Payroll Software and People Management blog

The SuperStream Deadline Is Quickly Approaching. Is Your Small Business SuperStream Compliant?

Posted by Sage MicrOpay on Mon, May 16, 2016 @ 01:32 PM

DrumbeatCreative_GL_040414-74.jpgThe ATO SuperStream compliant deadline for small business (with 19 or fewer employees) is 30 June 2016.  But don’t panic if you haven’t finished your compliance.  We are here to help you every step of the way.

Just a quick refresher on SuperStream first:

SuperStream is a government reform requiring employers to make their superannuation contributions in a consistent, timely and efficient manner to a member’s account.  You will now have to adapt your superannuation process and collect additional information particularly if you are making multiple superannuation contribution files and making cheque payments.  Here is a brief summary of the new SuperStream requirements:

  • All data must be sent electronically and in standard message format
    This means no more hard copy reports can be sent and data cannot be faxed, emailed or posted
  • All superannuation contribution payments must be made electronically as you will no longer be able to make cheque payments
  • Data and money need to be linked with a unique payment reference number
  • Data and payments must be sent on the same day
  • Additional employee information and contribution information is required to meet the SuperStream data standard

While these new requirements may look scary and seem like a lot of change for your small business, compliance is not as difficult as it may seem.  In the long run, there will be substantial benefits for your business; costs will decline and efficiencies will increase by improved data flows and the elimination of manual handling. 

If you are struggling with how to start the process, here is some information to help you with your compliance journey:

Choose your packaged SuperStream solution

Sage WageEasy customers can integrate their payroll system with Sage Express Super , our superannuation clearing house, which will distribute payments to multiple employee superannuation funds on your behalf. The clearing house automates your processes to make it easy to achieve compliance, and well in time for the 30 June deadline.

Numbers, Codes and Other Acronyms

Throughout the compliance process you will see reference to lots of new acronyms, identifiers, numbers and codes.  Here is a brief rundown to make sense of all of these for your small business:

USI: Unique Superannuation Identifier. This is a code given to all superannuation funds and can be found through the ATO SuperTick, Fund Validations Service (VFS), or by simply asking the individual fund. 

Payment Reference Number (PRN): This is a unique reference that you will create and add to both the contribution data and banking file to link payment to contribution data for each superannuation payment.  This number is generated by your business every time you generate superannuation data and payments.

ESA (Electronic Service Address): This is used in order for those people who have Self-Managed Funds to be able to receive data messages notifying them of SuperStream employer contributions.  Your employees who have a Self-Managed Super Fund should provide you with the ESA.

Gather your employee’s relevant data

This task may seem daunting to larger businesses but for small businesses with under 20 employees, this should not be too time consuming.  Plus many of you will already have this employee information on file.

Once you choose and start running your SuperStream product, you will need to collect and enter the following details for each of your employees: tax file number, super fund, Australian Business Number, Unique Super Identifier, Account Numbers and BSBs and electronic service addresses.  Once you have collected all of your employee’s data and have updated your employee record, you are set to start making SuperStream payments.

We understand as a small business owner you are focused on achieving your business goals, once you are SuperStream compliant you will see the benefits.  Electronic payments and single file transactions will save you time and effort, time that you can reinvest into your small business.  And most importantly of all you will be fully SuperStream compliant with the Tax Office.

For more information on SuperStream please visit the ATO at

We are also pleased to offer our customers a free webinar on Sage Express Super and SuperStream in time for the 30 June deadline.  Click here to register. 

Topics: payroll, SuperStream, superannuation

Why it’s important to have a Data Care plan in place for your business

Posted by Sage MicrOpay on Thu, Dec 10, 2015 @ 01:10 PM

Sage_AUS_Colleague_81I2299.jpgThere are many benefits of having a Data Care service in place to ensure that you have anytime, anywhere access to your payroll software

You will always be able to pay your employees 

Your employees rely on being paid each pay cycle and it's your obligation as an employer to ensure this occurs on time, every time. Backing up your payroll database and having disaster recovery in place will ensure that you can always pay your employees on time, even without direct access to your payroll software.

Peace of mind that your business has a plan in place in the event of unforseen circumstances

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Thinking ahead and utilising a Data Care service to backup your data gives you peace of mind that you will be able to access your payroll data at any time and from anywhere with an internet connection.

