Date posted: 18/09/2019 5 min read

Payroll – an untapped opportunity for practices

Mandatory payday filing has put a spotlight on payroll services for employers and accounting firms. Brought to you by MYOB.

In Brief

  • Many businesses see payroll as a time-consuming and difficult task, leading them to outsource the function.
  • Offering payroll services provides accounting practices with regular cash flow and opportunities for more contact with clients.
  • Every client has different needs, so flexibility is key to offering payroll services.

Sarah Collie CA, a director at O’Connor Richmond in Gore, says offering payroll services is a plus for the practice and its clients. She talks to Acuity about going digital and the growth opportunities that have come with the introduction of mandatory payday filing in New Zealand.

Sarah Collie CA

Why offer payroll services?

Payroll services have been an important part of our practice for a number of years. It’s a key point of difference for us in the market. In many cases it’s why our clients choose to work with us. The regular recurring income from our payroll services is excellent from a cash-flow perspective. It also means more regular contact with clients, giving us greater insight into how their businesses are performing. That’s helped increase the value of our business advisory services and enabled us to build stronger, more trusted relationships with clients over the long term.

Payroll is often seen as being difficult and time consuming – is that fair?

That’s certainly how many businesses see payroll. In a lot of cases it’s what leads them to outsource all or part of their payroll function. Payday filing has been a big driver in that as well. We’re fortunate we’ve got two payroll specialists in house, and a number of accounting staff to support our external payroll clients. That makes things easier. It’s also important to use the best tools for the job. For the past several months we’ve been moving the majority of our external payroll clients onto Essentials Payroll. Essentials lets us communicate and work with our external clients in real time, which has meant great time savings and process efficiencies.

How’s the experience been moving clients from desktop payroll to the online Essentials Payroll?

We made a conscious decision in 2018 to move a big chunk of our external payroll client base to MYOB Essentials. Keeping our team focused on the digital vision and end goal has worked well. We’ve had very positive feedback from clients who we’ve moved online to Essentials. A number have also started using MYOB’s PayAgent payroll intermediary service that comes with Essentials. That’s been quite a shift for them, but they’re seeing the benefits from the time saved.

Is mandatory payday filing a big opportunity or is that wishful thinking?

I’ve seen first-hand since late 2018 how demand for our payroll services has increased. Now we’ve had a couple of months under the new filing regime, many businesses have realised they don’t want the extra hassle of payday filing. We’re getting regular calls from clients and prospective clients looking to outsource payroll and expect this will continue.

“We’re getting regular calls from clients and prospective clients looking to outsource payroll and expect this will continue.”
Sarah Collie CA

Any advice to practices looking at moving into payroll services?

Flexibility is key because every client is different. Some are looking to outsource payroll fully, others want us to do the processing while they manage wage and PAYE payments, and some just want advice on best practice payroll systems and process.

And moving from desktop payroll software to Essentials Payroll?

You need great change leadership from the top. Everyone needs to be onboard at a partner level, that’s critical. And keep reinforcing the vision of what your practice is trying to achieve for your team and your clients. If you’re with MYOB, work closely with your partner manager and utilise their product and change management expertise. It really is a partnership and they have a big role to play in your successful transition, too.

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