APRA Connect: CFOs Guide to Implementation & Benefits

Regulatory Reporting

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) recently rolled out APRA Connect in mid-September, which is their new data collection solution (DCS).

APRA initially postponed rolling APRA Connect out during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, as businesses already had so much on their plates. However, the update is now available and can undoubtedly affect workflows and the ways by which companies collect, enter, and submit data to the authority.

Here, we will share everything you need to know to prepare for APRA Connect, as well as offer an automated solution that will expedite your company’s required form submissions.

Consider this your APRA Connect guide.

Coming Up

1. What is APRA Connect?

2. How to Access APRA Connect?

3. What is APRA Connect Test Environment?

4. What are the Different APRA Connect User Roles?

5. What are the Benefits of APRA Connect?

6. How does SolveXia help with APRA Connect?

7. Wrap Up

What is APRA Connect?

APRA Connect is APRA’s new data collection solution that is launched in 2021. Every quarter and year, companies across various industries including authorised deposit taking institutions (ADIs), life insurance, superannuation, general insurance and health insurance companies have to submit forms to APRA.

APRA Connect is a digital solution that will require forms to be submitted in specific formats like XML and XBRL.

What does APRA Connect Change?

Once APRA Connect goes live, companies will have to change how they go about submitting the required forms. Before this, companies could submit the data via mail, email, or fax. When APRA Connect is initiated, companies will only be able to submit their returns by entering the data directly into screens or electronically in files in XML or XBRL formats.

For organisations that currently use D2A, the data gets manually copied and pasted from spreadsheets onto D2A forms. With APRA Connect, companies can no longer copy and paste blocks of data. Instead, you’ll have to copy and paste one item (cell) at a time into input screens or enter each cell manually. Naturally, you can imagine how much more time-consuming this will become.

Lastly, APRA is likely to increase the amount of information that they will be requesting from companies. Some of the new forms entail more than 10,000 rows of data (with multiple numbers per row) on just a single form.

How Can APRA Connect Challenges be Addressed?

The challenges can be addressed by managing two aspects of the process, namely:

1. Data collection

Data will need to be collected from various sources, such as the General Ledger (GL), administration systems, company reports, and more. Data needs to be cross-checked and compared across periods and reviewed by one or more staff members.

For companies who have been collecting this data manually in the past, APRA Connect will make this virtually impossible as it will become even more time-consuming and error-prone. For organisations that have automated this aspect, the change will be easier to manage; however, you will have to ensure that your current process is scalable.

2. Data conversion and submission

For companies using automated solutions, it will only be sustainable if the tool can convert your data into XML or XBRL formats that are required by APRA Connect. Most tools are offering this as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) basis that will require logging into a portal that the provider hosts. You can get an on-premise solution, but it will be costly.

SolveXia is offering a combined automated solution that can collect, transform, and review all the data and then submit it in the required format to APRA Connect.

What to Consider for APRA Connect?

You’ll also need to consider:

  • How easily your chosen tool can collect data and integrate with existing systems
  • The ability to use the chosen solution for other processes
  • Data storage, backup, and disaster recovery
  • Customisation capabilities for associated workflows and reporting
  • The state of current processes with regard to D2A

How to Access APRA Connect?

Companies can access APRA Connect to submit data here.

In order to access APRA Connect, entities must fulfill the following:

  • Have myGovID available to establish their digital identity and be authorised
  • Nominate one user for each ABN who will be assigned by APRA to the Regulatory Reporting Administrator (RRA) role
  • APRA administrators will help by assigning the initial RRA role and permissions upon the first interaction with APRA Connect. Nominations went live on September 13, 2021

What is APRA Connect Test Environment?

To prepare for APRA Connect, there is a test environment available.

The APRA Connect test environment was developed to allow companies to become familiar with APRA Connect. There, companies can trial data preparation, amongst other functionalities.

Service providers, entities, and RegTechs can use the test environment to:

  • Engaged with APRA on the new method of collection
  • Identify the changes they need to make to existing systems
  • Familiarise themselves with the new functionalities

What are the Different APRA Connect User Roles?

Within APRA Connect, there are different designations for user roles. According to the role that one is assigned, the levels of access will vary. The goal of these designations is so that entities can limit access to sensitive information.