Your business can maintain productivity and reduce lost time with remote access
With a Data Care recovery service, even when your systems are out of action you can get remote access to a Private Cloud server where your data is recovered to a stand by payroll application and you are up and running your payroll again in no time.

At Sage, we have a payroll Data Care service available for your Sage MicrOpay software. Our complete data care service includes backups, off-site storage and disaster recovery, or if you maintain your own payroll data backups we have a disaster recovery only service.

To find out more visit or email

Topics: payroll, disaster recovery

5 questions you should ask a prospective payroll outsourcing provider.

Posted by Sage MicrOpay on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 @ 09:11 AM

Questions for an outsourcing providerOutsourcing payroll processing to an external provider still remains a very popular method among businesses of ensuring this critical function is completed effectively. As a result, there is currently a multitude of payroll outsourcing organisations available, each with their own strengths and weaknesses.

Choosing the right provider for your business is an important process and many find that a thorough examination of your short-listed payroll outsourcing bureaus pays dividends in the long run. To help you during this stage, we have composed 5 questions below that should be asked to all candidates to ensure there are no hidden surprises once your choice has been made.

Do you charge for every payroll change made?

An organisation’s workforce is constantly changing, from adding new employees, to changing salaries, contact details and bank accounts of current staff, to terminations. One of the consequences of this reality is the subsequent alterations that need to be made to the payroll to reflect these changes.

Bearing in mind the amount of modifications that could accumulate during the space of one pay period, discovering how each payroll outsourcing service charges for these adjustments often proves to be a prudent decision. This is especially true for those organisations with a higher number of employees, which obviously results in more changes being necessary from week to week.

What reporting options do you offer?

Every business is different and accordingly each has its own unique set of requirements. This also applies to payroll reporting, where all organisations have their own individual needs, typically including both standard reports plus more advanced, personalised versions.

It is important that you clearly understand how each payroll outsourcing provider structures their report offerings and what options are available to you. Knowing exactly which reports are included with your monthly fee and also what others are available along with their cost will help you to discover whether your company’s reporting requirements will be met cost-effectively or not.

Are there penalties for cancelling the agreement?

Unfortunately businesses can sometimes make the wrong decision and find themselves with payroll outsourcing providers that aren’t meeting their needs. The problem can also be compounded by the company being locked into a long-term contract with heavy penalties for early termination.

To avoid the possibility of falling into this situation, it is always a prudent course of action to ask all prospective payroll outsourcing providers what the terms of their service agreements are. Enquiries should also be made about whether there are any break costs if you decide to end your association with the provider earlier than expected.

Finding an outsourcing organisation that provides flexible terms has many benefits. Not only does it obviously empower your company with the freedom to change your payroll outsourcing service whenever you like, it also ensures that your bureau will work harder to retain your business.

What are your disaster recovery capabilities?

Will your payroll data be protected in the event of a disaster? It is imperative for all businesses to ensure their employees continue to be paid no matter what adverse events the future brings.

Finding out what resources and business continuity plans a payroll outsourcing provider has in place should a disaster occur provides you with the knowledge that your business is safeguarded in the future, putting your mind at ease. It can also prove useful to learn what your responsibilities are in the disaster recovery process, allowing you to be completely prepared if the time comes.

What are the response times to customer enquiries?

One of the most important aspects of the relationship between a company and the bureau that processes its payroll is how enquiries are handled. No matter which outsourcing provider you choose, enquiries relating to your payroll will inevitably arise that you will need answered in a prompt fashion. 

Discovering how these queries will be dealt with and defining a clear understanding of service levels and response times with a provider will help to ensure that you aren’t left in the dark wondering what is happening with your enquiries.  It can also be a wise decision to find out exactly who will be responsible for fielding questions relating to your payroll. Is it the actual person processing your payroll or is a call centre approach used to field all questions? Many businesses often prefer a more personalised approach so identifying this can have a large bearing on their final decision.


Topics: payroll, outsourcing

National Payroll Week 2013.

Posted by Sage MicrOpay on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 @ 01:38 PM

Happy National Payroll Week! National Payroll Week

Sage MicrOpay would like thank all of the hard working payroll professionals out there and wish them an enjoyable week.

