Moving to a cashless society

Aussie dollar

MYOB says the future will be cashless and has encouraged the Federal Government to plan for an Australian economy featuring alternative currencies such as Bitcoin.

Tim Reed, CEO of MYOB, recently highlighted the opportunity to the House of Representatives during the inquiry into Taxpayer Engagement with the Taxation System.

“We have long argued in support of a shift to a cashless society. This shift would eliminate the black economy, meaning tax revenues to the government would increase and all businesses would be placed on a level playing field. We encourage the Government to consider the positive impacts a cashless economy would have on business of all sizes and the economy, placing Australia back on the map of global competitiveness,” explained Reed.

The inquiry is reporting on how taxpayers – particularly individuals and small businesses – engage with Australia’s tax system, examining opportunities to improve the experience through the greater use of information technology, automated and natural systems.

Reed spoke of some of the key issues impacting small businesses across Australia, including:

  • A cashless economy will save small businesses money and time.
  • Digital transactions provide more transparency and should not be seen as a threat, but rather an opportunity – he said that The Federal Government should be planning for a world where regulation of global cryptocurrencies is the norm.
  • The Federal Government has an important role to play in creating a regulatory environment that supports an open, inter-operable platform that enables automation between the sector and the tax system.
  • A collaborative, phased approach is required between Government, regulators and providers to create an open inter-operable platform that helps Australian businesses succeed.
  • The ATO is moving in a positive direction by providing access via APIs to increase automation and efficiencies in the sector.

Reed spoke of a future where cash will be replaced by other digital transactions in the Australian economy. He described the positive role this could play for both businesses and individuals.

“If we were re-designing the economy overall, you wouldn’t design it with cash or paper documents. They are dead. The technology is available today for both businesses and individuals to go cashless. We know switching to cashless saves businesses time and money. Capabilities such as the New Payments Platform (NPP) will allow individuals to send money to anyone, at any time, with a mobile phone number creating convenience and ease,” said Reed.

He highlighted the important work the ATO is doing to evolve its system to be more efficient and automated. However, he acknowledged the challenges the ATO faces should not be underestimated and continued support is necessary to improve the interaction of systems within Australia’s tax system.

“Industry, business and government all have a role to play to jointly tackle issues which slow businesses down and stop people from bringing their small business idea to life.

“Regulation can be powerful in enhancing business efficiency. For example, SuperStream has materially reduced the amount of time that is takes an employer to do super each quarter. Regulation forced that changed and it has been extremely beneficial,” said Reed.

“The Australian Government should set a goal to be a digital leader. Australia should be a digital nation. This will require investment, but it will pay off for the country as a whole.

“Digital transformation is a challenge that requires a phased, collaborative approach to ensure we can create solutions which enable entrepreneurship and innovation to thrive in Australia.”