What does SBR™ really mean for bookkeepers?

By Gerald Chait, Group General Manager – Marketing, Reckon Limited the Australian distributor of QuickBooks Accounting software.

The Commonwealth Government’s Standard Business Reporting (SBR™) program was created to make submitting government forms less time-consuming and more convenient. As many bookkeepers know, in the past there has been a lack of consistency across the various government agencies in regards to reporting terminology. SBR changes this to help save accounting professionals, and their clients, time spent on compliance activities.

How does SBR save you time and how can SBR really benefit you?

A few of the key benefits for bookkeepers that are most compelling are being able to pre-fill forms using data within your accounting program; having the ability to submit forms, such as payment summaries, on behalf of clients; getting almost instant validation when the your forms are received; having forms configured to meet your requirements reducing the need to duplicate information; and using a single login for all agencies, using the AUSKey, to make the process of accessing various agencies simpler.

Launched just over two years ago, the SBR initiative from the federal government had little to offer bookkeepers at first. While the government developed the reporting framework, for the most part, it was up to accounting software developers to bring that to accounting professionals and businesses by way of their SBR-enabled programs, such as QuickBooks.

Therefore the government has been working with software developers to bring SBR to life and recent announcements show they are serious about standardising business to government reporting. The ATO announced earlier this year that they will transition from the Electronic Lodgement System (ELS) to SBR from 2015. Also, superannuation reforms announced by the government last year focus on SBR as an efficient way of making the processing of transactions quicker and easier.

So bookkeepers need to understand this new technology and get on board, and can expect clients will ask what SBR means for them (if they are not already).

Submitting forms via SBR

Reckon recently announced the availability of payment summary lodgement through the SBR-enabled platform, Reckon GovConnect. This meant that QuickBooks Hosted users could lodge payment summaries during the busy tax time period and receive quick validation; and we were impressed with how quickly users embraced the new way to lodge.

QuickBooks Hosted and QuickBooks desktop users can also lodge BAS forms using Reckon GovConnect. Within these programs SBR lodgement is now one of the available configuration options when selecting to lodge the “simplified BAS/IAS” report. A video demonstration of this set up is available here: http://online.reckon.com.au/Products/ReckonGovConnect/Videos.aspx.

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