SuperStream improves the Australian superannuation system

The Australian government is introducing a new SuperStream data and e-commerce standard which is due to begin in stages from July next year. SuperStream is a package of reforms designed to improve the superannuation system.

The most important changes include:

  • a requirement for employers to use an online solution when making super payments
  • a requirement for super funds to receive contributions via an online solution
  • a minimum set of standards for data remitted
  • it allows the use of TFN’s as a primary identifier to locate members accounts.

A few of the SuperStream benefits are:

  • faster allocation of contributions to members accounts
  • a reduced  number of contributions being returned to employers due to insufficient member details
  • improved efficiency
  • a reduced number of lost accounts.

What does SuperStream mean for your business?

As of 1 July 2014, data standards becomes mandatory for all employers making contributions with 20 or more employees. As of 1 July 2015, data standards becomes mandatory for all employers making contributions with up to 20 employees

Without SuperStream reforms, each super fund sets their own requirements with regards to how they will receive payments and contribution advice details for each member. This can often make paying your employees superannuation a timely and involved process. If you have numerous super funds to pay, you could be spending several hours per quarter preparing and processing your super payments.

With the new Business Edition subscription bundles that Xero announced last week, we used this as an opportunity to embed auto-super payments across all Premium plans. This feature was previously only  available in our Large subscription.

While we are aware that there are free superannuation clearing house solutions under 20 employees (such as that available from the government under Medicare) these solutions are manual and still require administrative overhead. Feedback from our partners using the auto-super payments feature has been extremely positive, so we felt offering a standard across all subscriptions was the right way to go. We believe auto super will become a mandatory component of any small business accounting software application in the future.

Making this a standard feature in our plans today means we are ahead of the curve and preparing our customers and partners for impending data standards being enforced by the government, meaning our customers will not only save time, but also ensure they are compliant with these new regulations. Check out our video on how easy it is to use the auto super feature.

15 Comments

Charles Klvana
November 11, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Totally agree Chris. As bookkeepers we have to deal with literally a thousand employees with over a hundred different funds. Ao mant super funds seem to purposely make paying super hard including some that require the employer to sign up just to pay one employee who is already a member!?! These super changes will be well received. Clearing houses and more recently Xero auto super payments have made our life easier.

Elizabeth Salter
February 2, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Really thankful that Xero has already been on top of this well before the change comes. It’s going to make the transition to SuperStream so easy.

Ricardo
March 3, 2014 at 3:55 pm

This is really great add on to Xero Software. You are really on top of things. I am very positive that you will get most small business in Australia with over 20 employees sign up to subscribe to Xero before July 2014 and with up to 20 employees sign up to subscribe to Xero before July 2015. I read that you are doing 3 Roadshows around Australia each year. Last one was in Feb 2014 so hopefully next one will be in June 2014. I think majority of small business in Australia have less than 20 employees. Thank you to the Management and Staff for working so hard around the clock. Now, you have made an appointment for Key positions in the US. I am looking forward to hear the great news of the Total Customer number at the end of next year. Go Xero! Keep up the great work. I am your number 1 fan as I am your shareholder.

Simon
September 9, 2014 at 12:46 pm

I’m on the starter plan – It mentions above that you’ll introduce this feature across all plans (see quote below) but I get an error message saying “Your current subscription does not allow access to this feature.” Will you give access to this for the starter plan for one-person businesses like mine? Thanks in advance for your reply.

Simon

“so we felt offering a standard across all subscriptions was the right way to go. We believe auto super will become a mandatory component of any small business accounting software application in the future.

Making this a standard feature in our plans today means we are ahead of the curve and preparing our customers and partners for impending data standards being enforced by the government, meaning our customers will not only save time, but also ensure they are compliant with these new regulations. “

Carsten
October 10, 2014 at 1:38 am

I’m with Simon – how do I access this superstream in my zero? I’m on the $50 p/mo plan. Not sure if it’s the starter plan or not.

