Industry experts say the Federal Government must do a better job of promoting Small Business Superannuation Clearing House, a free service which administers the payment of super to multiple employee accounts on behalf of companies with less than 20 employees.
The service was set up in November 2009 in a bid to reduce red tape and compliance costs associated with meeting superannuation guarantee obligations.
But according to Medicare Australia, which administers the service, only 2,300 small businesses have registered with the SBSCH since it became fully operational on July 1.
Small business groups have expressed concerns over the service, attributing low user numbers to a lack of publicity and the time-consuming process of registering for the service.
The Government has said it will address this by working with small business groups, the superannuation industry and software vendors.
Paul Banister, director of taxation at accountancy firm Grant Thornton, says he can’t recall a single client asking him about the service.
“It’s an issue that clients have gotten used to dealing with [on their own]. Certainly for new businesses, the service is welcome but there needs to be more publicity about it,” he says.
He says one way in which the Government could promote the service is by linking it to the process of applying for an ABN, whereby businesses are asked from the outset if they would like to register for the SBSCH.
Peter Strong, executive director of Australia’s Small Business Council, says the service is less than ideal for businesses already in operation and is therefore better suited to start-ups.
“It’s a really good thing, without a doubt, but you still have to change what you’re doing. Change is always difficult for small businesses,” Strong says.
“New businesses will be the ones that take this on. If they’re not using their own systems already, it makes sense.”
Strong says the Government should be directly targeting start-ups, in its promotion of the service, by way of a telephone call.
“The Government should be ringing new business owners and offering its assistance in using the site. That’s the sort of thing that gets people involved,” he says.