In its pre-budget submission, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) noted the government’s pilot program with businesses that have less than 19 employees, which found “limited direct benefits” are expected for small business during the program’s initial rollout.
Further, the pilot identified barriers including ongoing cost, trust and convenience issues for the SMEs, and concluded they would likely struggle with rollout without help or support.
“We encourage the government to consider a range of strategies and tools, in concert with stakeholders, to bridge the capability and confidence gap these employers face, said the IPA in its submission to government.
“Intermediaries, such as bookkeepers for example, will play a very important role in advising employers in this segment and assisting with the introduction of STP solutions,” the IPA said.
In particular, the government should consider that businesses with a handful of staff are likely to experience different issues - particularly on the infrastructure and digital front - to larger operations.
“The government could use STP incentives particularly for micro businesses - less than 5 employees - who face significant hurdles as a prelude to a more fulsome move towards digital reporting,” the IPA said.
STP has proved to be a contentious issue among bookkeepers - with some in full support, while others are sceptical of its benefits given the cost and time burden. You can read more about this debate here.