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What six months of Single Touch Payroll has taught us

As one of the first Single Touch Payroll (STP) messaging providers to go live we know what it takes to get ready to submit your first Pay Event report to the ATO. We’re sharing our experience so those of you with a deferral date can avoid the same mistakes.

Our clients have benefited from our solution

To date we’ve messaged the ATO over 143,000 Pay Event Reports via the SuperChoice digital transaction platform and that number is growing as more and more employers implement their solution to meet deferral dates.

There's a high likelihood of error with your data

Unfortunately, we’ve seen a lot of payroll data that wasn’t as accurate as first thought. The most common errors relate to the data quality.

  • Fields don’t match what the ATO needs

  • Data not available or in good shape

  • Out of date data that doesn’t match with ATO data held

In most cases these are simple fixes but for a few it means extensive behind the scenes work on data feeds. Thankfully, this isn’t our first experience with ATO data and we know how to apply fixes and solutions to produce error free STP pay event reports. You can read about our client’s experiences with Single Touch Payroll here.


Advice from the SuperChoice team [if !supportLineBreakNewLine]

What better advice than from the people who have worked hard to bring you a seamless STP experience? Below a few of our team members share their experience and advice. [endif]


Ian Gibson I’m the Chief Commercial Officer and I work with clients to help them get the best out of our digital transaction platform. Q. What are companies forgetting to consider when selecting their STP provider? Cost of service failure far outweighs the cost of the actual service, so it is important to get the right solution that can support you when a problem occurs. If your data doesn’t get through, is wrong or gets illegally tampered with the cost to business is significant. STP data is also the type of transactions you don’t want to risk getting wrong, for example, salaries not getting paid correctly etc. The business focus should be on someone who can minimise your risk and support you if / when you run into problems. Q . What do you see as the roadblocks to implementation?

Unfortunately, a lot of payroll data isn’t as accurate as business may think. One of the benefits for the ATO from STP is that they can automate the data checking. This means business should expect greater vigilance by the ATO.If you want to minimise the costs of audits and responding to ATO queries, its best to get the data right up front. People are underestimating this and leaving it to the last minute.

Q. What advice would you give employers to get ready?

Regardless of when you intend to implement STP, test your payroll files now.


Rob Woods I help employers understand Single Touch Payroll and make informed decisions when selecting their gateway provider.

Q. What are companies forgetting to consider when selecting their STP provider?

A decision is more than price. Employers need to consider the capability of the platform and service needs. The SuperChoice platform is a technically-elegant, easy-to-use solution that simplifies a most complex set of ATO requirements. Our technology is all about, scalability, availability, reliability and security. And, we already have the team in place to support our products and our customers.

Q. What do you see as the roadblocks to implementation?

The three main roadblocks seem to be internal compliance and a tendency to over-cook the solution. For compliance teams seeking reassurance on Information Security and Terms of Service here is some information for you.

Information Security: We are regulated across Services by ASIC, APRA, GNGB and ATO and Annually Audited by Major Customers (Largest of Australian Super Funds, Tier 1 Banks, Global Insurance Companies). Whilst no-one is totally safe against cyber-attack, we have sound practises in place to secure your data.

Legal Reviews: We offer an outstanding and reliable service for a fair price. Understand our philosophy is fairness. Our T&Cs incorporate mutual responsibility on parties. We have standard T&Cs to keep fees fair.

Q.What advice would you give employers to get ready?

Easy. Start Now! Too many will leave it too late and not have enough time to identify and remedy data quality errors. What happens if you need a Software patch identified shortly before deferral is due?


Alistair Gibson, STP Program Manager I’m responsible for the delivery of the SuperChoice STP Solutions & Service. I also manage a team of experts that help Payrolls and Employers successfully on-board onto STP.

Q. What are companies forgetting to consider when selecting their STP provider?

What they’ll do if/when the ATO has planned and unplanned outages. SuperChoice has automated replay functionality, guaranteeing messages get through. The automated replay functionality also protects when the ATO incorrectly sends error codes. Q. What do you see as the roadblocks to implementation?

While the concept of STP is relatively simple, for some businesses STP implementation can be highly complex when considering current business processes and technology.

SuperChoice’s dedicated and knowledgeable delivery and support team, with hand’s on STP and ATO experience can greatly assist clients overcome the roadblocks.

Q. What advice would you give employers to get ready?

Talk to your payroll provider and understand what solution they are using to implement STP. If they are using SuperChoice you will know you are in safe hands.

If you’re given an option to select your own Sending Service provider, then consider the following;

  • Reliability / Proven Solution

  • Testing and Validation

  • Insulation from ATO Issues

Understand how STP charges are calculated. Are the costs transparent? What happens if one error in the file?


Mike Fielding Helping businesses digitally transact through our secure platform. Q. What are companies forgetting to consider when selecting their STP provider?

Value conundrum: Most employers confuse “value” and “price” and are forgetting to take a total cost approach. For example, a gateway on the surface may appear to cost half as much (or twice as much). But, if a system requires the employer to do a lot of manual workarounds, the total cost to the employer might be twice or three times the most expensive gateway’s solution.

Underestimating how long it will take: STP can be a “whole of business purchase” involving multiple departments (IT, Security, HR, Payroll, Finance, Procurement) and that it takes time to get approvals and sign off.

Q. What do you see as the roadblocks to implementation?

Interdependency: Most employers are forgetting their own payroll software needs to be ready (patches) and if they are on a desktop, their own IT Security has to implement a patch from their payroll software before they can even start testing the ATO XML to an external gateway.

If you engage your Internal IT early, they can get the upgrade or patch sorted quickly for you. And you’re able to start submitting sample reports in our test environment.

Budget I don’t have: Some are holding off for deferral dates (to save a few invoices they didn’t budget for) but it may cost them in the long run.

Forgetting that if many thousands of employers all call in the same last few weeks for implementation, the gateways won’t be able to physically support them, and their own IT teams may not be able to fix any data issues.

Q. What advice would you give employers to get ready?

Don’t wait. Prepare early, secure funding, get your patches (from your payroll software), engage your internal IT to deploy the patch, get demos from providers, start testing and clean up your data. Consider value. Beat the last-minute rush.


To sum it up

If you’ve been putting off getting started with your Single Touch Payroll solution because you’re feeling confident with your deferral date you may want to think again.

  1. There’s a wave of businesses coming through and you don’t want to get caught out.

  2. If funding is an issue, seek approval now. Make sure it’s in for the whole of 2019.

  3. Get Data Ready – work with your IT and Payroll providers.

  4. Test, Test, Test – register for the SuperChoice Free Test Environment.

  5. Give yourself time. At least three months before your deferral date.


Need help to meet your STP deferral date? 1. Register in our test environment

or talk to one of the SuperChoice team.

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