ATO says more digital transformation on the horizon – new tech tools help accountants prepare

Dec 6, 2021

In a recent address to the Institute of Professional Accountants National Congress on the 18th of November, the Commissioner of Taxation Chris Jordan said the ATO are committed to continue the digital transformation of their services and will continue to harness new technologies to deliver a seamless digital experience for practitioners.

“Over the past two years, Australians have faced unprecedented challenges brought about by the bushfire crisis and COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, tax professionals and their small business clients have had to adapt and innovate to survive. Times are changing and the ATO must change with them,” he said.

Mr Jordan indicated that the ATO will continue to work closely with digital service providers to ensure interactions between practitioners, clients, and ATO services are integrated, seamless and accessible.

One of the projects already underway includes an overhaul to the ATO’s client register to help ensure communications go to the right place, addressing a major pain point for clients and tax professionals alike.

Australian-based robotic processing automation platform ATOmate is one of the approved digital service providers working closely with the ATO to support the digital transformation, developing several integrated features to overcome the hurdles that the communication changes present.

With comprehensive practice and document management integrations designed to leverage a practice’s existing technology, ATOmate automatically sorts, processes, reviews, and distributes ATO correspondence to clients, with minimal input needed by accounting advisers and administration teams.

The platform reduces ATO document processing time by over 90%, streamlining the management of ATO documentation and removing the potential for human error by automatically redacting personal TFN data, and flagging discrepancies.

Stan Corner, CEO of Business Automation Works, the company behind ATOmate, says the coming months will be important for practices to prepare themselves for the ATOs next update to digital communication.

“The ATO has committed to change, so it’s time to get set and implement the processes and solutions that will ensure your practice is ready for that switch to digital communication with minimal disruption to your team members, and most importantly – to your clients,” Mr Corner says.

Direct integration to ATO data gives time back to your team

Business Automation Works have been working closely with the ATO to create a fully compliant and certified integration that dramatically streamlines the ATO document management process. Available now, the integration automatically downloads all ATO correspondence electronically, processing the documents seamlessly behind the scenes, cross checking data from the practice management system, and then presenting those documents within the smart and easy-to-use cloud-based dashboard for your team to check discrepancies where needed or simply approve and send on to the clients.

Remove compliance burden for managing client communication preferences

The direct and secure integration to ATO data will also make light work of updating client communication preferences – the settings that dictate how and where various ATO documents are distributed to clients and practitioners.

Those practitioners who have used or investigated the ATO’s current communication preference tools would know the process involved in making changes to how and where documents are received is difficult, complex and time consuming – with individual clients required to sign off on any changes.

Through their comprehensive ATO and digital signing integrations, ATOmate’s upcoming Communication Preference Update feature is designed to help practices turn-off paper communications – completely automating the required compliance process and enabling practices to switch to digital only communication with ease.

Never miss an activity statement again

The platform has also solved a huge frustration caused by the unintended consequences of the ATO’s shift towards digital communication, providing a seamless solution to lost activity statements with another new feature that will be released soon.

As the ATO no longer generates activity statements for all clients, and confusion continues over where statements are being delivered, accountants have likely noticed many clients receiving overdue payment notices with no sign of the activity statement beforehand.

The tension that has caused the client-advisor relationship has been a key driver for Business Automation Works to develop a sophisticated solution that delivers an exceptional client experience, while giving practitioners confidence their clients are receiving all activity statements well before the due date.

Through its integration with the ATO, the ATOmate platform will automatically capture activity statement data when it becomes available and re-create that data in a practice-branded PDF, complete with payment reference details and due dates. Those statements can then be sent directly to clients via ATOmate’s cloud-based dashboard using the client data already stored within the firm’s practice management platform, providing an audit trail and complete confidence over what has been sent and received.

Tech tools save time, strengthen client-advisor relationship

Due to be released imminently, the new features will be a significant win for accounting practices – not only do they allow firms to easily switch off paper communication from the ATO and more easily manage incoming correspondence, but the capability also to seamlessly manage activity statement delivery will return trust and strengthen the client-advisor relationship.

With the ATO committed to its digital transformation projects in the immediate future, ATOmate’s new features are just the start of the platform’s journey in helping tax agents and the ATO become more streamlined, integrated and data-driven, ultimately enabling greater trust and confidence between the regulatory agency, practitioners, and clients.

To find out more about how the ATOmate platform is transforming how accountants manage the ATO documents and client communications, book a discovery meeting on the calendar below.

  • ATO holds firm on push towards digital-only communication
  • Tax agents can prepare now by stopping paper correspondence
  • ATOmate platform streamlines compliance processes, allows firms to update communication preferences in bulk & shift to digital communication
  • No more lost activity statements – automatically generate and send activity statements directly to clients through ATOmate platform
  • More digital transformation to come, now is the time for practitioners to prepare.

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