Matt
October 10, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I’m in the same boat as Simon + Carsten _ I haven;t been able to access this feature on my starter plan.

Peta Wallace
October 10, 2014 at 10:33 am

@Simon @Carsten @Matt – taking another look at the content, I can see how it may not be totally clear which subscription bundles include access to the auto super feature. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused.

Auto super is included in all Premium plans only, which is mentioned in the following paragraph:

“With the new Business Edition subscription bundles that Xero announced last week, we used this as an opportunity to embed auto-super payments across all Premium plans. This feature was previously only available in our Large subscription.“

For customers not on a Premium plan you can utilise the ATO’s free Small Business Superannuation Clearing House. We only provide the auto super feature in Premium plans as there is a cost involved in providing this service. Feedback from customers is that auto super saves many hours of manual work per month.

Kevin Cust
October 10, 2014 at 1:55 pm

@Peta

>> “Feedback from customers is that auto super saves many hours of manual work per month.”

I doubt this is true for a single person business like @Simon mentioned. Asking him to pay an extra $10pm (moving from his $50 plan up to $60 plan just to access this convenient feature) seems excessive. I guess it comes down to how much value a single person company places on automating a few minutes of work for convenience.

I’m not disputing your additional cost of providing the feature or your right to charge what you want, but I’m guessing there are a few micro businesses out there (like mine) who don’t see the value in your current pricing structure but would still prefer the convenience.

Maybe there is room in your pricing structures to address such a scenario in the future? (eg. prior to the 1st July 2015 deadline)

Andrea Nickels
October 10, 2014 at 4:28 pm

As electronic payments of Superannuation (Superstream) will be compulsory for any business with employees, it makes sense to me that if you have a package which includes payroll, part of the payroll capabilities includes this superannuation feature as they go hand in hand.

As a small business with only 3 employees, the standard package suits us perfectly and it is really disappointing that we would have to pay an extra $120 per year to upgrade to the Premium package simply to have access to this single feature.

Melanie Power
October 10, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Fantastic comments and thoughts put out here – thanks for sharing everyone! :-) I think that as a micro business or sole practitioner that building in as many efficiencies as possible is even more critical in this economic and current business environment. Time is money and that every moment has to be maximised. Utilising tools allows scalability in my practice/business. This is just one of the many things you can add to your toolbox to do just that. My point is – think about ways to generate MORE income and service your clients/customers and how you can maximise your time to do just that. I know the functionality of producing a report and approving ( takes a few minutes a most ) and having the payment just happen is something that I value. I don’t like data entry – there are better things to do :-)

Douglas
November 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm

Dear Xero,

Since you “believe auto super will become a mandatory component of any small business accounting software application in the future” I imagine you will be adding it to all plans?

To be honest, as a single employee business on a starter plan, I don’t need a clearing house. But I do need a way to have electronic ‘contribution messages’ to be generated and sent to a fund.

I agree with you that free clearing houses “… are manual and still require administrative overhead.”

Buy my current alternate option is overkill: pay Xero an extra $420 a year to get on a premium plan. An increase of 28% to my companies expenses so that they can send a electronic contribution message on my behalf (+ clearing house services which I don’t need).

So since you’ve already developed the code to send the contribution messages, can you please allow that feature to trickle down to us lowly starter plan subscribers. I’ll to the funds transfer myself but I can’t generate the ‘contribution messages’.

Cheers

Peta Wallace
November 11, 2014 at 8:08 pm

@Andrea – we have done all the work within our payroll product to meet SuperStream requirements, but are not quite there. We are now working through an external certification process that is a requirement for compliance. As soon as we are awarded certification, we will be added to the ATO’s complying product list and can let you all know.

Andrea
January 1, 2015 at 3:37 pm

@Peta Okay, thanks for the clarification. Is this due to be done before July 2015?

Oliver Furniss
January 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm

@Andrea, we’re working through the details now to get certification and we’ll update this blog as soon as its done. It’s a priority for us and yes it will be done before July 2015.

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