Australians wanting government support during the pandemic quickly discovered ready access to digital records could help speed up each transaction.
While plenty of digital transformation programs were underway across the public sector before COVID-19, Australians’ interest in digital-first interactions with government was massively amplified.
Accountants used to only hearing from clients at tax time were swamped with requests to get financial records up-to-date and digitised. Both major accountancy industry associations noted rapid adoption of digital technologies in 2020 was their industry’s ‘finest hour’ (CAANZ) and ‘major enablers for businesses to survive and thrive’ (CPA).
At the ATO, there were the added pressures of further streamlining customer service while managing risk to support the commonwealth’s economic response measures.
“We want to make it as seamless as possible for people, though it’s not all about putting up a webpage or creating an app,”
says Ramez Katf, second commissioner and chief information officer at the ATO.
“Those are two important customer-facing elements, then there’s a third element, which is the integration with software and data.”
“We want to make tax an embedded part of the commerce of business, and the challenge for us and others is wherever we can have it integrated with natural systems, to make that compliance capability even stronger.”
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