Small businesses in danger of non-compliance as single touch payroll deadline looms

- June 11, 2019 2 MIN READ

55 per cent of small business owners don’t know what STP is

20 per cent of SMBs think STP doesn’t apply to them

64 per cent of SMB owners say they would embrace changes that help them work faster

New research by Xero has revealed that one in five small businesses wrongly believe that mandatory Single Touch Payroll (STP) reporting does not apply to them, potentially putting their business at risk of non-compliance.

Xero’s What’s STPing You survey found 55 per cent of small business owners have no understanding of STP, worse still one in five business owners wrongly believe STP does not apply to them. STP reporting becomes mandatory for all businesses with one or more employees from July 1 2019.

It is believed the move to digitise and streamline reporting will give the Australian Tax Office (ATO) better oversight on tax and superannuation payments to ensure employees and employers do not fall through the cracks.

Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry at Xero Australia, suggested it is the role of government, accountants and bookkeepers to help small businesses navigate regulatory changes and help them understand that switching to STP is not as complex as it may seem.

“Small business owners are run off their feet and often don’t have the bandwidth to stay on top of all of the new technologies. Our research found that there is a tension between small business owners being positive about the potential of technology and the barriers to adoption that stops them moving ahead. It’s a classic change management situation where we need to connect the need for change to a clear benefit they can achieve. This is particularly crucial in relation to boosting the uptake of STP.

“Advisors need to work with small business owners to help them navigate the process of understanding that STP adoption will provide them with a major boost to their business on a range of measures from efficiency to time saving and accuracy,” added Prouse.

When it comes to STP small business owners may be burying their head in the sand, yet they are not quite so blinkered with regards to adopting other digital tech.

Seventy-five per cent of thos surveyed supported the idea that Australia should become a more innovative country. While the majority of respondents (64 per cent) said they would embrace any changes that would help them work smarter or faster

To support small business owners in adopting new technologies and facilitating change in their business, Xero’s Change Manager, Eve McKenzie, suggested  advisers need to prepare business owners for change.

“People are the common denominator of any change. They are either impacted by the change or playing a role in implementing the change (or both) so they need to be considered and protected to the best of your ability during a change period. Think about what they need to have, or need to be able to do, in order to be successful in the new state.”

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