ACTIVITIES & PROGRESS
The period from May to October has been filled with activities which have produced some really encouraging results and these are detailed below.
The ABSIA membership continues to grow and the board, in conjunction with The Association Specialists, will be conducting a major member recruitment campaign in the last quarter of 2014.
If you would like to join ABSIA, please click here for more information about our membership categories or contact the office on 02 9431 8623.
ABSIA is being consulted on a regular basis by the ATO, Treasury and other government departments. So far this year, we have been consulted on the following:-
Early in 2014, a consultation document was sent out suggesting changes be made to Taxable Payments Reporting with an effective start date of 1st July 2014. The document advised that with the TPAR being an annual return, there would be plenty of time for software developers to make changes to the report prior to the reporting at the end of the 2014/2015 financial year. ABSIA put in a submission advising that the TPAR could in fact be submitted on a quarterly basis and that the timeframes were far too short for developers to make changes to their reporting. This proposal has now been deferred.
Increase in SG rate
ABSIA was consulted on the delayed change to the rate of Superannuation Guarantee. The government was attempting to pass legislation to delay the increase of the SG rate from 9.25% to 9.50% from 1st July 2014. ABSIA was contacted by Treasury to seek our views on what to do if legislation was passed after 1st July and once employees had been paid at the new SG rate. ABSIA advised that if a change in rate was to occur after 1st July that it should not take effect until 1st October otherwise there would be many issues. This topic was also raised again at the Small Business Liaison Group meeting in April to emphasise the importance of not changing the SG rate other than at the start of a quarter.
Designing a Digital Newsletter meeting
ABSIA board member Karen Lay-Brew attended a meeting in Canberra - Designing a Digital Newsletter for Business.
Board of Taxation - Review into Small Business Tax Impediments
In April, ABSIA was approached to make a submission to the Tax Board on issues facing small business. David Field attended a meeting in Melbourne in May and raised issues around GST, Long Service Leave, Payroll Tax reporting and SuperStream.
Superannuation Reporting on Payslips
Not strictly ABSIA, however the reporting of actual superannuation payments on a pay advice was a topic that caused some excitement at a number of SDCG meetings. This topic was taken to the Small Business Liaison Group and raised there by the SDCG representative. Once raised it gained support from other group members with the result that the matter was then taken back to Treasury for further consideration. The result is now that a consultation paper has been issued by Treasury with the recommendation that the mandatory reporting of superannuation payments on payslips should not proceed.
At each meeting of the Small Business Liaison Group, each representative is asked to give a brief presentation on any topics that are of concern to their members. This is an opportunity for software developers to raise issues at the top level with the Tax Commissioner and a senior representative from Treasury being present. We welcome submissions from ABSIA members relating to any issues of concern to them.
ABSIA has been building relationships with other associations and this is also yielding valuable results. See below for more information about the organisations ABSIA is interacting with.
Interaction with other associations
ABSIA MEMBER BENEFITS
The web forum has been created and is being hosted by Software Objectives, an ABSIA member and a board representative. The forum is intended to provide a means whereby ABSIA members can post questions, view members responses and view general ABSIA member information. The ABSIA forum will be available for viewing free of charge until 31st November 2014, after which it will only be available to ABSIA financial members. See the website for more information.
Part of the intentions for the web forum is to provide ABSIA members with a filtered set of information on topics which directly affect members. It is expected that ABSIA will, in the longer term, employ a research staff member to carry out the task of capturing and indexing this information. In the first instance, this information will be provided by members while we trial the processes involved.
As most of you will be aware, the ATO has released a comprehensive SuperStream testing and implementation guide for software providers and superannuation funds. Part of this guide includes the requirement for initial testing with ComplianceTest, which is a self-serve portal where developers can test and re-test their SuperStream software to ensure it passes all the tests required by the government standard. Initial end to end testing of the SuperStream network has demonstrated that running the ComplianceTest harness on software before entering into end to end testing will save all parties significant amounts of time and effort in having to stop and restart the testing process.
ABSIA has successfully negotiated a special rate for members from ComplianceTest and these rates are detailed in the table appended to this newsletter.
