With respect to SMSF advice, many firms currently operate under the exemption to the Corporations Regulations, although these accountants will need to be licensed or appointed as authorised representatives, with the exemption set to expire on 1 July 2016.
Catherine Evans, partner at Cowell Clarke, urged accountants to act now, or risk being left out of a key growth area of the financial services industry.
“Time is running out for accountants to ensure they are eligible to continue advising on self-managed super,” Ms Evans said.
"The majority of accountants are still yet to make a decision on their future involvement,” she added.
According to Ms Evans, the licensing process is not simply a ‘tick the box procedure’, with many accountants unaware of the large amount of work required to smoothly and effectively manage the transition.
“It’s more than just a paperwork exercise. Accountants may have to undertake a considerable amount of associated training to remain eligible to provide SMSF advice,” Ms Evans said.
While noting that the licensing decision is heavily reliant on a firm’s individual circumstances, she said that in some cases changes may be required to a firm’s business model as a whole.
Failing to act now would simply place many accountants and firms at risk of losing business, she said.
“The longer the action is delayed, the more accountants are leaving their businesses exposed to potential loss of income and clients,” Ms Evans said.
“With the clock ticking and the significant time required to make this transition, it’s important to decide which path you wish to take now."