- 820,000 businesses in Australia employed staff
- SME owners face heavy fines and jail for HR breaches
- Accounting firms worst offenders for HR breaches
Your nearest accountant could soon be providing HR advice if a trend linked to HR cloud software took off. Two cloud-based employee management applications, EnableHR and Workforce Guardian, had set up programs to train accountants in best practice for hiring and firing employees.
“it is often recognised that people management is one of the most difficult aspects to running a business. The management of people and related safety aspects is one of the most regulated aspects to running a business, with the consequences of failing possibly thousands of dollar penalties or jail time,” said Richard Breden, managing director of EnableHR.
HR applications provided a library of advice on performance management, employment contracts and termination that complied with the latest regulations. One of the biggest incentives for business owners to use HR applications was reducing the chance of an expensive unfair dismissal complaint, said David Bates, managing director of Workforce Guardian.
Workforce Guardian had set up a partner program which provided training, content for newsletters, education for clients and rewards for referrals. The service was endorsed by Telstra and ADP Payroll.
“We are very proud of our partnerships as well our integration with other online services, such as Xero,” Bates said.
Workforce Guardian included an online HR advice service in its subscription.
EnableHR had also set up a partner program in November 2011 modelled on highly successful programs developed by cloud accounting software companies. Its first conference attracted over 70 partners across Australia and had registered 210 accounting, bookkeeping and HR specialist partners, Breden said.
EnableHR had set up a joint promotion with cloud accounting software company Xero which had over 1,500 accounting partners in Australia.
Partners were using the EnableHR app to manage employees, contractors and work health and safety regulations in their own practice and for their clients,” Breden said. “It’s a key platform for growth for us,” he added.
Some accountants and bookkeepers were looking to add more services with annuity revenues, Breden said. “The challenge we have is skilling them up to add an HR solution and add that to their clients,” he said.
Some firms were more interested in passive revenue from referrals and a closer relationship with their clients. They had partnered with HR specialists to answer specific questions on HR regulations from clients, Breden said.
Accountants may have work to do in cleaning up their own businesses first. An investigation last year by the Fair Work Ombudsman, the government office which prosecuted HR breaches, found that accountants were by far the worst sector with regard to compliance among employers of clerical workers.
The accounting industry’s professional standards board had introduced new standards this year requiring firms to manage HR and safety as a condition of holding a practice certificate, Breden said.
Image credit: EnableHR