Payroll in Depth

Find out the answers to the most frequently asked questions about payroll software and integration with HR systems, and learn more on exporting payroll data.

Payroll management overview

Payroll software overview

Many businesses use a payroll software system to organise the employee information required to process the pay and benefits of employees. Payroll is a specialist function and many businesses use payroll software, an outsourced payroll provider or accountant to deal with this essential business task.



What are the advantages of using HR software that can integrate with payroll?

Payroll is one of those business functions that involves more than one department – finance and HR. While employee information and complex regulation around pay and benefits is largely the domain of HR, communication with the financial function is essential.

HR software that integrates with payroll is beneficial, because it:

  • Improves accuracy
  • Provides you with a single set of data
  • Improves reporting and analytics across HR and finance
  • Makes compliance easier
  • Saves time

What is desktop payroll software?

Desktop software is installed on one or more of your computers. It is usually purchased as a disk or digital download from the software provider. Once installed the software and payroll data are stored locally on your computer and don’t require an internet connection. Pricing is front-loaded with a one-time or per-license price. Upgrades are charged separately and are often compulsory.


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Cloud payroll software

What is cloud payroll software?

Unlike desktop software, cloud-based payroll software isn’t installed on your computer. It is stored in the cloud. This means you access the software through your web browser on the internet. With cloud-based software your employee and payroll data are stored on remote servers instead of your in-house computers.

With Breathe’s cloud-based HR software, your data is stored safely on AWS in Australia.

Cloud based versus desktop payroll software


For cloud software you need constant access to the internet, but a huge advantage is the ability to input and update information from anywhere at any time from any device. With desktop software you only require an internet connection when you are sending information to accountants, the ATO or banks, but data can only be updated in office hours from designated computers.


With desktop software, your data security is dependent on the security of your internal systems. Desktop systems also need to be regularly backed up. On the cloud, your data security is in the hands of your provider, but you can take some reassurance from the fact that Australia's data protection regulations are some of the best in the world. On the cloud, your data is automatically backed up.


Software on the cloud is automatically updated. Desktop software usually requires you to check and install updates manually.


With fragmented desktop software systems errors often occur from manual data entry. These inaccuracies have an impact on salary payments, tax deductions and ultimately tax compliance. Cloud HR software streamlines processes and ensures accurate data entry that is STP-compliant. As data can be updated from virtually anywhere with an internet connection, cloud-based systems can offer real-time data and reports.


Desktop software is much more expensive at the outset compared to cloud-based Saas (software as a service), where annual or monthly subscription fees are relatively low.


Who uses cloud payroll software?

All sorts of companies use cloud payroll software, from start-ups to large corporates. Breathe's Payroll tool is simple to use, STP-compliant and has been developed to suit the needs of small businesses.

Is my payroll data secure on the cloud?

Data privacy and security of information on the cloud is something that businesses are rightfully concerned about. At Breathe, we take data security extremely seriously. We use HTTPS encryption to ensure your data is encrypted as it travels between our servers and your web browser.

Your data with Breathe is secure, safe, and available only to you. Breathe has responsibly adopted the ISO27001 security standard. 



A list of employees within a company and how much they are to be paid.

HR Software

A type of business software that enables businesses to manage employee data and automate HR processes. This includes storing employee documents, managing leave, tracking performance, recognising and rewarding employees, payroll, and handling all aspects of people admin.

The cloud

A vast network of remote servers linked together that store data, run applications or deliver content or services on the internet.