When SuperStream contributions commenced in July 2016 it heralded a new era of simplicity for employers and super funds by creating an electronic, standardised and seamless flow of information between payroll systems and the superannuation industry.

Significant progress has been made in making the process simpler for all parties but gaps still exist - causing manual interventions and rework in what should be a straight through process.

While the system works effectively in sending payroll information to super funds - the information flowing from super funds back to payroll systems is often not acted upon for a number of reasons. This results in data issues detected by the fund repeating every payroll cycle - the same data issues keep coming back.

So, what kind of data issues are funds reporting?

Contributions which break fund rules, money being sent to a fund that is unable to accept it and personal information or account numbers which don't correlate are just a few common ones.

Breaking bad data cycles

Around $127.0 billion in contributions were received by large APRA funds during the June 2021 quarter and this volume is set to continue to increase.

We estimate about 5% of contribution data going through SuperStream requires manual intervention, largely due to recurring errors. This results in a significant cost to industry, which in turn is a cost to members.

What’s the impact on members?

Firstly, any time there are errors or delays in allocating contributions, member’s hard-earned retirement savings are effectively out of the market - potentially preventing them from earning returns.

Furthermore, fund resources are being spent on needless re-work. There’s no value to members in this.

What’s the impact on employers?

Through a combination of member portals, single touch payroll and the ‘member account transaction service’ (MATS), members and the ATO have greater visibility of superannuation contribution transactions than ever before.

Any delays in processing mandated contributions will be visible and ATO monitoring gives them the information they need to enforce super guarantee obligations, including where those obligations aren’t being met due to a data issue.

What’s the solution?

As part of our product development and research we regularly speak to employers about their pain points in paying SuperStream contributions and their ability to resolve issues.

They’ve told us of their frustration using less intuitive SuperStream portals which make it difficult for them to understand and correct data issues simply, with minimal effort.

In 2018 Iress released a service we call SuperConnector. Since then we’ve been adding to it with a goal of improving the automation between employers, funds and the ATO.

SuperConnector is a natively integrated, compliant, efficient and cost-effective solution which is modular by design, and includes:

  • Standard Business Reporting (SBR) messaging service (released in 2018)
  • Rollover Gateway Service (released in October 2019)
  • Contribution Gateway Service (released in October 2019)
  • Clearing house service and Employer Portal (released in May 2021).

Improving efficiency for employers and super funds

For employers, SuperConnector includes a clearing house providing a secure transmission of data between employers and super fund(s). Data is validated before reaching funds and provides detailed audit trails assisting the compliance process.

Employers have told us how simple and easy the portal is to use— making it easy for them to understand and correct data issues, with minimal effort.

For super funds, SuperConnector reduces the need to use multiple system interfaces. It includes simplified integration—either natively with Acurity Registry or via API (Application Program Interface)—which means a faster implementation. And it takes the hassle out of upgrades, reduces testing and maintenance, saves time and money, improves data quality, and reduces risk.

Focus on value-added services

We estimate that for super funds with 500,000 members, every 1% improvement in SuperStream automation equates to a reduction of between three and five full-time administration resources. The resources can be freed up to focus on value-added services for members and employers.

Clearly, this is a better outcome for members, funds, employers and the superannuation industry as a whole.

You can find out more about SuperConnector here or by contacting your Iress account manager.

Disclaimer: This information contains factual information and general advice only and does not take into account your personal circumstances or financial needs and objectives. Accordingly, you will need to consider the appropriateness of the information contained within this information having regard to your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. You should consider the Combined Financial Services Guide and Product Disclosure Statement for Iress SuperConnector before making a decision whether to acquire the product.