The SDCG reborn
A number of members have expressed the view that the Software Developers Consultative Forum constituted a valuable forum where they could interact with other members regularly during the year and on dates which could be planned in advance for each year. The ABSIA board has decided to create a similar facility, called the ABSIA Conferences. It is intended to run three of these each year with the initial conference in November 2014. Topics planned for the November 2014 conference include:
- Future payment methods – a panel including American Express, a big bank, PayPal, Eway, Bitcoin etc.?
- Single touch payroll panel technical implications and business impacts including cash flow
- SuperStream progress and program
- Superannuation industry common errors – zero contributions, wrong member numbers etc.
- A standard for cloud systems – Government, NZ and Europe
- A B2B standard for Australia
- Regular ATO updates
- Updates for other forums
- Re-inventing the ATO
- The ABSIA web forum and other communications media
Regular newsletters and bulletins
ABSIA will produce three main newsletters each year, to be distributed prior to each of the three conferences. Also under consideration are more regular bulletins to broadcast news and developments. Consideration will be given to members requests for these bulletins to be issued by any or all of the following:
- Any other electronic media deemed appropriate
ABSIA is forming a number of special interest groups (SIGs), some of which will be permanent and some of which will be formed to address specific short-term issues. Each SIG will have a sub-committee, chair and vice-chair and will be responsible, in conjunction with The Association Specialists, for arranging meetings (face-to-face, video or teleconference), setting agendas and providing reports to the ABSIA board. The sub-committees will be responsible for liaising with government and others to formulate policy and position recommendations to be put to the ABSIA board. The SIGs currently planned are:
Special interest groups
- Superannuation software with possibly two sub-groups for SMSF and APRA fund related software
- Tax Practitioners
- Standard Business Reporting
- B2B electronic business standards
Interaction with other associations and forums
A number of meetings have been held in August and September to develop a solid working relationship with other associations. The connections which these organisations have with government and industry is important and they have all expressed significant interest in working with ABSIA on software issues and initiatives. The ABSIA directors have to date met with/attended the following:
- Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA)
- Australian Industry Group (AIG)
- Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia (COSBOA)
- NSW Business Chamber which is a key member of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI)
- Nicholas Perrott represents ABSIA on the Commissioners Small Business Liaison Group
- David Field represents ABSIA on the “Reinventing the ATO” working group
- Geoff Schaller represents ABSIA on the Business Advisory Forum
- ABSIA has been asked to provide two members to represent ABSIA on the SuperStream technical Committee
- Kevin Johnson presented at the Tax Practitioners ELS workshop in September
ABSIA will be involved in setting standards for Australia and the primary ones of these will be the SuperStream Standards Technical Committee, a possible Cloud Computing Code, and a B2B e-business standard.
The last of these is advancing well with progress to date including:
- Discussions with Standards Australia on the process for establishment of a standard
- Approaches made and initial agreement from AIG, ACCI, and COSBOA to be involved in the process
- Involvement with UN/CEFACT and OASIS to assist with setting parts of the standard
- Discussions with Federal Government to finalise liaison points with the B2B standards committee
ROLES AVAILABLE IN ABSIA
The ABSIA board invites industry members to apply for the following positions
- A moderator for each SIG on the web forum
- Committee members for each SIG
- Newsletter contributions on any relevant topic from any industry source
- ABSIA representative for:
- COSBOA – Council of Small Business Organisations of Australia
- AIIA – Australian Information Industry Association
- AIG – Australian Industry Group
- Any other association where members see a benefit for both parties to maintain an involvement
- ABSIA representatives on the SuperStream Standards Technical Committee
ABSIA CONFERENCE: "Defining the Future"
...all about the future; the future of payments, the future of data, the future of documents and the future of our organisations
The inaugural ABSIA Conference "Defining the Future" is open for registration now. This one day event is to be held at Doltone House Darling Wharf, Pyrmont, Sydney on Thursday, 27 November 2014.
Date & Time:
Thursday, 27 November 2014, 8:30am to 5.15pm
Doltone House Darling Wharf, 48 Pirrama Road (opposite The Star), Pyrmont Sydney
For more information and the conference brochure, please click HERE