There are over 800,000 Australian employers who are required to make super guarantee contributions on behalf of their employees.  For many, this can be a complex process with multiple funds to contribute to – each with their own specifications for accepting the contributions data and payments.

To simplify the process of the superannuation system, the government is introducing a super reform package, called SuperStream.  This new package aims to improve the efficiency of the superannuation system by introducing common data items, electronic communications, simpler channels and faster business processes for sending employer contributions.

From 1 July 2015, small businesses with 19 or fewer employees will start making contributions using SuperStream.  While it’s a change in the way you manage super, the new ‘one file, one payment’ online system means faster, easier, more reliable super payment processing.

Depending on your business needs and the number of employees, there are different options available to best suit your situation.

Now is the time to prepare your business to start using SuperStream. Try working through the following step by step guide to find out what you can do now to ensure your business is SuperStream.

9 simple steps to becoming SuperStream Ready

1. Assess your options
There is no single solution for making SuperStream contributions.  You should look for a solution that best suits your business needs.  Ideally, you want something that integrates closely with your payroll process.

2. Set target start date
If you have 20 or more employees you should aim to implement your first SuperStream contribution as soon as practicable.  For employers with 19 or less employees you will need to be ready by 1 July 2015.

3. Collect new information
There is a minimum set of data you need to collect for new and existing employees. You will be familiar with most of the information on the Contributions Data for SuperStream fact sheet, but there is some new information you must now include, which is listed below.

New Information required Fund type
Fund’s ABN All funds
Unique superannuation identifier (USI) APRA-regulated funds only
Bank account details SMSFs*
Electronic service address SMSFs*
Employee tax file number (TFN) All funds

* Note: service providers and default funds can provide this information on your behalf for APRA-regulated fund contributions

4. Update payroll records
Once you’ve collected the new information, you’ll need to update your payroll records.  If your payroll software provider has not yet released a SuperStream-compliant version, you may need to contact them to discuss which user-defined fields would best serve the function of temporarily holding this data and provide continuity with future upgrades.  If you work with a clearing house, bureau or other external provider, you will need to arrange how and when this information is forwarded to them (or updated in their records).

5. Upgrade your payroll system
If you use payroll software, your software provider will be able to tell you whether an upgrade is required and, if so, when they intend to release a SuperStream-compliant version of their product. You will need to arrange the necessary upgrade and testing process with your supplier.

6. Connect to a provider
Depending on the solution you choose, you may need to arrange connections and security log-in credentials with your service provider or default super fund.

7. Undertake trial
Once your connection credentials are established, your service provider may provide an opportunity to test your solution. You’ll need to work with them on the details of any test and how you’ll apply what you’ve learnt.

8. Complete your first SuperStream contribution
If you have worked through all of the steps you should now be ready to make your first SuperStream contribution.

9. Refine process
You should refine your SuperStream contributions process as it settles down and moves towards a ‘business-as-usual’ protocol. This may include correcting repeat sources of errors, or making changes to your practices based on your experience to get lasting improvements.

It’s important to start preparing now, to avoid being caught short. Your service provider (for example, payroll provider or clearing house) or default fund can help you to get started.  They will be able to work with you to find the right fit for your business.

For further information you can check out the ATO here : https://www.ato.gov.au/SuperStreamChecklist