Data feeds unreliable for new reporting, says mid-tier
With an estimated 20 per cent of SMSFs still encountering errors from data feeds, one mid-tier firm believes the ATO should allow SMSF practitioners a margin for error under the events-based reporting requirements.
BDO’s national leader for superannuation Shirley Schaefer said a large number of her clients now use direct data feeds so that funds can be processed more efficiently.
“One of the first things we check is [if] the bank statement agrees with the data in system and a surprising number of funds have issues,” said Ms Schaefer.
“It’s a higher number than what you would expect. I would suggest that probably 20 per cent of the funds that I’m looking at have some issues with missing information. It might be missing one day, it might be missing transactions off a particular day, sometimes it’s multiple days – it’s all different, there’s no consistency.”
While some providers are better than others in terms of the accuracy of data, she said, this could place SMSF practitioners in a difficult position with the ATO once the new reporting requirements commence and practitioners are relying on this data to be accurate.
“If you don’t actually check back to an actual bank statement, or you don’t have some assurance from the provider that everything is 100 per cent accurate and complete, you may blindly assume that all the data there is correct. You might push the button on your software and spit out an answer and come up with the wrong one in relation to the balance or what amount of money to commence the pension on,” she explained.
Ms Schaefer said the ATO could allow SMSF practitioners a margin of error so that their client isn’t penalised for these errors with data feeds.
“So if it’s out by, say less than $1,000, you won’t be penalised in any way,” she said.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.