I’m a fan of QuickBooks as the functionality is excellent and the cost of the software is still low. I’m really pleased to announce that you can now enrol in our QuickBooks Online Daily Transactions Course — but does QuickBooks fulfil Australian legal obligations to be SuperStream compliant?
The background is that from July 1 this year, all Australian businesses with fewer than 20 employees were required, by law, to be SuperStream compliant.
SuperStream is a government initiative to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system, namely by making superannuation a totally electronic process.
Most cloud-accounting packages that have been developed for the Australian market (such as major applications, like MYOB, Xero, Reckon and so forth, but not smaller apps like Zoho or QuickBooks, which can be used in Australia but don’t interface well with Australian tax procedures) are now all SuperStream compliant, with one exception: QuickBooks. Continue reading QuickBooks Isn’t SuperStream Compliant, But It Doesn’t Matter!
Companies with over 20 employees should ALREADY be compliant
In July last year, EzyLearn published a couple of posts about SuperStream, the government initiative to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system, which all businesses with 19 or fewer employees must be compliant with by June 30 this year. As we’ve now reaching June 30, it’s important to ensure that you’re fully compliant with SuperStream, the government’s electronic system for sending superannuation payments to your employees’ super funds.
If you’re already using a payroll system to pay super and send your employee information, then you may only need to alter your system slightly to ensure you’re compliant. If you don’t currently send super and employee information electronically, then you’ll need to implement a system for doing so – and as soon as possible.
Get compliant by using a SuperStream certified payroll system
If you currently use one of the major cloud accounting programs, such as MYOB AccountRight or Xero, they’re already SuperStream compliant – both have been gold certified, meaning they conform to all of the testing requirements for all data and messaging for SuperStream. As long as all of your employee information is current and accurate, then you’re already SuperStream compliant. It’s now just a click of a button in your accounting software to create the super fund report, which, along with the money, is sent through to each super fund.
If you’re not using a SuperStream compliant payroll system
If you don’t use MYOB AccountRight or Xero or another SuperStream compliant accounting package – or the version of MYOB you’re using isn’t up-to-date – then you can use the government’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, which is free for businesses with 19 or fewer employees and an aggregated turnover below $2 million per annum.
This will involve a few extra steps in the payroll process, and also involve some double handling of certain information, but it’s still an incredibly simple process to follow to ensure you’re sending your employees’ super contributions electronically.
If you currently use a bookkeeper, however, the double handling of information may make it less cost effective to use the government’s Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, as opposed to upgrading your accounting software to a compliant system, like Xero or MYOB AccountRight.
Check out this great video that explains from the horses mouth how SuperStream works and give you a checklist of things to do to see if you are compliant.
To find out if your current payroll system is SuperStream compliant, visit the ATO website, or ask your bookkeeper or accountant.
For training in SuperStream compliant payroll systems
If you decide to upgrade or adopt a SuperStream compliant one, and you’d like training in how to use it correctly, EzyLearn offers both MYOB training courses (which includes payroll) and Xero training courses, delivered completely online. Otherwise, for more small business news, tips and insights subscribe to our blog.
Good local bookkeepers
As bookkeeping tasks become more complicated and require more compliance you may find it better to use the services of an experienced bookkeeper who provides their services on a contract basis when you need them. If you want to find a local bookkeeper be sure to check out great bookkeepers at our bookkeeping directory National Bookkeeping. If you are a great bookkeeper and want to get more exposure and join a collaborative marketing team feel free to Pre Qualify and tell us about yourself.
Does SuperStream streamline superannuation payments?
If you’re a small business with nineteen or fewer employees, then come July 1 this year you’ll need to begin making superannuation contributions for your staff using SuperStream, the government reform introduced last year to improve the efficiency of Australia’s superannuation system.
The purpose of SuperStream is to ensure employer contributions are paid in a consistent and timely manner, while also setting a common standard for how super contributions should be managed, which had previously been lacking from legislation relating to superannuation contributions. Medium-large businesses with more than twenty employees have been able to use SuperStream since July 1 last year and have until June 30 this year to become compliant. From July 1 this year, small businesses with nineteen or fewer employees will until June 30 2016 to meet the SuperStream requirements for their business.
What’s the benefit to employers?
Prior to the reforms, there was no standard for making super contributions. This meant that employers could choose to make superannuation contributions as frequently or infrequently as they liked, providing they made them at some point over a the course of an employee’s employment with them. SuperStream now makes regular contributions mandatory and easy to comply with. Other benefits to employers include:
The opportunity to use a single channel when dealing with super funds, regardless of how many funds your employees contribute to
Reducing the time spent dealing with employee data issues and fund queries
Offering greater automation and reduced cost of processing contributions and payments
More timely flow of information and money in meeting your superannuation obligations.
What measures will businesses need to adopt to use SuperStream?
Businesses can use software that conforms to SuperStream requirements – MYOB released a software update for most of its products, which is SuperStream compliant, for instance – or a provider who can meet the SuperStream requirements on their behalf. The ATO recommends investigating the following options:
Upgrading payroll software
Using an outsourced payroll function or service provider
Using a commercial clearing house or the Small Business Superannuation Clearing House (for businesses with fewer than twenty employees).
If you employ contractors to work for you, either on a one-off or ongoing basis, you will still need to make super contributions on their behalf, which means you’ll also need to make sure you’re compliant with the SuperStream requirements. You’ll need to make superannuation contributions to a contractor if they have a contract with your business where:
The contract is wholly for labour and skills
They perform the work personally
They are paid for the number of hours worked
In this case, they’re considered an employee for the purposes of the superannuation guarantee, so you’ll need to ensure you’re also compliant with SuperStream, even if that contractor has an ABN and invoices you.
You won’t have to pay the superannuation guarantee for a contractor if the person is hired to complete a specific task for which they are paid to complete only, and they are responsible for fixing any defects to the work.
If you hire contractors to provide mainly labour services on a regular basis, where they are paid for the time they spend working, rather than on a project basis, for the purpose of SuperStream, they will be counted as employees. If you have more than twenty contractors that fit this description, you need to ensure you’re compliant wit SuperStream by June 30 this year; if you’ve fewer than twenty, you have until June 30 2016 to become SuperStream compliant.
It’s a good idea to review the SuperStream section of the ATO’s website for more information on SuperStream or visit the section on contractors if you’re unsure whether you should be making super contribution on your contractor’s behalf.