There is so much more to payroll that meets the eye, it is a highly regulated and complex business process that often goes unrecognised. National Payroll Week is a time where we can all acknowledge the year-round hard work of our payroll professionals.

After all, without them we would not get paid!

Topics: payroll

6 reasons why outsourcing your payroll could save you time and money.

Posted by Sage MicrOpay on Wed, Feb 06, 2013 @ 11:39 AM

Payroll OutsourcingIn today’s competitive business environment, companies are continually searching for cost-effective ways to streamline their processes and become more efficient. This trend extends to the payroll function, where there are many different options available to ensure this critical part of every business is completed effectively. Whilst numerous organisations prefer to process their payroll on-premise with their own computer infrastructure and software, many businesses find that choosing to outsource their payroll is the most prudent course of action. Why is this so? The following explains the many benefits of having your payroll processed by an external party and why this option could be the most beneficial for your organisation too.

Complex IT infrastructure not required

Payroll software solutions can often be large complex programs, frequently connecting to multiple databases and accessed by numerous simultaneous users. One of the pre-requisites to effectively implement and operate these programs on your premises is the presence of the appropriate IT infrastructure including hardware, software and networking capabilities. Additionally these systems also need to be upgraded and maintained over time to ensure they fulfil the requirements of the latest software updates.

Businesses that prefer to outsource their payroll function do not need to possess their own payroll software solution. As a result, these organisations can avoid the significant costs involved with maintaining a complex IT infrastructure for their payroll systems.   

No need for dedicated payroll staff

One of the major advantages of electing to outsource your company’s payroll processing is the resulting reduction in the need to employ specialist payroll staff. The process of recruiting, employing and retaining highly trained payroll professionals to complete your payroll obligations on-site is often a time-consuming and expensive ongoing operation. Careful consideration must be applied to ensure that applicants with the appropriate skills and experience are firstly identified, attracted and successfully hired.

Outsourcing your payroll to an external organisation negates the need for capital outlay on recruitment processes and labour costs, representing a large financial saving.

Remain compliant

One of the most important duties for any business that processes its own payroll is the job of keeping up with the latest payroll legislation to ensure they remain safe and compliant. Unfortunately, Australia’s extremely complex taxation system means completing this exercise successfully can often be a challenge.

By outsourcing your payroll to a professional bureau, the risk of non-compliance is transferred, meaning you no longer have to constantly ensure your payroll processes abide by the current regulations. Organisations that specialise in processing payroll for external parties are also much better equipped to ensure continued compliance by employing experienced payroll professionals and implementing the latest software updates to their software systems.

Access to data recovery and backup measures

Having constant access to your payroll data is critical to the continued success of your business. The implementation of disaster recovery and backup measures to keep your data safe should something unforeseen happen to your premises is another cost that all businesses must face if they choose to process their payroll in-house.

Due to the large amount of sensitive information they handle every day, payroll outsourcing operations have extensive data recovery and backup contingency plans in place in the event of disaster. This means that your payroll data is conveniently protected as a part of the outsourcing service you choose, giving you peace of mind that your employee information is safe.

No large capital outlay

The purchase and implementation of the requisite IT infrastructure plus the appropriate payroll software solution to process your payroll in-house often involves large upfront costs. For businesses with tight cash flows, this capital outlay can represent quite a large obstacle.

Organisations are able to avoid this situation by taking advantage of the monthly payment options and low implementation fees that numerous payroll outsourcing bureaus offer. Plans can also be tailored depending upon your needs such as the amount of reporting, or the number of data changes needed each pay period meaning you only pay for the services you require.

No training costs

Organisations that employ full-time payroll professionals to process their payroll on-premise enjoy many benefits including direct access to their payroll data and the ability to immediately produce any required reports. A drawback of this approach however is the need to ensure that these employees are properly trained in the latest payroll software solutions as well as current government regulations.

Businesses that rely on a payroll outsourcing service to process their payroll do not need to employ full-time specialists or arrange regular training sessions. Instead this duty is left to outsourcing providers, resulting in these companies avoiding a number of training costs.

Topics: payroll, outsourcing

Top tips for keeping up to date with payroll legislation changes.

