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    Single Touch Payroll Reporting

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Single Touch Payroll Reporting

5 steps to single touch payroll reporting


Mandatory reporting will start from:

  • 1 July 2018 for businesses that employ 20 or more people, and
  • 1 July 2019 for businesses that employ less than 20 people.

What do I need to do?

Count your employees: Do a headcount as at 1 April 2018. The ATO has tips on who to count.


Employers will need to have SBR-enabled software to comply with their PAYG withholding obligations. (SBR = Standard Business Reporting)

What do I need to do?

Check if yours complies here, or talk to your software provider, or contact your BDO adviser.


STPR means real-time reporting of payroll, PAYG withholding and superannuation payments to the government and associated government agencies.

What do I need to do?

Check your HR practices and payroll procedures, including PAYG, superannuation, leave allowances and timeliness of payments, comply with the Fair Work Act 2009 and associated amendments – visit


STPR encourages businesses to move away from paper-based payroll processes (such as timesheets, payslips, leave applications and expense claims), with the added benefit that employees will have access to their full payroll information online via their payroll vendor and year-to-date pay and superannuation contributions via a myGov account.

What do I need to do?

Encourage your employees to set up or update their myGov account and link it to the ATO’s online services as recommended by the ATO.


What do I need to do?

If you have followed the steps above, you’re ready to go!

Your payroll timeframes don’t need to change, but you can consider changing your PAYG withholding and superannuation liabilities to be in line with your payroll. Talk to your BDO adviser about the advantages of doing this.


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Contact Us

To register for a complimentary STPR consultation with a BDO adviser, please complete the enquiry form and we will be in touch.

BDO’s top tips for best practice payroll compliance

Payroll is a process that, done well, should be invisible to the rest of the business. However, it remains one of the biggest but preventable areas of risk for many businesses.

With the first wave of the ATO’s mandatory Single Touch Payroll Reporting (STPR) only months away, now is the opportunity to reflect on your business’ payroll environment and consider moving closer towards best practice before it is too late.

What are the most common mistakes businesses make with their payroll?

The recurring payroll pitfalls we have observed are:

  • Employees unintentionally paid below Award 
  • Incorrect withholding of PAYG creating problems for employees at tax time
  • Poorly managed (sometimes unlawful) salary sacrifice arrangements
  • Incorrect allocation of payroll related transactions in the accounting system
  • Businesses that struggle to meet the cashflow obligations of PAYG withholding tax and superannuation 
  • Lack of transparency of accrued leave (especially long service leave)
  • Employee entitlements not correctly recognised in the accounting system.

Your staff are at the heart of your business. A well-managed payroll function can preserve the organisational culture, and protect against the ill effects of payroll compliance risk - like lost productivity, cashflow pressures, ATO penalties and even industrial relations action against your business. 

How to avoid the pitfalls - our top tips for best practice payroll

Whether you have five employees, 50, or 500, these top tips can apply to businesses of all sizes.

  1. Modernise your systems. Ensure your software is future-fit by adopting a cloud-based payroll system that integrates with your accounting system. This eliminates the need to manually enter data multiple times and reduces the risk of inconsistencies between systems. This will also ensure you’re ready for the looming STPR deadlines.

  2. User experience is key. These days, everything is mobile. So why shouldn’t payroll be the same? If a task is easy, it’s more likely to get done – fast. Adopting modern systems harnessing mobile, self-service interfaces for staff to manage leave requests, changes to personal details, accessing payslips, submitting timesheets and viewing rosters, makes it easy for staff to follow the processes necessary for accurate payroll.

  3. Be ahead of STPR – lodge and pay the same time as payroll. Why wait until the end of the month or quarter to pay your PAYG withholding tax and superannuation liabilities? By preparing your cashflow budget where employee liabilities are paid in full every pay run, you not only have a better perspective of your business’ cash position, but you reduce the risk of penalties, interest, and upset employees when the payment deadlines are missed – not to mention, it’s two less things to diarise and think about!

  4. Reconcile key accounts every pay run. Often, checking on the payroll-related accounts in the accounting software is a month-end or quarter end task. To best protect against payroll compliance risk and excessive time spent correcting the accounting records, reconcile key accounts like PAYG withholding payable, superannuation payable and leave liabilities every pay run. 

  5. Register for alerts for legislation changes – payroll related legislation, especially Awards, can change frequently. Keeping up to date with these is critical to ensure staff are paid correctly and payroll compliance risk is minimised. Key legislation and regulations include (but are not limited to):
    • Fair Work Act 2009 and amendments
    • National Employment Standards
    • Industry and Occupation Awards
    • Superannuation Guarantee Rulings
    • Long service leave (state based)
    • Payroll tax (state based)
    • Workers compensation legislation (state based)
    • Australian Taxation Office updates.

  6. Outsource and focus on what you need to do. Payroll compliance is tricky. By outsourcing to experts – those that specialise in payroll – you can focus on the needs of your business and enjoy the peace of mind that your payroll compliance risk is recognised and minimised with:
    • Award interpretation guidance
    • Access to knowledge that is always up to date with legislation and best practice
    • Access to a dedicated team in payroll, without the limitations of geographical location
    • Continuity of service all year round – no more managing leave and training new staff
    • No need to hire more staff as your business grows – the service scales up with your business needs.
    • Adopting online systems ensures that all payroll-related processes, including outsourcing, are seamless and not bound by geographic limitations.

Are your payroll processes ready for ATO Single Touch Payroll Reporting? Our BDO advisers can work with you to ensure you are STPR compliant, ahead of the ATO deadlines. Please complete the enquiry form to register for a complimentary consultation.

STPR Action Plan Consultation Process

If you have requested your complimentary STPR consultation, or you are contemplating a request but are unsure about what this all means, the following outlines what you can expect from your complimentary STPR consultation.

  Steps What BDO will do What you should do
1 Arrange consultation BDO will contact you to arrange a suitable time for your STPR consultation (either via phone or in-person). Confirm the appointment for your complimentary consultation and ensure you have the time booked into your diary.
2 Understand current position A BDO STPR adviser will contact/meet you at the appointed time.
The adviser will explain how the new STPR process will work and take you through a series of questions to establish your current position in relation to STPR readiness.
Work with the BDO adviser to provide the information required to establish your current position.
3 Identify actions required From understanding your current position, BDO will provide an indication of key actions required (if any) for you to consider to ensure you are STPR compliant prior to the ATO’s deadline. Consider the action plan and how you intend to implement it to ensure you are STPR compliant prior to the ATO’s deadline.
4 Determine next steps BDO can provide you with a quote to help you with the actions identified during your discussions. Advise BDO to provide you with a quote.


Register for a free consultation

If you’re unsure about what Single Touch Payroll Reporting (STPR) means for your business, we can help. Register below for a complimentary STPR action plan consultation with a BDO adviser, and we’ll be in touch to guide you through the changes.