The future client experience software developers, 27 October 2015

This client experience workshop brought together representatives from the software developer segment, senior leaders from the ATO and representatives from our government partners. Together we are creating a draft four year plan that will make our future vision a reality for software developers. Ongoing consultation and co-design with the community, stakeholders and ATO staff will further shape the solutions.

Introduction from Jane King

Chief Information Officer, Deputy Commisssioner Jane King set the context for the day by outlining where we are, what we have heard, the current issues being faced and our future direction. Jane highlighted the importance of software developers in the tax and super systems and the need for the ATO to work collaboratively with software developers to deliver better experiences.

Key Focus Areas

  • Software developers play a vital role as partners in the tax and super system, this partnership with the ATO has been evolving significantly in a short period of time.
  • The future is moving towards an integrated whole of government service.
  • Today is about understanding software developer priorities for future years and how we can work as partners in delivering these.

Listening to our partners

A highlight of the workshop was hearing from software developers on their experiences and interactions with the ATO. Software developers were represented on the panel by individuals from large and small software companies, industry associations and Tax and BAS agents.

"If you had to buy space in a development queue, what would you buy? Would you still do it?"
  • Keep me informed on when you will get back to me and if things change, keep me updated.
  • Rethink the key performance indicator's for taking risk.
  • The ATO needs to explore ways to share information and data to add value.
  • Don’t give us 100 page documents we have to sift through
  • Decisions can be slow and we often never find out why a decision has been made.
"The relationship with the ATO is exceptionally important, without that we would be flying blind."
"The Software developer partnership is one of extensive frustration, failure to properly define problems and wasting a lot of time."

Segment Overview

Lesley Slevin, Assistant Commissioner and experience lead for software developers provided an overview of the segment. Focussing closely on what the role of industry is moving forward and where they are sitting in the wholesale and retail space.

Wholesale refers to the provision of web-services to the industry to value-add their software offerings to clients. Retail describes channels the ATO provides to support self preparers like the portal, myTax and paper based forms. The usage of both these services is "neck and neck"


When measuring the gross revenue collected, retail far exceeds wholesale. The main usage of the retail channel is for GST which could indicate that perhaps many business software users keep their records electronically but lodge manually. This is the first time we have assigned figures to the channels and it is a work in progress to better understand the distribution.

Since it's people who are important let's look at the software developer community...

  • 1952 individuals keep informed by subscribing to the new software developer community weekly newsletter.
  • 192 software developers are engaged with the ATO through the software developer community network.
  • 85% of businesses use IT for accounting.
  • 1528 commercial software publishing busineses, of which over half potentially require engagment for tax and super matters.

Building on the blueprint

Katie Welsh, Assistant Commissioner Reinventing the ATO (Client and Staff Experience Integration), provided the group with some background on the previous workshops for other segments that have been held over the past couple of months. Katie invited previous workshop attendee, Kevin Johnson from Reckon and Australia Business Software Industry Association to share his views from the previous workshops.

"The ATO is listening, taking ideas and prioritising them. Each of the workshops, brought together different views and experiences, and I found value in hearing these different views."

Getting down to business

After listening to our senior leaders and the voice of our partners, we identified pieces of work that will be needed to deliver the future experience for software developers.

Afternoon Panel

"If you were Lesley Slevin, experience lead for software developers, what would you do first to improve the software developer experience."
  • Clear messages - Messages from the ATO are not clear, software developers need to understand what the ATO needs, account managers have helped towards achieving this.
  • Account managers - Account managers and the services they provide need to evolve, they need to know and understand the developers, the environment and what impacts us.
  • Demonstrate the value - The ATO needs to demonstrate the value of administrative change to the community.
  • Understand the environment - Planning is great but the software lifecycle for developing apps and responding to the community is much shorter than the plan you are creating.

Emerging Priorities

  • Clarify roles and responsibilities - Drawing the line between wholesale and retail services.
  • Standard Business Reporting - Fix the irritants, and consider how we get further adoption across government.
  • Digital strategy - Clear direction on future and existing products and services.
  • Whole of Government - Data and security standards and sharing of data and information.
  • Working together - To solve problems and define the right software solutions.
  • Our people - Influencing and changing our culture and approach to risk.
"Sometimes the best service is no service, it's about getting the balance right, and we can not lose connectivity with the community"

What happens next?

Now the team will get together to collate and analyse all of the workshop ideas. These ideas will form pieces of work that will be integrated with those coming out of other Future Experience workshops being run for each community segment with our partners. Together they will be used to build a consolidated picture of the work we need to do over the next four years to deliver our future vision.

Created By
Australian Taxation Office ATO

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.