QA Business founder Clayton Oates believes the impending implementation of Single Touch Payroll (STP) and the Notifiable Data Breaches (NDB) scheme in 2018 will provide accountants with a “catalyst for conversation”.
The introduction of STP for employers with more than 20 employees will start on 1 July 2018 while STP for employers with 19 or less employees will begin on 1 July 2019.
Meanwhile, the NDB scheme will commence on 22 February 2018 and will require agencies, organisations and certain other entities to provide notice to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) and affected individuals of a data breach.
Individuals and corporations that fail to comply with the notifications rules risk being fined up to $340,000 and $1.7 million respectively.
“Both pieces of government legislation provide a catalyst for conversation for firms to re-engage with their business clients in a practical and useful way in early 2018,” said Mr Oates.
“It’s not so much the resulting short-term services that can be provided relative to these specific changes, but the true benefit lies in demonstrating to the client that the accountant has got the business owner's back by initiating awareness and education beyond traditional reactive compliance services.”
Conversely, a poll held by Accountants Daily late in 2017 showed that less than one in 10 businesses were ready for the implications of STP, while accountants have been advised that ‘time is not your friend’ in getting ready for the NDB scheme.
Mr Oates believes these points to a lack of awareness from accountants on the ground and a potential missed opportunity.
“The implementation of STP and Mandatory Data Breach Notification will largely be an opportunity missed by much of the accounting profession,” said Mr Oates.
“Whilst I would be very happy to be proven completely wrong on this prediction, the fact that I still have accountants ask, ‘How will STP and Notifiable Data Breaches impact my firm and my clients?’ doesn’t indicate that this opportunity will be capitalised on.
“However there is still time if you start now to get up to speed and devise and implement a strategy to help clients in each of these areas.”