7 signs that you should change payroll software now

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Sometimes you don't realise how much you need change until change happens.

Often it's only once it's all spelled out for you that you understand how naive you were.

This doesn't just apply for lifestyle changes. It also applies for your payroll software.

Chances are that you're probably using a payroll service that isn't right for you but you don't know what you're missing out on because you've never had it.

At Payroller, we don't want you to be wasting your time, energy and money on something that isn't right for you.

So, we've created a list of seven signs that indicate that you should change payroll software.

If you think that your software fits any of these criteria, then it might be time for you to consider finding a new solution that fits you better.

Let's get to it.

1. It's too complicated

Most of us aren't gurus when it comes to both technology and accounting.

Most of us don't have the time to spend learning to be a guru either.

That's why you need a software that's easy for you to understand.

You just need it to do what it's meant to do.

This means purposeful features, a layout that is simple and easy to navigate and functions that are useful and make sense.

There's quite a few payroll programs that have gotten away with being overly complicated for years because previously there was never a better alternative.

Because they're big companies, most people assume that they're always the best solution.

Plenty of them have bad layouts or lots of complicated features that you either don't need or just don't make any sense.

It can be hard to understand these programs without prior accounting knowledge.

It can be even harder to learn how to use these programs if you've got other, more important priorities.

A good rule of thumb to judge whether something is too complicated is to ask yourself how many features you don't understand.

Same goes if something is taking you too much time. It's usually an indicator of the software being overly complicated and not you as the user.

If this is an issue for you, try find a simpler program.

Ones that are dedicated to smaller businesses usually remove the confusing features and just simplify the entire process for you.

They've generally been built with the knowledge that you don't generally have a payroll specialist working for you.

2. It's too expensive

Unfortunately, we don't all have budgets the size of Google.

For most of us, we have to keep our expenses to an absolute minimum.

This means we don't always have the financial freedom to be purchasing an expensive software just to run payroll.

Many of the big players in the payroll industry charge large fees and have gotten away with it for years because their users are unaware of their options.

Lots of users assume with payroll software that the more expensive the program, the better the feature of the program.

That's not necessarily correct in regards to payroll.

There are a range of low-cost, effective solutions on the market, particularly if you're a micro-business or a small business.

So, if finances are something you worry about, finding a cheaper payroll software is a good way of reducing expensive costs.

You also need to be wary of what's included in your plan because although they may appear cheap, they usually cap what you can do with them pretty quickly.

Once your business reaches a certain level and you need to change plans, they tend to jump quite dramatically in costs.

Also be wary of hidden costs! Many companies don't include everything in the figure they advertise.

The above can also apply if your current software fits in your budget but you don't think you're getting your money's worth.

Don't unnecessarily spend your money on something that you can get for cheaper with exactly the same features.

3. It's not Single Touch Payroll (STP) approved

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) announced that as of July 2019, all small businesses will need to be STP compliant. This isn't new for medium and large businesses who made the move a year before.

If you're an Australian business, you can not ignore this.

In fact, as of July, it is ILLEGAL to ignore this.

All this takes is you checking with your software provider to see whether they're STP approved and whether STP is included in your subscription.

Most payroll software should be STP approved but you still need to check.

If you don't, you run the risk of getting in trouble with the ATO which is the last thing you want.

If this is news to you, we wrote a blog all about STP to help you get your head around it all.

Don't worry if you don't think you can make the move in time.

You can apply for an extension with the ATO if it's not going to be possible for you.

However, this extension only lasts until October and ultimately you will need to make the transition.

We recommend just making the move now as there's no guarantee that the ATO will even accept your request for an extension and it's better to form the habit now.

4. It takes too much time

There can be a fair bit of manual work for the employer with most payroll software.

It can be time-consuming for a business owner to go into the program and enter the details of each employee and the minute pay run details.

Once again, this isn't across the board.

It's actually a sign that the system you're using is a bit outdated.

Due to a lot of the major players in the payroll industry having a strong hold of the market, they don't update their systems regularly.

This means they can be slow and inefficient.

Simple, user experience and growth isn't necessary for them as they know they acquire customers because of their name.

A good payroll software should automate as much as possible.

The less work you need to do, the better the program.

If your software hasn't caught up to this yet then it might be time that you swap to a solution that is going to keep updated and is worthy of the money you spend on it.

A dedicated payroll service might be the answer for you as most of these are invested solely in improving their payroll system.

This means that they're always updating their features and working to make the overall experience for their users smoother and simpler, making the experience quicker and easier for you.

5. You don't feel like it fits your business

Let's face it, a lot of products on the market are targeted towards enterprises and large businesses with not much focus on the smaller guys.

The same goes for payroll services.

Most of these have a business model that encourage large businesses with lots of employees because they bring in more money.

This means that everything within the program is targeted towards large companies and as you would most likely know small businesses have very different needs.

Large companies usually have employees that are experts in payroll and accounting so they understand how this all works.

This ties back in with software being too complicated.

It doesn't bother the large companies because they generally have an expert to navigate all of this.

However, there are services that are built specifically for small businesses.

Although on the surface they may appear basic, they realistically provide you with everything you need.

If you don't think your business' needs are being met with your current program, maybe try out one of these services.

A lot of these smaller payroll providers also tend to be more invested in growing and developing with your business.

They'll generally be more focused on customer experience rather than simply the business side of things.

6. It's only available on certain devices

You may have a payroll system that's only available on the web.

Or perhaps it's just available on mobile.

It might suit you this way. You might prefer only using a web program or a mobile app.

But what happens when you don't have access to your computer or you don't have access to your phone.

You need to have a backup. You should be prepared for any situation that may occur.

This is particularly important now with the STP laws as there may be consequences if you miss reporting for a pay period.

It's better to have a solution that gives you options than cop a fine from the ATO.

It's also important to check whether your current program is cloud-based (backs up all your data online) because losing your data and reporting is just not an option.

I think we've all experienced that dreaded moment when you open up your computer and everything you worked on is suddenly gone or your computer decides to die and delete everything that you were doing.

Cloud-based software also allows you to work off multiple devices which is likely something you will need to do.

Most payroll software is cloud-based so it's unlikely you'll need to worry about this. If your software isn't then it's probably not that good to begin with. Trust me when I say that you can pay the same and get more than the absolute minimum.

However, most of these are usually just available on either web or mobile.

If you're interested in something that can do both, there are solutions available out there.

You usually won't pay any extra and it really simplifies the whole process.

7. It's too limited

As time goes on, so will your payroll needs and the features you want to see on your software.

A lot of payroll providers aren't focused on this.

Many of them are content with providing you basic features and will keep them the same forever.

That leaves it up to you to either find an additional service to go with your current one or find an entirely new one that meets your criteria.

That's not entirely fair though.

You should have a service that is always looking to improve itself and get better.

You need a software that will grow with your business, not hinder it.

There are payroll software out there that will do this.

Chances are however that they're not one of the large providers.

Payroll isn't a focus of these large accounting software providers. It's more so an element they need to include in their overall service.

Quite often, the smaller companies that focus on payroll offer better features as they're trying to compete with the big guys.

They also have more of a customer-based focus rather than a business-based focus.

This means that with these companies, they're always looking to develop and make the experience of their products better for you.

The verdict

If you're using a payroll software from one of the big providers like Xero, MYOB or Reckon and you're not satisfied, there are alternatives.

If any of the above applies to you, Payroller might be a good alternative for you.

Don't feel like you need to put up with a software that isn't right for you.

Changing over could be the best thing you ever do for your payroll.

Happy payrolling!

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