Speaking to SMSF Adviser, Smithink 2020’s founding director David Smith said the ATO is looking to implement SBR-like (Standard Business Reporting) technology within the next few years allowing it to read and process data directly, “potentially bypassing the accountant”. This, Mr Smith said, could see automation occurring at a faster rate in the SMSF industry.
Mr Smith said unlike the other influences to automate processes in the SMSF industry, this will not be a voluntary decision for SMSF businesses and trustees.
“The ATO has the power to say, this is the way we’re going to do it in the future so you have to change to fit with us,” he said.
“Businesses, trustees, accountants and others are going to be forced to change because of the driver being pushed at them by the tax office and potentially other government organisations.”
Mr Smith said while SBR is currently more about businesses rather than SMSFs, it is likely the ATO will soon apply the same principles to the SMSF space.
Andrew Bloore from IQ Super agreed that the industry will need to work with the ATO as it automates a number of its functions, saying this will be a positive step for the industry.
“The better we can talk directly with [the ATO] and deal with it as a system-to-system basis, the more efficiently we can make the whole industry work,” he said.