While SuperConcepts applauds the extension to lodgements for superannuation and pension tax to 30 June 2020, it also backs a call made last week by Tax and Super Australia to extend the lodgement dates for personal and company tax for 2018-19.
“We acted quickly and decidedly to respond to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding COVID-19 and are in a very good position to make the 30 June deadline for lodgement on all the SMSF accounts we administer,” said Lara Bourguignon, Chief Executive Officer at SuperConcepts. “While this is a great accomplishment for our clients and team, we would want the same extension to apply to tax lodgements across the industry, as personal and company tax lodgements have been similarly impacted by COVID-19.”
Bourguignon notes that SuperConcepts finds itself in a very good position today as it implemented an agile and universal contingency plan in response to COVID-19 within a week of the global pandemic declaration.
The response was championed by its entire workforce in early March 2020. It included programs that empowered SuperConcepts’ workforce to abide by lock-down practices across three continents.
“We provided our 800-strong workforce across seven cities in Australia, India and Vietnam with the support and training needed to transition to a work from home basis. This was a huge undertaking as none of our previous crisis plans had factored in a complete shut-down of all sites at the same time. Our committed team has risen to the challenge of people management, IT and Software updates and personalised customer care,” Bourguignon elaborated.
Michael Pease, General Manager of Operations and Customer Service Officer at SuperConcepts, is proud of the work his team has accomplished over the last two months of home lock-down.
“Our dedicated administrative team is not only on track to meet the new 30 June tax lodgement deadline but has also been able to get through a back-log of tax returns from previous years caused by legislative changes in 2017-18.”
Mr Pease believes the team’s ability to achieve such outstanding productivity gains, of almost 130% over the last year, has been due to the organisation’s universal commitment to staff training and infrastructure investment.
The same commitment and productivity gains have been seen by Grant Christensen, Chief Information Officer at SuperConcepts, in his team.
“We quickly bolstered our technical support to enable our universal workforce to work safely and productively from home. This was challenging as we are working within different jurisdictions in Australia, India and Vietnam. However, we saw instant benefits from earlier investments in our internal systems and infrastructure upgrades plus external client software, including SuperMate, which ensured they are universally and reliably accessible. We have even found our teams are more efficient and able to get through more development sprints during this time at home.”
As a result of this agility, decidedness and commitment, the SuperConcepts team has been able to support individual trustees and advisors to navigate their own circumstances throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Graeme Colley, Executive Manager of Technical Education at SuperConcepts, has seen a keen interest from trustees and advisors seeking extra support and information on how to navigate the changes to legislation for SMSF that have been enacted to combat COVID-19 nationally.
“We have had a spike in attendees to our online education programs, with a focus on questions relating to self-managed superannuation funds from both trustees and advisors. These have primarily been about lodgement extensions and early release of funds.”
Successful navigation of its own transition through COVID-19 has given the team extra time to support individual trustees and advisors through unique circumstances.
“We’ve had the time to support a trustee landlord, whose commercial property was leased by a pharmacist that contracted COVID-19. The pharmacist was forced to close the premises while in recovery, only to return with a reduction in revenue. We helped the trustee navigate the new policies to give rental relief for the pharmacist while protecting their investment and returns.”
“Had we not been in such a positive, stable and certain position with our own COVID-19 response, we may not have had the bandwidth to develop tailored responses to our customers’ unique circumstances with such certainty,” Mr Colley concluded.
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