Why I put my hand up to help the ATO with their implementation of Single Touch Payroll

Oct 24, 2022

In late September 2016 an “expression of interest” callout landed in my inbox from my professional body, Chartered Accountants ANZ. The callout was to participate in the ATO’s Single Touch Payroll project. I gave it some thought and three days later, I decided put my hat in the ring to be considered for the “change management readiness working group” and sent off an email.

This group particularly interested me as the purpose of this group was to work collaboratively with the ATO to help shape and influence delivery of the change management approach including stakeholder engagement, communication and business readiness and transition to Single Touch Payroll.

I knew I had both the skillset and the passion to be a valuable part of this group and here’s why.

I’m a stickler for the rules

  • I’m super passionate about a “level playing field” for all businesses and all accountants
  • I’d love a dollar for every time I’ve been told “my old accountant used to claim that” or “my mate at the pub said you could claim that”
  • Businesses have an obligation to comply with ATO rules and accountants have an obligation to help their clients comply
  • I personally don’t take on clients who have outstanding lodgements with the ATO for a number of reasons but that’s a story for another day

I love sharing my knowledge with staff, clients and colleagues

  • I’m an educator as well as an accountant and advisor
  • I taught accounting at Uni in my very fist year out and for many years after that
  • I get great satisfaction helping people understand a concept and then see their confidence grow once they nail that concept and come back for hungry for more information
  • I have had staff members leave and start practices of their own and who I still have great relationships with. James recently wrote this as part of a Linkedin recommendation “I worked for Amanda Gascoigne for 9 years and learnt pretty much all I know about running an accounting firm from her” and this “Amanda spent considerable time at the firm on ongoing education to ensure all staff were as well informed on changes to the laws as possible”. 

I’m empathetic, nurturing and supportive

  • I understand sometimes it’s difficult for some staff and clients to embrace change
  • I understand that resistance is a coping mechanism for many and it takes some (maybe lots) of nurturing, confidence building and time to make those changes.
  • My strategy has always been to start by educating early so that when the time comes for implementation my staff and my clients are ready and in the right mindset for change. I did this with the introduction of GST, cloud accounting and Superstream and it worked perfectly!

I love variety – it really is the spice of life!

  • I wear many hats and the key to being happy and balanced wearing all those hats is to always do things that you love, that continue to inspire you and that you continue to feel passionate about.
  • Helping accounting practices owners and small businesses owners has, and always will be my passion and the STP ATO project certainly ticked all those boxes for me. 

For over 18 years as an accounting practice owner, I have always had a positive relationship with the ATO and I certainly had no hesitation putting my reputation and that of my firm at the forefront of the ATO’s eyes to be considered for the position. I’m sure my lodgement statistics and overall compliant behaviour of my firm and my clients was one of the things that got my application over the line!

In November 2016 I received word that my application was successful and I am extremely grateful for that and I have truly loved every minute of being on the STP Readiness Group and various sub groups I have been involved in. I’m the sole female accountant representing tax agents on that working group and I am honoured to be the voice for accountants, tax agents and their clients.

At the time of joining the working group I had been in practice for 17 years, working in that practice three days a week with my brother and business partner Ryan, as well as some other things I was doing online with small businesses. I am a big believer in things happening for a reason because we ended up merging our firm with another firm in July last year which has allowed me to work less as a practitioner and more as a consultant and mentor to accounting practices. I know that I can make a huge difference to how accounting practice owners (especially small and solo practice owners) operate their practices, helping them have better practices and better lives which in turn helps them help their clients have better businesses and better lives. I’m committed to encouraging and empowering accountants and their clients to have better relationships, accountants and the ATO to have better relationships and businesses and the ATO to have better relationships and to do this they need to modernise and contemporise the way they do business.

STP is one of the ways that will achieve this for accountants and their clients and I would strongly urge you all to do what you can now so that the transition is made easier and you too are ready to embrace and adopt STP on 1 July 2018 or 2019 whichever date applies to you.

If you would like my assistance in getting your firm and your clients ready for STP, please reach out to me to find out how we might be able to work together.