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Rippling is a workforce management software firm that aims to provide one place to run HR, finance and IT operations for workforces. The platform brings together employee data normally “scattered across a company,” like payroll, expenses, benefits and device management.

Founded seven years ago in the U.S. by Parker Conrad, it opened a new APAC base in Sydney, Australia in February 2024 as part of a multi-year investment initiative in the region. The firm has hired a team of 30 in Australia and sees the country as a launchpad for regional growth.

Software Spotlight: RipplingSPONSORED

Now available in Australia, all-in-one workforce management platform Rippling creates a single source of truth for employee data across an organisation. Small businesses will like the ability to start off small and add functionality over time.

The goal is to unify disparate systems and mitigate siloes

A survey of 500 Australian payroll managers conducted by Censuswide in partnership with Rippling, shared with TechRepublic as part of the platform’s launch, found:

  • 63% of companies employ three or more solutions to manage their HR and payroll.
  • Over one-third (37%) are using five or more systems.
  • 48% still rely on manually inputting employee data increasing the risk of human error.

“It’s challenging to keep employee data consistent when it’s scattered across disparate, siloed systems,” said Matt Loop, Rippling VP and head of Asia. “Many end up spending too much money on too many pieces of software — and wind up wasting countless hours on mundane tasks that can easily be automated or eliminated.”

Loop said Rippling is a move away from niche point solutions towards a single-solution approach. He said this means managing employee data and everything an employee touches, including aspects like employee benefits.

Rippling aims to combat employee ripple effects across the organisation

The name Rippling stems from the series of flow-on tasks and effects created in an organisation when there is a trigger — like a new employee hire or offboarding. Loop said, with a single system, HR and payroll can better automate tasks to improve HR and payroll operations.

“Onboarding and offboarding are great examples of where there is often a long manual list of tasks,” Loop said. “When someone is leaving an organisation, there could be 30 or more things that need to happen. Rippling can automate that based on a change to the employee profile.”

SEE: For more information, check out TechRepublic’s full Rippling review.

During offboarding Rippling can make it easier to automate tasks like employee exit surveys, cutting access to tools like software subscriptions, and getting company hardware returned, which is important for companies maintaining their security operations centre compliance.

Software identified as key issue for payroll professionals

The Australian Payroll Association’s 2023 Australian Payroll Survey found 31.2% of payroll professionals expected to change jobs in 12 months, with almost 40% saying that efficient payroll tech and processes would be the most important factor in their search for a new role.

This is because payroll processes and technology were named the biggest challenge by 38.7% of respondents. The retention of payroll staff is critical to those wanting to maintain payroll compliance and prevent the likes of workforce underpayments, according to the APA.

Adapting to the growing global workforces of Australian companies

Australian organisations may benefit from Rippling’s global footprint. Loop said with more local Australian companies going global, or looking to other markets, including APAC, for hiring offshore, there was growing complexity and challenge in paying and managing employees.

“With Rippling you can pay your contractors and set up your legal entities through our EOR (Employer Of Record) service,” Loop said. “So we’ve got Australian payroll that’s STP compliant and does everything it needs to do, and global payroll capabilities for other major countries.”

Going digital most important for Australian payroll operations

What really “moves the needle” for a payroll function is when the entire payroll process is upgraded from a manual process to a technology-enabled process, according to the Australian Payroll Association. APA Director Tracy Angwin gives the example of the ability to onboard from a mobile phone, which can be done without a payroll person even touching the process.

“We still have organisations in Australia that are relying on paper timesheets and paper leave forms,” Angwin said. “If you are one of those — without getting into a conversation around things like governance, fraud and manual data errors — it should be your number one goal to get rid of paper processes. It’s one of the easiest wins that you’re going to get.”

Entrance of global payroll tech players good for Australian local market

While Angwin claims that the existence of integrations between systems via API might make a single system redundant, the entry of global technology players like Rippling could have advantages for Australian employers. With Australia having a low working population count compared with the U.S. and Europe, it gives local employers a chance to leverage innovation in global technologies.

Tracy Angwin said there is a risk some incoming global players could underestimate the complexity of building a system that is suited for Australian payroll compliance, but said she was “encouraged by global providers coming to Australia.”


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