Business reporting is the process of communicating financial and operational information about a business to stakeholders such as shareholders, creditors, and employees. This information is typically presented in financial statements, which show a business’s financial performance over a period of time.
Business reporting is essential because it helps business owners and managers make informed decisions about the business. It also helps stakeholders understand the company’s financial health and assess its risk.
In Australia, business reporting is regulated by state, territory, and Australian governments, as such businesses are required to follow specific reporting standards. The Australian government has developed the Standard Business Reporting (SBR) program to streamline business reporting.
In this article, we will discuss the critical aspects of Standard Business Reporting (SBR) in Australia. We will also provide some tips on how to get started with business reporting.
What is Standard Business Reporting (SBR)?
Standard Business Reporting (SBR) is a program that streamlines business reporting requirements for Australian businesses. It is a joint initiative of the Australian government, state and territory governments, and businesses.
SBR was introduced in 2010 and is currently used by over 1 million businesses in Australia. It makes it easier for businesses to comply with their reporting obligations by providing a consistent data format that can be lodged electronically with all relevant authorities.
Under SBR, businesses only need to report their business activity once, using software that they are already familiar with. The data is then automatically lodged with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and any other state or territory government agencies to which the business reports. SBR-enabled software simplifies bookkeeping and payroll processes and reduces the risk of errors in business reporting.
The ATO is the lead agency for SBR and is working with other government agencies and the business community to roll out SBR across Australia. Adopting SBR is voluntary for businesses, but the ATO encourages all businesses to take advantage of the benefits that SBR can offer.
What Are The Benefits of Using Standard Business Reporting?
The benefits of using SBR include:
- Reduced compliance costs: businesses only need to report their business activity once, using software that they are already familiar with. Therefore, businesses save time and money on compliance costs.
- Improved data quality: SBR-enabled software simplifies bookkeeping and payroll processes and reduces the risk of errors in business reporting. This enhances the quality of data reported to government agencies.
- Greater certainty: businesses have greater confidence in reporting obligations, as SBR provides a consistent format for business reporting.
- Greater transparency: businesses can track the progress of their reports through the SBR lodgment system. This provides greater transparency and accountability in business reporting.
- Reduced paperwork: businesses no longer need to manually complete paper forms or lodge reports, which reduces the amount of paperwork businesses need to deal with.
- Greater efficiency: businesses can lodge their reports electronically, which reduces the time and resources required to comply with business reporting obligations. Businesses can then spend more time running their business rather than completing paperwork.
What Are The Most Important Business Reports to Prepare?
Businesses may need to prepare several different business reports depending on their business activity and reporting obligations. The most crucial business reports include:
- Annual financial statements: businesses need to prepare annual financial reports, which summarise the business’s financial performance and position over the past year.
- Business activity statements: businesses need to prepare business activity statements, which report on the business’s GST liability and other taxes.
- Payroll reports: businesses need to prepare payroll reports, which summarise the business’s payroll information.
- Tax returns: businesses need to prepare tax returns, which report on the business’s income and expenses.
- Other business reports: businesses may also need to prepare other business reports, depending on their business activity and reporting obligations. These include reports on environmental performance, employee relations, health and safety, and marketing.
These are just some of the essential business reports that businesses may need to prepare.
How Can You Streamline Your Reporting?
There are several ways you can streamline your business reporting:
- Use software that supports Standard Business Reporting: Using software that supports SBR will simplify your bookkeeping and payroll processes and reduce the risk of errors in your business reporting.
- Use the ATO’s online services: the ATO offers a range of online services that can help you streamline your business reporting, including e-services for business activity statements and tax returns.
- Use a registered tax agent: using a registered tax agent can help you save time and money on your business reporting. A registered tax agent can help you prepare and lodge your business activity statements and tax returns and provide advice on complying with your business reporting obligations.
- Keep accurate records: keeping accurate records of your business transactions will simplify your business reporting and help you avoid penalties for errors.
- Lodge your reports on time: lodgment deadlines vary depending on the type of report and the business’s reporting obligations. However, most business reports are due on a quarterly or annual basis. For example, business activity statements are typically due every quarter, while tax returns are generally due annually. Failing to lodge your business reports on time can result in penalties from the ATO.
- Review your business reporting regularly: reviewing your business reports regularly at least once a year will help you identify any errors or areas of non-compliance.
There are several government websites that provide more information on how to streamline your business reporting, including information on software that supports SBR and the ATO’s online services. These resources include:
Business reporting is a vital part of running a business. There are several ways of streamlining your business reporting, including using software that supports SBR, using the ATO’s online services, and using a registered tax agent. Keeping accurate records and lodgment deadlines will also help you avoid penalties from the ATO. Reviewing your business reports regularly will help you identify any errors or areas of non-compliance.
Need Help With Your Business Reporting?
If you need help with your business reporting, Visory is here for you. We are a team of business reporting experts who can help you with all aspects of business reporting, from bookkeeping and payroll to preparing tax returns. We pride ourselves on providing high quality, personalised service to all our clients. Our team can help you streamline your business reporting and ensure you are compliant with all your business reporting obligations.
Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with your business reporting needs.