NZ payroll vendor pursues ASP path

Hawkes Bay-based IMS has developed an ASP version of its best-selling payroll software, and updated it to account for new fringe benefit tax rules.

National sales manager Patrick Hegarty says the hosted application service has been tested and the firm is in talks with potential suppliers, but he cannot say when it will be offered.

The FBT update, just out, now automatically works out the tax at the new variable rates.

IMS (Information Management Services) has sold its systems to 4000 customers including Foodstuffs, Eagle Technology, the Advantage Group and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. It also exports to Fiji, just appointing distributors there, Samoa, Tonga and Kiribati.

The Cobol and DOS-based payroll system was originally developed in 1985-1986. A 32-bit version was developed in Delphi and Paradox in 1996, which now links straight into Office, Excel and other Microsoft products.

"It is good for manipulating data," says Hegarty.

IMS started 17 years ago and has become one of New Zealand's largest payroll software developers. It has 20 staff, 250 resellers across New Zealand, and maintains offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

The company was formed by Kevin Atkinson, who "revolutionised" data processing at Hawkes Bay Meat. Atkinson formed IMS, won the meat works processing services contract then the company wrote its Payroll software.

IMS remains in Hawkes Bay because Atkinson is a local identity with roles in Hawkes Bay Health, the power board and rugby union.

Hegarty says staff are loyal and there is little turnover, with employees staying an average five years, so helpdesk support is "very strong". Hawkes Bay is also centrally located between Auckland and Wellington. And, "the lifestyle is pretty good".