Last week the federal government released a set of new user-friendly online tools for Australian small business to on-board a new employee. At this point you are probably thinking, ‘so what?” and ‘what does that have to do with the superannuation industry?”. My answer is – everything. Now up to 2 million small business owners in Australia no longer have to focus on translating government regulations such as pay and conditions, tax and super or even employee entitlements. An online checklist and other associated products means that the guesswork has been removed and a new ‘decision tool’ guides small business owners through federal and state laws that apply for new employees. The federal government has been able to provide a check list, online portal, online clearance house, electronic record keeping system and totally streamlined superannuation administration system for the millions of people employed by small business in Australia. It’s all there online.

All of the hard work that has been completed for larger funds and employers is now translating into potential productivity benefits for small business and this is no mean feat. It comes at a fortuitous time when actual small business numbers are rising, and so does the call from major industry bodies to lift our productivity levels as we face being overtaken by our Asia Pacific neighbours.

Australia is lagging behind its counterparts when it comes to innovation, and overly time consuming red tape is a major detractor for innovation. The Australian Innovation System Report 2015 revealed Australia is ranked 27th in the world and well below the OECD average (The Global Innovation Index, Cornell University 2015).

It is however important to remember that it is these initiatives for the employers and fund members of Australia that will pay off for the industry as a whole in the long run. The government is well and truly on board and leading the way in ease of use initiatives.

So whilst for many of us we head into what we thought was the pointy end of superannuation legislation reform, in a nutshell the federal government has set the bar higher for us all in making it easier to do business with for the larger employers as they record and facilitate the administration of superannuation for members.

Members have never had more control over their funds than ever before. Checklists, calculations and a better experience have been set as a benchmark by the government. It will be interesting to see what our industry does next for larger employers needing an enhanced digital footprint.

 

Katherine Forrest

Principal Consultant