Research from Investment Trends indicates that there are 255,000 SMSF trustees citing unmet advice gaps, and of that group 133,000 would approach an accountant for professional advice.
Tax minimisation and investment advice strategies, pension help as well as borrowing and insurance advice are particular areas for which these taxpayers would turn to an accountant.
However, there remains a significant lag of accountants who are appropriately licensed to provide this advice, with ASIC having granted only 366 limited AFSLs at last count.
Further, significant mindset barriers are preventing accountants from taking advantage of their 'trusted adviser' reputation in current and prospective client circles.
“Accountants really need to leverage and optimise their trusted adviser status, and not take it for granted so much,” the Institute of Public Accountants’ (IPA) Vicki Stylianou told AccountantsDaily.
“Look forward rather than only having the backward-looking reporting function. Be progressive and be proactive with technology, and explore new ways of engaging with clients,” she said.
In particular, Ms Stylianou stressed that accountants need to understand how to value what they’re offering.
“We hear a lot ‘My clients wouldn’t pay for that’. They don’t want to look like a salesperson, but mostly they don’t realise the value of what they’re offering, and how much value clients put on it,” she said.
“Some of them are too afraid to charge more for a different service. They’ve got to have a bit of trust in themselves as well, and know that their clients won’t necessarily be scared off.”