Next week’s rollout of the ATO’s revised requirements takes in all businesses with an ABN except sole traders.
Seamlss adds client-linking feature to onboarding software
Local onboarding software specialist Seamlss has added a feature to streamline the ATO's agent-client linking process, which becomes mandatory for all businesses with an ABN – except sole traders – next week.
Seamlss said the feature was designed to simplify the process, reduce the administrative burden and enhance client understanding during the onboarding process, after the changes met “mixed reactions within the industry”.
Seamlss CEO Clayton Wood said concerns centred on the additional complexity of the process, especially for less tech-savvy small business owners. As the owner of accounting firm Business Edge Advisors, he understood the challenges firsthand.
“The initial reactions to the agent-client linking initiative revealed a real-world concern among practitioners regarding the added administrative tasks and the potential for client confusion,” Mr Clayton said. “We saw this as an opportunity to build a bridge between accounting firms and their clients to ensure a smooth transition.”
The feature guided clients through the linking and onboarding process step-by-step with clear explanations, he said. Its proactive approach aimed to minimise confusion, reduce the risk of inadvertent disconnections or unauthorised changes, and ensure that both firms and their clients were well-versed in the new system.
“Our aim is to provide a structured, easy-to-follow process that not only complies with the ATO's requirements but also enhances the interaction between firms and clients,” Mr Clayton said.
“We believe that with the right tools and guidance, the agent-client linking process can become a catalyst for strengthening the relationship between practitioners and clients rather than a hurdle.”
He said the agent-linking update came baked into Seamlss as a part of the app at no extra costs to subscribing firms.
Last month, the ATO responded to concerns about the six-step linking process by expanding the window for clients to nominate agents from seven days to 28.
It also introduced a feature that enables agents to produce a real-time, on-demand report that shows which clients have completed the nomination form.
The ATO said both changes were made after consultation with agents already using the system. However, neither addresses a key criticism by tax and BAS agents that they can be inadvertently disconnected by an accountant servicing the same client, which means an onerous reconnection process.
The ATO recently acknowledged the issue and said it was working on a fix, but reiterated a procedural caution to accountants.
“If an agent is authorised by the client to manage their income tax account, agents should only link to this account. They will be authorised to act on behalf of the client for all of the client's accounts and no further action is required,” the spokesperson said.
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