from the APA, presented a very entertaining Technical Payroll Tips talk – yes – you read that correctly.
And finally, the Author/Speaker/Mentor, Andrew Griffiths, spoke about the need for Payroll Professionals to be effective communicators. He summarised by saying, to improve communication, we must:
- Have curiosity
- Have empathy
- Be present
- Tell stories
- Have humility
- Be brave
- Be playful
To see one of Andrew’s entertaining talks, look at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BegosarfWsI