Workforce International stay compliant with FastTrack360
Workforce International is renowned for providing recruitment, labour hire, training, traffic management and line marking services. With 35 offices in both capital cities and major regional centres across Australia, Workforce International provides staff for all major segments of the Australian economy, including Manufacturing, Transportation, Warehousing and more.
Single Touch Payroll was mandated by the Australian Tax Office from July 1, 2018 and required employers to send employee payroll information including salary, wages, PAYG withholding and superannuation to the ATO at the same time as their standard pay run. Single Touch Payroll was designed to streamline the process of how employers report payroll information and has been one of the most significant changes in the payroll compliance landscape to date.
The need to be compliant with Single Touch Payroll was I.T Manager, Riki Lingam’s “impetus to go out to the market” and go through the due diligence of conducting an extensive review process of possible vendors before moving from their current on-premise desktop software.
The evaluation process
First, Riki and his team put together a list of providers by researching end-to-end solutions available on the market, including consulting relevant bodies such as the RCSA.
“The luxury we had with our system at the time was that we had the front end and back end working together. It made sense to us, and we wanted to maintain that.”
However, finding that “only a handful of providers are end-to-end”, Workforce International considered several front office providers that connected with 3rd party back office providers.
Leading the charge, Riki followed a very detailed process that involved both payroll and front office staff from each provider.
“We listed out everything we needed in the product. We then asked each vendor if they did it. If they didn’t, we had to work out how important it was. We had must-haves that needed to be ticked off.”
Once these steps were taken care of, there were at least “three demos” from each vendor completed, before this list started to be whittled down and vendors could be crossed off.
“The initial demo is really just the sales pitch. After that we asked to see specific scenarios in action. We sent through data that we would use on a day-to-day basis and said… ‘Right this is what you’re going to run into when you talk to us. Expect these things to come up.’”
“It avoids people fluffing about if they can’t answer the question and get straight to whether things worked or not. What the demo catches people out on is our expectations – which is that it’s gotta be slick. When they start having to change things around, that’s where they start stumbling. For me, that instantly shows they don’t understand what we want, but also to expect that we’re going to have to manipulate the system.”
“That’s where the FastTrack team did a really good job of presenting the system. They knew the industry and quickly understood how our business worked.”
Payroll was a key feature of these demos and was something that Workforce International took a lot of time on.
“For Front office it’s easy to work out if a vendor can do it. You can knock it over in a day. But it breaks when you do your payroll invoicing. The time on payroll is huge. We needed a lot more time for scenarios that could show us:
- Setting up agreements,
- Setting up standard rates,
- Reviewing some common clients,
- What the invoices looked like when produced and run,
- What the payslips looked like, and
- Data that needed to come out based on entry requirements.”
The decision criteria
Ultimately, there were several key considerations that led Workforce International to decide on adopting the FastTrack360 cloud platform.
For Workforce International, almost all front-end providers who integrated with other back end providers lost out on pricing.
“Even your big providers only ever do front office, and then you need something at the back. This means it’s whatever the pay processing cost is (which wasn’t cheap), plus a second price on top for front office.”
“Our staff were familiar with FastTrack, which we knew meant the change would be easier and we could get up and running faster.”
“Having a vendor that already knows your business is important. Changing that would have probably meant a lot more work on the project side. I think that was really key, as well as simplifying training.”
“They’re the main drivers, you got to weigh it all up. If you’ve got a product that does the job, and the costs are right, there’s no reason to change it.”
Managing traffic control
Traffic control management is a big part of Workforce International and was therefore another piece of key criteria.
“In comparison to traffic control, labour hire is easy!”
“We’ve been doing traffic control invoicing for so long, we know how to manage all that complexity. The fact that we were able to replicate it in FastTrack, that was the key for us.”
One platform with payroll
“Where we struggled with other products was that they were using other 3rd party products to do their payroll. We saw that as a risk for our business.”
“We wanted to keep it simple. We didn’t want to have too many products and have to try to build integrations to make things work.”
“With FastTrack360 on the other hand, we’d been looking at it for a while and we knew it’s capabilities. We just needed to confirm a few things, particularly around interpretation and new payroll.”
The transition process
Workforce International’s transition from on-premise desktop to the cloud-hosted FastTrack360 used a “like-for-like” process which made the move fast and simple.
“We just went ‘this is what you’re doing today and now what you’re doing on the new platform”. This meant the guys in the front office were able to get through with just one-two days of training and then crack on”.
“As the payroll staff are across so much of the system, there’s some heavy lifting there. But it was only two days’ work, if you’re talking about the amount of work per person. That’s all it takes, then they’re pretty much fine.”
“The team from FastTrack were also well-versed in what we were trying to achieve and pushed hard to make sure people were aware of it. That was good, and certainly, that was a key piece to it. We didn’t have to explain what our business does, that’s another key bit of it.”
Workforce International is now enjoying the benefits of having their invoicing process and reporting connected with the rest of their recruitment activity, with no additional level of integration involved.
“As we’ve had some integrations done with the old system, we only needed a bit of tweaking. It wasn’t re-inventing the wheel in any shape or form.”
"As for Single Touch Payroll compliance, “it’s a no brainer”
“The shift to Single Touch Payroll with FastTrack was easy. The legwork was to get the system implemented and then we didn’t think about STP. I’m turning it on guys, here’s how you do it, bye bye.”
In the Front Office, Workforce International have also heavily adopted the Outlook extensions feature, which automates the creation of candidates in FastTrack360 when they email in their resume, including uploading their skills and experience.
“The guys have picked it up and love using it as they can simply bring a resume in from Outlook and parse it.”
Going forward, Workforce International are hoping to maximise their efficiency using FastTrack360, where Riki sees online time-sheeting as a possible next step. “It’s good knowing there’s a utility to import timesheets now, where we can just do it ourselves. There’s a couple of clients that are keen, and certainly areas that I want to push it out to”.
“The other thing is online portals so people can access their own payslips. I’m ready to crack on with those things”.
As for whether he’d recommend FastTrack, Riki said “I would. The product works. Over the time I’ve been here, it just works.”
“The answer to your question is yes, and it fits our team’s purpose.”