SuperStream – How it affects your business

Are you SuperStream compliant? Your Payroll Program is now ready for SuperStream.  You have heard the buzz haven’t you? If you haven’t then you need to find the buzz.  If you have, you are probably wondering what it is all about.  You could be even a bit worried about how it is going to affect you and if it is going to create more work for you.    But I’m here to tell you that it is something that will make making your superannuation contribution payments for your staff a lot easier.

Basically it is a way to lodge your superannuation a lot easier and a lot faster.  It also goes to the superfund in a particular format that makes processing on their end a lot easier and faster as well.  You will also be required to pay the superannuation electronically via BPay or EFT and that is the only way that you can pay, cash and cheques will no longer be accepted.

This means that every employer in Australia is lodging their superannuation the same way and every superfund is recording the super contributions the same way, making everything faster, more reliable and more accurate.  It will also help reduce the number of Super funds people have.

When do you have to be SuperStream Compliant?

Businesses with 20 or more staff should already be SuperStream compliant.  They were required to be by the 31st of October 2015.

Businesses with 19 or fewer employees must be SuperStream compliant by the 30th of June 2016.  But I would suggest that you do it as soon as possible, if you haven’t already done so, as it will help you work out some bugs (if there are any) and also guarantee you are doing it by the cut off date.

Benefits of SuperStream

The main benefit that I have found has been that it is so much easier and so much faster to process superannuation payments for my clients.  I have one client that has over 40 staff members, in the past it would take me 1.5 to 2 hours each month to process super.

That would require me to log onto up to 15 different Superfunds and enter the details for several staff members.  Then pay the 15 different Superfunds all individually.  Some would get paid by BPay, some EFT and some cheque.  It would take forever.

Now I log onto one place, enter everyone’s details and then make one payment.  Takes me around 20 minutes, maybe even less.  Once the payroll system that I use comes on board with the creating a file to transfer across straight to the clearing house, the time to process will be no longer than 10 minutes.

How do you go about moving over to be SuperStream Compliant?

To be SuperStream compliant you need to pay super and send employee information electronically.  With the ‘old way’ you may have been sending some super lodgements electronically, so you may only need to refine your super lodgement system to send them using the standard SuperStream format.

The process of setting up to be ready for SuperStream is:

  1. Choose what option you are going to use
  2. Collection the information you need and update your records
  3. Start using SuperStream.

Step 1: Choose the option you are going to use

You basically have 4 options when choosing what way you are going to lodge your SuperStream information.

  1. If your Payroll System is SuperStream complaint you can use this
  2. Your default Superfund may have a clearing house attached to it
  3. You can use the ATO clearing house
  4. You can use a messaging portal

If the only contributions you make are your personal contributions to either your own Superfund or your Self Managed Superfund then you don’t need to use SuperStream, these contributions are exempt.

Payroll System

A lot of the payroll systems that we use are moving towards being SuperStream complaint, so check with the payroll system that you use and see if yours does.  Some cover date and payments, others, data transfer only so you still need to make the payment.  But if you like the idea of doing it all from your payroll program then this is a great option.

Your Superfunds online system

Most of the Industry Superfunds are already SuperStream complaint and offer a clearing house option for you to use.  I think this is a great option and use it for most of my clients.  But be careful as some of the funds are charging a fee to use it.

Super Clearing House

A Clearing House is where you transfer all the super information into and lodge all super in the one place, the clearing house clears the funds to all the correct super funds and employees for you.

There are several commercial clearing houses and as mentioned above, most of the Industry Superfunds have them as well.  If you have 19 or less staff members then you can use the ATO Small Business Super Clearing House, which we use for a few of our clients and is easy to use and I would recommend you have a look at.

Messaging Portal

A messaging portal can convert contribution data for your employees to a SuperStream compliant format and send it to the relevant funds for you.  You still need to make one electronic payment.

Step 2: Collect information and update your records

When you employed staff you would have got them to fill in a SuperChoice form which provides you with certain information, so that you can lodge their superannuation.  Now with the introduction of SuperStream you have to get a little bit of different information from them.

You will need to get from your staff their Superannuation Fund ABN and USI (Unique Superannuation Identifier).  They can find this information on their latest super statement. But if they are unable to provide this information to you you can go to the ATO’s Super Fund Look up website.  Here you can type in the name of the fund and it will bring up the ABN and if you click on the ABN it will give you the USI number as well.

Be careful with the USI as most Superfunds have different products with have different USI numbers, so be sure to get the right one.  If you you are unsure go back to your staff member and ask them to ring the fund and find out.

If you have staff members who have Self Managed Superfunds then they will need to provide you with the funds ABN, Bank Account Details and Electronic Service Address.

You will also need to go to the ATO’s website and print out the new SuperChoice form, so for any new staff members you get, you will be collecting the correct information from them.

Once you have collected all the information you need from your staff, you will then need to log in and enter everything into your clearing house so that everything is ready to go for your first process.

Step 3: Use SuperStream

You need to start using the SuperStream as soon as possible.  As already stated if you have 20 or more staff members you should have already started using SuperStream and if you have 19 or fewer staff members then I would suggest that you start using it as soon as possible so you get use to it and its all happening smoothly before the 30th June 2016.

Contribution lodgement and payment

You are required, by law to make payment of the superannuation on the same day as you process the superannuation and upload it to the clearing house.  This enables the Superfund to reconcile the payment and lodgement together and allocate the contribution to the members account.

For me the SuperStream is an exciting thing as it eliminates time and money spent on doing superannuation lodgement.  I would love to hear your thoughts on this subject and how you have got on when changing it all over.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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