A straw poll conducted by Accountants Daily revealed that less than 10 per cent of accountants said their clients were ready for the shift to STP. Out of 290 voters, 261 (90.6 per cent) said they were not prepared.
Last month, the government confirmed the introduction of STP for businesses with less than 20 employees from 1 July 2019, as part of its broader intention to penalise non-compliance with superannuation guarantee obligations and its push towards digitisation.
Employers with more than 20 employees will transition to STP from 1 July 2018.
The Institute of Public Accountants believes the move will disadvantage small businesses that do not have the financial capacity to cope with the compliance costs, despite the transparency benefits that come with it.
“While initially, STP delivers little benefit to small business, we acknowledge that other benefits exist such as transparency over superannuation guarantee payments,” said IPA chief executive Andrew Conway.
“Employees will be able to log on and make sure they are being paid the correct amount for their superannuation contributions so this level of transparency is most welcome.
“Our concern is for the 70,000 small businesses that have been identified that will struggle to implement STP without help and support. Many of these businesses are not digitised and will require the adoption of technology and education.”
Mr Conway believes micro businesses with less than five employees will require significant support and incentives to implement STP, and supports the idea of a phased and targeted incentive approach proposed by the government.
“We are pleased to note that the government is considering a partial offset of costs and other incentives, said Mr Conway.
“However, we would like much more detail to ensure small businesses are not adversely impacted by the implementation of STP.
“There is also a reliance on strong internet connections which would disadvantage many working in more remote areas of Australia.”
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Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.