Oct 2020


Roadmap for end of compliance: First the BAS, then SMSF, then the remaining tax returns

By: Odyssey Outsourcing
Tags: Australian compliance, Automation, SMSF audit, SMSF outsourcing, tax returns

Bookkeeping BAS’s fully automated

A couple of years ago we forecast that bookkeepers and other BAS related compliance areas would be impacted by the automation in bookkeeping, and that in our opinion there would shortly be a BAS button that the SME owner could press to lodge the BAS, thereby removing this valuable revenue stream for bookkeepers/accountants.

At the same time, we forecast that it would only be a matter of time before the automation of BAS would be fully complete, with the ATO being able to automatically link to SME bookkeeping data and BAS’s automatically lodged. Recent news in the press suggests this is now realistic, and once the indignation dies down it is likely to be the new norm.

These initiatives have been designed and implemented by the bookkeeping software houses, in part using data learning from the keystrokes and processing of thousands of bookkeepers.

SMSF’s and data learning, almost fully automated

In the SMSF space, we’re seeing the SMSF software houses have moved this way as well, with one of the larger SMSF software companies mentioning their data scanning, matched with data learning from the keystrokes and processing of thousands of SMSF accountants, has led to nearly full automation. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time.

Compliance, Automation is around the corner – 100% of 90% of the SME work completely automated

Recently seen on LinkedIn was a comment from a UK software company that Xero and Free agent are “innovating” by finally moving into the world of year end accounts. But this software house mentioned they have been doing this for 2 years, and the (smaller entities) accounts and corresponding (Company Tax Returns) were completely automated for 90% of SME scenarios.

And at the same time they had already automated basic self assessments and payroll.

As they said, this will save the average accountant a saving of over 1,500 hours per annum. Leaving aside the sales talk, and the fact there are only probably 200 working days x 7.5 hours in a working year (1,500 hours), the fact is this is still out there.

And yes, we agree that Australia isn’t UK. But the fact remains that the automation of processing by software companies is an accepted objective, either as first mover to gain market share, or as second mover in order to compete.  So it can only be a matter of time before the remainder of the compliance work becomes highly automated.

So what can you do? It’s a frequently stated argument that Australian accounting firms should be moving away from reliance solely on compliance, and adding additional revenue streams to your accounting business is a good start. At the same time, accounting staff should be transitioned away from traditional compliance work, recognising new skills are needed in this new world.

And if you need assistance with your ad-hoc compliance work then please reach out to the Odyssey. We’ll be happy to assist while you transition to higher paid, higher value work.

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