The 7 questions you must ask before joining a contractor payroll management company

When clients call asking about our services, there are some popular questions that come up in our conversations.

Talking with multiple payroll providers, and comparing the services on offer, can often be confusing – after all, we’re both offering payroll and you could be forgiven for thinking “what’s the difference”? But that’s just on the surface!

In an attempt to make the differences clear, we’ve put together a list of questions and answers to help you to make up your own mind about which service is right for you.

I am being offered a free tax return

This one we hear often!

The tax return being offered is extremely basic. It is an almost automated procedure that you perform yourself using the ATO website (Lodge your tax return online with myTax | Australian Taxation Office (

This may be convenient and appropriate for individuals earning less than $50,000 but it is not generally recommended for individuals in the higher income brackets looking to optimise and take advantage of their financial situation. Many employees in the higher tax brackets will often have a different financial situation which may include such things as;

  • An Investment Property
  • Work from home claimable expenses
  • Depreciation of assets

These and other situations should be examined by an accountant or a tax return expert who can give you sound financial advice and find any tax optimisations for you.

This is not the role of a payroll company. Payroll companies are experts in optimising your pay not preparing your tax return.

Another disadvantage of having the same people do your payroll and tax return is that you don't get another set of eyes looking over your financial situation. If possible, it is always advisable to get another person's take on your tax.

In short, your tax return is something you should be looking to optimise not automate.

I've been told that my payment is guaranteed

What does ”guaranteed payment” actually mean? Does it mean that your payment is guaranteed to you even if the payroll management company has not yet received the funds from the recruiter? Because this would mean the payroll company would be advancing you funds it had not yet and may not receive.

Therefore the question you need to ask is; “Will you still pay me on my scheduled payment date even if you have not received funds from my recruiter?”

If the answer is Yes, then you are in fact receiving a service we call "paid in advance”. To facilitate this the payroll management company will need to secure the funds to pay you in advance. This is generally done by securing a loan and it will almost certainly incur an increase of the management fee. Make sure you establish what that is before joining.

If the answer is No, then what you are receiving is just a promise that you will be paid when the payroll management company is paid. This is what all reputable payroll management companies do by default. As you can see this is really a little misleading as it insinuates that you are receiving something special that no one else does. At Bookssorted we prefer to say “you get paid when we get paid”. Make no mistake we chase your pay regardless of whether “you get paid when we get paid” or “you get paid in advance”

We offer paid in advance services generally at much improved rates than our competitors. Contact us if you are interested in being Paid in Advance or you can read more about it below.

but I can get payroll services for only 1%

This sounds great, but what services are you actually receiving for 1%? It’s important to check the details;

  • Can you salary sacrifice items such as a new laptop or portable device?
  • Can you receive payment in advance or are you locked into a paycycle that doesn't work for you?
  • Can you set aside funds in a leave or rainy day account?
  • Can you claim Living Away From Home Allowance (LAHFA) or Travel Allowance?
  • Can you lease a new vehicle?

Or will accessing these services incur additional fees?

As an IT Contractor, you’ll want to optimise your pay, and accessing these types of services is how you achieve the best outcome.

At Bookssorted, our flat fees include ALL the services you might want to access to make the most of your pay. We’re specialists at what we do and can ensure you have every opportunity to minimise your tax and maximise your pay – for the last 17 years we’ve helped 1000’s of contractors do just this. Why not check out what they have to say about our services.

Payment in advance

At Bookssorted we offer a service called “Pay In Advance”.This service allows you to be paid before we are paid by your recruitment agency. It means we secure a loan for which we pay an additional fee to be able to pay your wages before we receive payment. This exposes us to an element of risk as we will essentially be operating at a loss to pay you early.

For example, let's say you're working at a government department that pays its invoices every 30 days, but you want to be paid weekly. Your agency is not going to pay us weekly. It will pay us when it receives funds from the government department. However, you want to be paid weekly instead of having to wait 30 days until you are paid. This is where we can arrange to pay you weekly using our funds and still invoice your recruitment agency monthly.

Prices for this service with other payroll management companies can range from 2.5% to 7 % for the same provision, this is a question to ask while speaking to the payroll management company. Our fee at Bookssorted is 2.5%. This is not 2.5% on top of the 1.75%. It means 2.5% is the full amount. It is our "platinum” package and gives you access to all our services.

My payroll company allows me to rollover my leave account, buy a ute, claim travel from home to office, etc etc

At Bookssorted we don’t just have a list of values in our mission statement that we then put up on the wall and circulate to staff. We actually operate our business based on them.

Many customers and staff have over the years commented on how unusual this is based on their previous experiences.

Compliance is high up on that list and rolling over a leave account for the purpose of avoiding paying tax is, as the name suggests, considered tax evasion.

We will not do anything that will put either you or us at any risk. Ask you payroll management company if they will allow you to rollover your leave account. This will give you a good insight into their compliance or industry awareness or both.

What about Novated leases

Do you already have a novated lease?

Do you want to get lease a new motor vehicle?

We can facilitate all scenarios and have access to all Novated Lease provider.

Make sure that the payroll management company doesn't force you to operate with one of their partners only as this may not be the best deal for you.

We partner with all leasing providers. Don't allow yourself to get locked in to one lease provider when you can have the option of multiple providers that can provider similar or even better services by working with Bookssorted.

My recruiter has promised to do my payroll

If you do not need or do not want to take advantage of the many financial advantages that you are entitled to as an IT contractor or the payroll management services Bookssorted can offer as a specialist payroll provider then this option may be fine.

Before you make your decision, you might like to consider some of the advantages that you will be passing up;

  • No Payment In Advance. You will be paid when the government department pays your recruiter and your recruiter may not run payroll immediately. We run payroll every day all the time. It is what we do. We can offer payment in advance
  • We can refund your deductables straight away. No waiting until end of financial year for refund
  • Employment history. This will be important when you go for a loan. We have found that our clients will stay with us while often changing recruitment agencies. If you opt to have your recruitment agency as your employer this will be reflected in your employment history and may impact when you apply for loans such as mortgages or other. With us you can retain your stable employment history while switch roles and recruitment agencies

Bottom line, Recruiters recruit – they’re great at what they specialise in, but Payroll companies process payroll. It’s what Bookssorted specialises in! We’ve had quite a few contractors join us after trying their recruiters payroll, with mixed results.