Per each role, the amount of users that can be designated is unlimited, and users can have a combination of roles.

The roles include:

  • Regulatory Reporting Administrator (RRA): each reporting entity requires the entity to nominate one RRA. RRAs can complete and submit returns. They are the main point of contact for notifications. They can also grant access to other RRAs, preparers, and service providers, and manage other user roles and permissions.
  • Regulatory Reporting Preparer: Can draft regulatory returns, but cannot submit them.
  • Service Provider: can draft, upload, and submit returns. This role can be assigned to a third-party entity or user.
  • Corporate Profile User: can edit corporate returns to update organisation level details. No other user can view this information.
  • Ad hoc return permissions: Ad hoc permissions can be granted to existing roles that allow the user to request a resubmission, extension, exemption, or can submit file attachments to APRA.

What are the Benefits of APRA Connect?

Although APRA Connect may create some hurdles for companies, especially those that are currently operating entirely manually, there could be potential for opportunity.

By implementing automation solutions like SolveXia, you can streamline your reporting processes and free up your skilled employees’ time.

Rather than having to manually collect and enter data, they will be able to perform high-level tasks and focus more on providing the business with analytical thought and strategic decisions.

With automation, your entity also benefits from the elimination of key person dependencies, reduces time taken for error prone manual data entry, and improves data accuracy.

How does SolveXia help with APRA Connect?

SolveXia can provide your entity with the perfect solution to manage all the changes that come along with APRA Connect.

Here’s how SolveXia can help:

1. APRA Processing

SolveXia can automatically connect, validate, and process all your data in one place to transform it into the right format for submission. SolveXia’s solution supports both D2A and APRA Connect.

2. APRA Submission

SolveXia automatically transforms the Excel APRA form template into XBRL files that can be uploaded straight into the APRA Connect reporting system. It also provides attestation (i.e approval).

3. Integrations

SolveXia integrates with existing technologies, including legacy systems, via APIs, so you can rest assured that all your data will remain accessible and protected when you deploy SolveXia.


Benefits of SolveXia and APRA

SolveXia helps organisations in various ways when it comes to APRA Connect (and more).

SolveXia allows for:

  • A reduction in manual effort which results in time savings
  • The ability to meet APRA deadlines
  • Reducing human risk by replacing error prone manual data entry with automation
  • Improved visibility and transparency through status dashboards and audit trails
  • Pre-validate all your APRA Connect forms before submission with the same rules used by APRA

Types of Reporting

SolveXia can be used for all types of APRA reporting across industries, including:

  • ADIs
  • Life Insurers and Friendly Societies
  • Health Insurers
  • Super
  • General Insurers

If your entity fits under a different category, let us know!


Example of APRA Connect & SolveXia (Insignia Financial)

Insignia Financial has already benefited from using SolveXia’s solution for APRA Connect. Insignia Financial has helped Australians secure financial independence since 1846, and since then, it has grown into a leading provider of quality financial advice, services, and products.

The Fund Statutory Reporting team at Insignia Financial utilised SolveXia for the APRA reporting. Their Direct to APRA (D2A) system was highly manual and required the submission of more than 50 forms that included various staff members.

SolveXia automated the XBRL data submission process. Now, it takes the team minutes (rather than days) to submit their APRA reports. Their staff’s time has been freed up to focus on analysis instead of data entry.

They’ve reaped roughly 20 days of time saved per year, and with staff working remotely due to COVID, Insignia Financial is already ready to go live with SolveXia to submit quarterly reports.

Wrap Up

APRA Connect has changed business processes and requirements for all APRA-regulated entities in Australia.

For entities who have adopted automation technology like SolveXia, the changes are easy to manage and have even led to benefits. With SolveXia, organisations can reduce key person dependencies, lessen manual errors, and save time.

APRA Connect has strict requirements for how data gets submitted and the amount of data they are requesting has increased dramatically. As such, it’s imperative to utilise an automation solution that can help manage all these updated workflows for your team so that nothing gets lost in the shuffle (because the consequences are costly).

Free Up Time and Reduce Errors

Request Demo

Intelligent Reconciliation Solution

Learn More

Intelligent Rebate Management Solution

Download Data Sheet