The new government Standard Business Reporting (SBR) initiative brings with it changes that are likely to affect your business. SBR was launched on 28 June 2010 and is aimed at reducing the reporting burden for Australian companies. This major whole-of-government project streamlines business-to-government reporting through their SBR-enabled accounting/payroll software and is expected to save businesses time and money.

Some examples of reports SBR is targeting include the Business Activity Statements (ATO), financial statements (ASIC), and payroll tax returns (State and Territory Government revenue offices). This will affect financial reports lodged with ASIC for the financial year ending 30 June 2010 and following financial years.

SBR is simplifying business-to-government reporting by:

– removing unnecessary or duplicated information from government forms

– using business software to automatically pre-fill forms

– adopting a common reporting language, based on international standards and best practice

– making financial reporting a by-product of natural business processes

– providing an electronic interface to agencies directly from accounting software, which will also provide validation and confirm receipt of reports

– providing a single secure online sign-on for users to all agencies involved.

This program benefits businesses as SBR enabled software will allow owners to pre-fill, complete and submit government forms straight from their in-house accounting systems. This will save more time than existing processes as the person managing the accounts does not have to re-enter and orgainse information simply to suit a specific reporting requirement.

Some other changes include, but are not limited to:

– improving disclosure of non-financial information in the directors’ report of companies limited by guarantee

– new provisions for changing year-end dates

– replacing the profits test for paying dividends with a new test based on net assets

– clarifying the circumstances in which a company can cancel its share capital.

SBR is expected to save Australian business an estimated $800 million per year once fully implemented although it will not be compulsory for businesses to adopt SBR. This project is a positive move towards a more streamline national economy and has been co-designed by Australian, State and Territory government agencies as well as the wider business community.

If you are a business owner it is recommended that you seek professional advice from an accountant or lawyer to assess how these changes may impact your business. Here at The Quinn Group our experienced team of accountants and lawyers can assist you in understanding and making adjustments to your business based on these new changes to financial reporting obligations. Submit an online enquiry or call us on 1300 QUINNS (1300 784 667) or on +61 2 9223 9166 to make an appointment.