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ABSIA, not unlike the rest of the industry, has been through some interesting events and challenges over the past year. The COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the world, Australia and our Australian Business Software Industry. ABSIA responded to these challenges by working closely with the ATO and other Government agencies to support initiatives that ultimately helped keep our Australian economy moving and to continue to represent as the voice of the industry. 

There has been much focus on supporting Government initiatives such as JobKeeper, JobSeeker, superannuation changes and industry support changes by the Australian Government and executed through Treasury and the ATO. Our rapid response and ability to interface between industry and Government saw our industry provide much needed timely response to these critical initiatives. 

ABSIA continued to focus on growth and support of our Members and the industry. Over the year, our team has executed through Treasury and the ATO. Our rapid response and ability to interface between industry and Government saw our industry provide much needed timely response to these critical initiatives. 

ABSIA continued to focus on growth and support of our Members and the industry. Over the year, our team has executed on several initiatives that expand on the service offerings we provide to our Members and the industry at large. 

  • Introduction and development of a working relationship with the Fair Work Commission and the introduction of the MAPD.
  • ABSIA developed and published research on the impacts of COVID-19 on the industry. This research took a close look at the current and potential longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on the industry. Following data collection and analysis, ABSIA published the research and shared the details via a webinar. 
  • ABSIA participated in the Commonwealth Department of Home Affairs Small Business Cybersecurity Roundtable along with COSBOA Members and SME Cyber Firms in March 2020, and had the opportunity to promote the SSAM and the ATO DSP Operational Framework as an example of industry and Government cooperation in cyber security. 
  • A new Government Relations Sub-Committee was launched in May to bring together our larger members' GovRel teams to coordinate our approach to Government on behalf of the industry. Chaired by Vice President Simon Foster, members include Michael Ross (MessageXchange), Chris Denney (SuperChoice), Karen Lay-Brew (Independent), Simeon Duncan (Intuit), Colette Betts (MYOB) and Angus Capel (Xero). 
  • There has been significant progress on e-invoicing in Australia and New Zealand, beginning with the ATO becoming Australia's Peppol Authority on 31 October 2019, and NZ launching Peppol at an event in Auckland on 13 November 2019, with ABSIA participation. 
    • In December 2019, the first group of Australian accredited Service Providers went live on the Peppol Network. All are ABSIA Members aside from Australian Government agencies. 
    • Additionally, in December 2019, the first Peppol e-invoice was sent in NZ with ABSIA Members providing AP services on both sides of the transaction.
    • From June of this year, ABSIA has been hosting e-invoicing community Zoom meetings for open discussions between Peppol Service Providers, accounting and ERP software vendors and other interested industry participants across Australia and NZ both ABSIA Members and Non-Members. These monthly meetings have been very productive and driven subsequent activity with ATO, MBIE and OpenPeppol.
    • In July, ABSIA began co-chairing the Invoice Status and Content Working Group together with ATO and MBIE.
    • We would also like to recognise the election of Martin Mane (ATO Assistant Commissioner with responsibility for e-invoicing) as the OpenPeppol eDEC Community Leader in June 2020. This is a strong recognition of the contribution of Australia and NZ to the OpenPeppol community in the last few years. 

  • ABSIA responded to a number of Government consultations relating to important topics over the year. These included, but were not limited to:
    • Security improvements, including the SSAM
    • Critical infrastructure and the STN network
    • Consumer Data Right
    • The Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF) updates
    • Industry support for financial and regulatory technologies
    • Impact of COVID-19 on the industry analysis
    • In total, ABSIA responded to 12 consultations so far this year
  • ABSIA maintained its objective of keeping Members involved and engaged through informational webinars. This year, ABSIA coordinated webinars covering topics such as:
    • Fair Work Commission's Modern Awards Pay Database (MAPD)
    • Interview with Ramez Katf, the ATO's Cheif Information Officer
    • Security webinars with two industry experts
    • In total, ABSIA held 5 webinars so far this year

Additionally, ABSIA also provided notes and updates from the ATO's JobKeeper webinars to Members to keep them informed and up to date on the program. 

ABSIA continued to focus on Member value, industry representation and supporting strong relationships between industry and Government with the aim of improved outcomes for all.

We continue to look for opportunities to deliver value in this order and as the industry recovers, ABSIA will be there to help support these recovery efforts and will be exploring opportunities to help grow and expand the Australian Business Software Industry. 

The ABSIA Board is one of volunteers, who devote their time and energy to lead this organisation. The Board is supported by two employees, who work tirelessly to support the Board and our Members. I cannot begin to demonstrate my appreciation for the ongoing support of this team. I will however take this moment to thank them for their help this year. 

Additionally, ABSIA is supported by its Members. I would like to thank all of our Members for their continued support and contributions throughout the year. We have grown our membership and continue to seek out additional Members to join our voice and help strengthen our ability to lead and influence stakeholders in progressing our industry. 

ABSIA is at a pivotal stage of development with a number of growth and development opportunities under consideration. We will maintain our focus on representing the industry, increasing the value that we bring to our Members, our stakeholders and the industry. We actively look for opportunities to expand the relevance and value that we can bring to our Members and the industry. As we continue on this journey, I am enthusiastic to see ABSIA develop as an association and further support the business software industry in the future with greater services. 

I would like to, again, recognise the ongoing partnership and support of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). Our partnership continues to grow and improve and provide the both of us with opportunities to implement digital solutions and add value to Australian businesses and the software industry. 

ABSIA postponed our annual conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This event gives all of our Members an opportunity to interact, engage and to provide us with direct feedback that we bring back to our team to consider and work on. While we were all hopeful that we would be able to get back together soon, we recognise the importance of the safety and health of our team, our Members and the overall health of our industry. We are actively monitoring the situation and are currently planning for a March conference. We will monitor the environment and will certainly provide updates as we move closer to this proposed date.

As the President and Chair of ABSIA, I have had the pleasure of working with a great team and our Members. I am very appreciative of this opportunity and wanted to, again, thank you all. ABSIA's aim is to actively facilitate Australia's Digital Agenda, thereby creating more opportunities for our Members and the broader industry to grow digital businesses and ultimately, a digital economy. With these goals in mind, ABSIA will continue to be proactive in consultations and submissions to the Government on topics that are of direct relevance and interest to the industry. 

Again, thank you all for your continued support. 


Chris Howard
President & Chair
24 October 2020