20% of small businesses think STP doesn’t apply to them

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It is less than a month before small businesses have to start using STP, but a survey finds 20% of them don’t think they have to use the new system.

20% of small businesses owners incorrectly think Single Touch Payroll (STP) doesn’t apply to them, with less than a month before the rules change, according to a survey commissioned by software company Xero.

STP is a new system for reporting payroll and superannuation information to the ATO. Small businesses (fewer than 20 employees) have to start using it from 1 July 2019. Large employers have had to use STP since 1 July 2018.

The survey revealed a concerning lack of awareness of STP, in addition to the 20% of small businesses who thought it didn’t apply to them, 55% said they didn’t know what it was and 11% said they weren’t compliant yet.

The extension of STP to small employers was announced in August 2017.

Matthew Prouse, Head of Industry at Xero Australia, said it was the job of government, accountants and bookkeepers to help small businesses with regulatory changes, including understanding that STP is not as complex as it might 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.”

The research was commissioned by Xero and conducted by Pureprofile in May 2019, involving 300 Australian small business owners with one to 19 employees.

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