A decade of revolutionary cloud payroll

KeyPay turns 10! Reflect on our journey so far with 8 of our KeyPay team members.

Happy KeyPay Day (or KeyDay)! Ok… so it’s not exactly an internationally-recognised day - but KeyPay was publicly released on 1st July 2012, with today marking a whole decade of changing the way our clients work and pay! Born out of the need to create a more accessible version of payroll by leveraging the power of the “cloud”, what began as a software for Australian users has grown on a global scale, now operating in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.

We’re taking this time to reflect on our beginnings, where we are today, and where we’re heading in the future. What started as 4 blokes looking to revolutionise the payroll space has grown into a team of almost 100 like-minded, dedicated, hard-working individuals who are passionate about creating an incredible product for our users. 

Building the business from the ground up

As one of the original “core 4” founders, Paul Duran has been working on KeyPay since July of 2011. “Phil, Kristian, Rich and myself started building it in our spare time. I felt that I had more to offer than the places I had previously worked allowed me to, and had grown frustrated with the politics, meetings and bureaucracy involved in a typical organisation. I was enticed by the opportunity to build a product/company the way we wanted it to be and the freedom/control to do so.”

The founders’ laidback, trustworthy attitude resonated with Dimitra Karas, Product Manager, who was initially involved with KeyPay through an implementation with her previous employer. “I was beyond taken aback at how down to earth, funny, yet serious and commercially-minded these developers were. After seeing how the product had developed so rapidly in 1-2 years, I realised this was not a company full of empty promises - so it was a no-brainer for me!”

David Craig, an Infrastructure Lead Developer who’s been with KeyPay since 2015, has also been with the company more or less since the beginning. “At the time, it was a very small team. I think I was employee number 7. They were using totally different technologies than I had been, so it was a great opportunity to learn new things - and I’m glad they trusted me to learn them on the job!” Today, David is heavily involved in behind-the-scenes performance improvements for the team, having written the code for one of our internal communication tools that’s now used everyday to refresh our KeyPay test databases.

KeyPay was built from the ground up around a fantastic product and the fostering of a culture of mutual trust and work-life balance that has been integral to KeyPay’s success. Ken Nguyen, KeyPay’s Engineering Lead, sums this up nicely: “I think my proudest moment was suggesting and helping to organise the first KeyCon, which is our annual weekend away with the whole crew and their partners. It really became a huge factor in building the culture that KeyPay is today.” 

Some of the KeyPay team at the 2020 KeyCon weekend away.

“KeyPay is a company that is willing to give people, with the right attitude, a chance to learn and grow. As long as you have drive, passion and a willingness to learn, you’re given the tools and opportunities to do so,” says Tanya Swaby, a Product Specialist who joined KeyPay almost 6 years ago. As the team began to diversify the product, the focus shifted to getting the message out there. Kate Brown, now KeyPay’s Head of Marketing, joined in 2018 when the team was sitting at around 20 people. “I joined the marketing team as KeyPay’s second marketing hire and had various responsibilities until moving into the Head of Marketing role a year ago. Now we have a growing team of 8 marketers. At the time, we were only available in Australia and were preparing to launch our UK payroll product.” After launching internationally into the UK in April of 2018, the business rapidly grew into New Zealand a year later, before launching in Singapore and Malaysia in 2020 and 2021 respectively.

A spotlight on some noteworthy feature releases

Aside from launching KeyPay into global markets and having an all-star team, KeyPay’s success is evident and measurable through the uptake of key features.

  • Timesheets and pay conditions: Since launching in 2013, more than 139 million timesheets have been approved in KeyPay. The pay conditions engine has also revolutionised the way that partners and their clients can customise their payroll experience. Paul notes: “I think my best work at KeyPay would be the pay conditions engine.”
  • Rostering: Since going live in KeyPay in 2014, over 29.5 million roster shifts have been published for employees!
  • Support: After moving over to Zendesk in late 2013, our Support team has drastically improved the efficiency of how queries are handled. To date, we’ve resolved more than 248,000 support tickets, which is a testament to how committed we are to our clients’ success and satisfaction.
  • WorkZone: Tanya played a big part in the development and improvement of our mobile app, WorkZone, since it first launched in 2016. “The part of WorkZone I’m most proud of is the manager features we have built for WorkZone. WorkZone started out as an employee-only app, but over the last couple of years, we have added in quite a number of functions for managers like the ability to approve timesheets, expenses and leave requests.” Today, there’s over 155,000 WorkZone users - a 352% increase compared to the first 12 months of the app’s launch. Our employee portal has also come a long way, providing visibility over information that can be viewed both from within the mobile app and via the online portal.
KeyPay’s user interface has drastically improved since 2013, with greater visibility over payroll costs and improved navigation within the dashboard.

Reflecting on how far we’ve come

There’s been a number of highlights for the team throughout KeyPay’s journey to where we are today. According to Graham Arthurs, Engineering Lead, one of these is the End of Financial Year in Australia: “Every EOFY that we make it through unscathed is a success. Some of the earlier EOFYs were very trying, but everyone goes above and beyond to ensure things go as smoothly as possible.” Emma Cate, Product Test and Support Article Writer, agrees. “Every EOFY we were all super proud of both ourselves individually, and together as a team, at how well we managed the craziness of EOFY.”

