Oliver Furniss, general manager of product development for global payroll confirmed at Xerocon that Xero is working on a payroll application for the UK market, following similar moves during the past six months in the USA.
Furniss told delegates that the payroll market has been marked by a lack of innovation in recent years and vowed: “We want to do to the payroll industry what we did to accountancy.”
The initial launch will be a fairly basic payroll application, focusing on the needs of companies with fewer than 10 employees. The Xero payroll module will appear as an extra tab within the accounting application and payroll information will automatically update accounts in Xero, with no duplication of data-entry. The cost will be included within a user's Xero subscription.
The payroll module will be capable of filing RTI returns and can accommodate the basic information types required for auto enrolment, but more sophisticated AE communication and reporting features are more likely to be supported by specialist add-on developers via program links, Furniss told AccountingWEB.
“We’ll have the functionality available for people to manage auto enrolment when we roll the product out, and will do enough for small businesses’ typical needs,” he said.
Watch the short video below to hear Furniss' further thoughts:
To date, the focus of development has been on employee collaboration and mobile use, so employees and payroll staff can make queries and schedule time off from their mobile devices. “We want to put payroll in your hands - and make it as simple as a few clicks,” Furniss said.
Xero’s global approach to payroll has absorbed a lot of the company’s time and effort in the past year - and there will be more work to do as it attempts to enhance its functionality and extend it to additional markets - such as the 50 US states (for which Xero Payroll is only available in seven).
To manage this on-going workload Xero has built a “payroll engine” for each of its territories, which will be programmed separately.
The announcement drew some flack from a rival developer who hit back at Furniss' suggestion that nothing innovative has been done in the payroll market.
Managing director of Sage UK Lee Perkins said: “Payroll professionals have just been through an unprecedented time of change with the twin pressures of RTI and Auto Enrolment. Anyone who suggests the payroll market has been marked by a lack of innovation simply doesn’t get the pace or scale of what the industry has achieved in transforming payroll.”
Meanwhile back at Xerocon, attendees also heard about the New Zealand-based cloud accounting developer's plans to introduce a business performance dashboard.
In addition, high street bank Metro Bank has become the fifth live bank feed that Xero can handle, alongside RBS, HSBC, Natwest and Silicon Valley Bank.