Speaking at a roundtable discussion at the SMSF Association National Conference, BDO partner Shirley Schaefer said accountants, auditors, and financial advisers would achieve a much better outcome for their clients if they would work together.
“I actually think a meeting of the three advisers to go through and flesh out the compliance issues particularly is a good idea, because you can always then bounce ideas off each other, you can get additional information, you can actually have the conversation and without providing strategy advice, you can at least flag those issues up,” said Ms Schaefer.
“We've certainly found that with our clients, making sure we have open lines of communication is the best way to go.
“We all have an ego to a certain extent and we all think we're good at what we do but you don't want to use it as a fear mechanism so if [an adviser] questions something that I've done, the first response is to throw up a defence mechanism but we just need to accept the fact that others can provide that valuable input, so leave the ego at the door quite frankly.”
Bentleys South Australia director Shari Neagle says that while accountants are often the gatekeeper of the flow of events, they can benefit by first communicating ideas with financial advisers before a SOA is written.
“I think the critical thing is just making sure the accountant knows ideally in advance or shortly thereafter what is happening,” said Ms Neagle.
“That communication before you write the strategy is so important and unfortunately we see too often that accountants find out about these well after a strategy's been written and implemented.”
Further, she believes demonstrating the open lines of communication between each professional's discipline will only help strengthen the relationship with clients.
“It can work to strengthen the relationship between the client and the other disciplines,” she added.
“It's really powerful when they know that all the parties are talking and all the parties are working towards the common goal of the outcome — it's really hard to put a value on that but the clients love it.”
Middletons Securities director Nick Loxton, believes the reluctance for each profession to work with each other stems from a fear of getting it wrong, but says getting the right outcome for the client should be front of mind.
“I think first of all there is the chance that you are going to look like billy the goose and no one wants to be like that,” said Mr Loxton.
“I say get over that, you need to shed that.
“You're much better off verifying the strategy — if you're wrong, get the right guidance before committing to an SOA and you'll do much less harm than getting it wrong.”