Posted by Sage MicrOpay on Wed, Jan 23, 2013 @ 09:17 AM

Keep up to date with payroll legislationAustralia’s taxation system, due to the numerous legislative requirements that accompany it, is one of the most complex in the world. To ensure compliance, all businesses must keep abreast of the latest adjustments to laws that affect payroll and taxation.

Fortunately, help is at hand. There are many, freely available sources of information that can assist your payroll and HR staff in staying well informed and prepared when changes do occur.  


Choose a payroll software provider that supplies software updates when legislative changes occur.

Ideally, your payroll software solution provider should make the task of staying legislatively compliant much easier by providing regular, timely software updates when changes are made to laws that impact the payroll process. This is particularly important prior to the start of the new financial year when new regulations such as changes to tax rates, introduction or cessation of levies and adjustments to Modern Awards generally come into effect.

Software updates should be accompanied by release notes which provide an overview of the changes included in the update. These overviews are invaluable as they usually summarise not only the changes to your software but also the legislative changes addressed by the software update. Release notes are an excellent resource that payroll professionals can utilise to stay informed of changes.

Attend payroll seminars covering the latest payroll legislation.

Payroll seminars and industry conferences offer a great opportunity for payroll professionals to enhance their knowledge. Seminars may be focused on a specific area such as payroll procedure, legislative changes, or a combination of several topics. Regardless, these seminars are dedicated to educating payroll personnel on the latest regulatory changes, future directions, industry trends and other issues that have an impact on payroll processing.  Sessions are presented by experts in their field, giving your payroll staff the chance to gain valuable insight.

Attending seminars focused specifically on payroll legislation, particularly new or changed legislation, is an excellent way for your payroll staff to gain an understanding of the latest regulatory changes.

These seminars are presented by a number of organisations, including Sage MicrOpay. Not only do they provide your payroll personnel with the opportunity for development, they also allow your staff to meet, build relationships and exchange ideas with other professionals in the payroll industry.

Visit the Australian Taxation Office website.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) provides a wealth of easily accessible reference information that can help you stay informed about current taxation legislation. All of this information is freely available from the ATO website, From here, you can access many different, regularly updated resources, such as:

  • The ATO legal database, which contains legal and policy information.

  • Information about what to do if you make a mistake.

  • Tax calculators and other tools; and

  • Downloadable versions of ATO guides and forms.

Additionally, the ATO website features a great deal of useful information on topics of interest to payroll professionals, such as:

  • Record keeping requirements

  • Superannuation obligations for employers

  • Fringe benefits tax

and much, much more.

The ATO issue regular updates plus provide the option to subscribe to these updates either by email or RSS feed, ensuring you have the most recent information. The ATO also offers a range of free learning resources, including webinars, seminars and workshops.  

Join a payroll association.

Typically, one of the most important ways that a professional association supports its members is by making sure they are well informed. Membership of a payroll association allows payroll professionals access to a wide range of payroll-focused resources, for example, email newsletters or articles. To join, associations generally charge an annual fee but members then have full access to a wide range of useful material. Information about current legislation and compliance issues, as well as access to tools including calculators, checklists, best practice guides and whitepapers are just some of the benefits that can be conferred by membership.

Payroll associations regularly host educational conferences and industry events as well as offer training courses. The topics covered at conferences or in training are researched and targeted to the needs of payroll professionals in order to assist them in staying up to date with payroll legislation, process and technology. They also provide an excellent opportunity to learn from respected experts in the payroll industry and gain valuable insight on the latest reforms.

Visit your state revenue office website.

For information about payroll tax, a visit to your state revenue office’s website is a worthwhile exercise. In addition to useful resources like payroll tax calculators and current threshold figures, you can also access details of current payroll tax legislation and amendments. Similar to the ATO, most state revenue bodies offer free education resources, such as online learning, webinars and seminars.




Australian Capital Territory

ACT Revenue Office

New South Wales

NSW Office of State Revenue

Northern Territory

Territory Revenue Office


Office of State Revenue

South Australia

Revenue SA


State Revenue Office


State Revenue Office

Western Australia

State Revenue

Find out how Sage MicrOpay can help you stay up to date with payroll legislation.

For further information on Sage MicrOpay’s software solutions and services, including our payroll legislation seminar series, please visit our website or contact us on:

1300 729 229


Download your copy of Benefits Payroll Software Delivers to Businesses.

Topics: legislation, payroll