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Payroll pain

New report finds payroll technology and compliance hitting bookkeepers hard.

The Australian Payroll Association (APA) release of the 2023 Australian Payroll Survey reveals payroll specialists, including bookkeepers, are struggling under the pressure of navigating new payroll technologies and the complex awards and compliance landscape.

APA Chief Operating Officer, Ross Heron, warns these results are a worrying indication that payroll specialists need more support if they’re going to meet these new legislation challenges, keep good staff and attract top talent.

“The biggest take away from this is how payroll professionals are bearing the biggest brunt of the increasing complexities in award structures,” said Ross. “They’re spending more hours a week to do the same job and suffering from burnout.

“Paradoxically, the uptake of payroll technology that should be finding faster ways to deal with these complexities is actually taking them more time out to master and business has not accommodated for this transition.

“Unless we have a process of simplifying these issues, we have people walking away and we lose good talent.”

The survey of over 2000 payroll specialists from across industries and company sizes, found that the workload of more than half (55.7%) has increased since the pandemic. Yet, close to one in four (24.68%) said they were struggling to relieve that pressure with problems getting extra payroll team support.

Of the biggest challenges they face:

  • Over one in three (38.7%) said they were battling most with payroll technology and processes.
  • More than one in four said their biggest concerns were Award and EBA interpretation (32%) and achieving certainty in payroll compliance (31.21%).

Ross said that escalating the issue is that less than a quarter of payroll professionals (17%) are equipped with adequate formal qualifications.

“As the industry complexity increases, as does the need to emphasise training and recruitment based on sound qualifications,” said Ross.

“Courses like the Certificate IV in Payroll Administration and the Diploma in Payroll Management offered by the Australian Payroll Institute goes a long way to equipping our industry.”

The APA is well placed to lead debate and advance change in the face of these issues with well over 4,900 active members and a subscription community of 27,000, which represents around one third of the industry.

“Being connected to a network, training courses, and member updates that keep professionals abreast of legislation changes is vital at this time,” said Ross. “We have doubled down on how we’re supporting our professionals.”

For more information on how to get the support you need in payroll management, visit The APA welcome you to download the 2023 Australian Payroll Survey The APA is a complimentary partner association with the ABN, broadening the support available to bookkeepers.

12 Apr 2023
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