Paul sums up the past 10 years by reflecting on KeyPay’s success: “I’m incredibly proud of how far KeyPay has come since we started building it. From a group of 4 part-timers to over 100 staff and millions of paid employees on the system.”

For David, success has also been measured through explosive expansion: “I am amazed by the growth, both in the number of employees within the business, and the number of employees paid via the system. I can’t remember the numbers, but there were around 40,000 employees paid per month using KeyPay when I started, and seeing the growth every month has been phenomenal.” In January 2013, there were 1,911 employees paid by KeyPay users. Today, more than 2.5 million employees have been paid - which is an incredible testament to the level of trust that KeyPay users have in the software in streamlining pay processing.

Timesheets are now managed seamlessly through simplified breakdowns, intuitive navigation and an accessible platform compared to when we first released timesheet functionality in 2013.

Tanya’s reflection of KeyPay credits the incredible team culture as contributing to its continued success. “KeyPay has grown so much in the 5 years I’ve been here! I look back and feel pretty proud of what the platform looks like and what it can do compared to when I first started. This is all possible due to the great team that works on the product.” Kate agrees - “I’ve absolutely loved seeing KeyPay grow and experiencing the people of KeyPay adapt and collaborate together to work together toward common goals. No successful moment could have been achieved without input from the entire KeyPay team.”

Looking to the future: what’s next for KeyPay?

Despite the success of the past 10 years and nearly 250,000 businesses now using the platform, KeyPay’s hard work is far from over. We’re excited to be placing even more focus on supporting our partners in achieving success, and growing the KeyPay business and brand across the globe.

Now that KeyPay has joined the Employment Hero family, our team has access to additional resources to better support partners and help them grow their business. We’re excited to be able to invest back into our partners more than ever before, opening up doors for:

  • Enhanced, dedicated partner support
  • Additional tools and resources to facilitate partner growth
  • Increased access to knowledge, resources and software to further enhance our product offerings in-platform

Ben Thompson, KeyPay’s CEO and the CEO/Co-Founder of Employment Hero, shares a few words: “KeyPay recently joined the Employment Hero family, and we’re delighted to be united in our mission to change the way our partners and clients work, pay, and manage their people. Now that KeyPay and Employment Hero have combined forces, it’s a no-brainer that this passion for the success of our partners has become even stronger. We’re committed to continuously improving our platform to help maintain a competitive edge, and add value to clients with our technology”.

Ben Thompson, CEO of KeyPay and CEO/Co-Founder of Employment Hero.

With the increased investment and support of Employment Hero behind KeyPay, Kate is looking forward to the future. “I’d love to see KeyPay doing what it does best as it combines forces with Employment Hero - continuously innovating and providing transformational technology that changes the way the world works, pays, and manages people.” Paul is also emphatic about the future of “increased offerings to our customers and partners through better integration between Employment Hero and KeyPay.”

When asked what’s coming next in the KeyPay product, Ken is tight-lipped. “It’s a secret! A gentleman never tells.” Graham, however, has been able to drop a sneaky hint as to the future of KeyPay and the software: “There are some HR functions in the pipeline that should really deliver additional value to our customers.” We’re also continuing to invest in enhancing our existing product offerings within the software: “In the next 6-12 months, there will be some big changes that will allow users and partners to access more features that will streamline their current processes which will definitely make them value the platform even more,” says Emma.

Tanya adds that “we’ll be making even more improvements to our timesheets, rostering and expenses. These parts of the system have the potential to really stand out in the market, so I’m excited to be part of the team that is going to make that happen!” There’s also strong sentiments amongst the team that in the future, “KeyPay will experience significant growth in the UK”, and that expanding into other regions is on the horizon. “KeyPay is already a force in Australia, and is quickly becoming so in the UK as well. I foresee that KeyPay will be a major force in many more regions,” shares Ken.

As David summarises: “Who knows, the sky’s the limit!” From all of us at team KeyPay, we’d like to thank all of our partners and users for the past decade of automating pay runs, creating rosters, processing timesheets and calculating entitlements. We’re proud of how far we’ve come in the last 10 years, and can’t wait to see where the next 10 will take us and our clients. We’re so excited to have you on this journey with us!

Here's to the past 10 years, and we can't wait to see where the next 10 take us!

If you’ve been looking for trustworthy payroll and workforce management software that simplifies processes, learn more about KeyPay and what we can offer your clients in Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.

Sophie Borton-Sutherland

NZ Partner Marketing

You might also like...

From left to right: An image of Robert Zobec, Irene Bennetts and Benjamin Loughlin.
October 3, 2022

KeyPay has partnered with the ICNZB to support growing NZ bookkeepers!

We’re excited to announce that KeyPay has entered into a National Sponsorship agreement with the Institute of Certified New Zealand Bookkeepers (ICNZB).
Industry Insights
KeyPay 2021 Year in Review
December 22, 2021

2021 Year in Review

From award wins to expansion (and even making it back to face-to-face events!), we take a look at some of our highlights from 2021.
Industry Insights
The 2020 Modern Award changes bring new obligations surrounding annualised wages
February 13, 2020

How the 2020 Modern Award changes affect annualised wages

How will the 2020 Modern Award changes affect how you pay annualised wages? We discuss this and our solution to keep you compliant.
Automation illustration

Not using KeyPay yet?

Speak to our sales team

Learn more