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Warnings for accountants on hunt for SMSF clients

While many accounting firms are aggressively building their SMSF client bases, one industry consultant has warned that not all SMSF clients are worth taking on.

SMSF Lara Bullock 25 July 2017
— 1 minute read

Speaking to Accountants Daily, Added Value Corporation owner Thea Foster said that accountants should be selective when accepting SMSF clients to work with.


“You don’t want every SMSF client that's out there, you want good clients. Yes you want more work, but you want more work coming from good clients and you want it for a fair fee,” she said.

“It's about being very careful in saying no when you need to say no. Assessing whether or not somebody is going to be horse trader, and if they are saying ‘nope don't want to do your SMSF work, you'll cause us more trouble than you're worth’,” she said.

Ms Foster said that it’s important that firms have a process in place and ensure that they follow it.

“The process for winning more SMSF work starts with saying ‘what's our ideal SMSF client?’, and then you go looking for them,” she said.

“You have a clear idea of the kind of work you want, and you don't take on the work you don't want. Or if you find you've got one of those, you get rid of them.”

Ms Foster emphasised that accountants should be charging fair fees for their SMSF work and that if clients don’t want to pay then they’re not worth keeping.

“Know what people want. Know what people are prepared to pay for, if they're not prepared to pay for it, get rid of them, or have an A-level service and a B-level service, which some firms do.”

Ms Foster also doesn’t agree with price capping, labelling it “ridiculous”.

“I think it’s fair price for work, and one of the difficulties is if people are making a lot of money out of financial planning then they'll say ‘well maybe we'll do your SMSF for free’, but I like things nicely separated out so I very much go for a fair fee,” she said.

Bstar’s 2017/18 Accountants Research Report, conducted in partnership with BT Financial Group, revealed that nine in 10 accountants have growth as an immediate or short-term focus, and SMSF services are in their sights to attract new clients.

“Practices that are licensed to provide these services are fully aware of the low number of licensed practices and are leveraging this opportunity by establishing a standalone SMSF division within their practice to create a point of difference and grow their financial services fee revenue,” said Bstar chief executive Grant Bloxham. 

Warnings for accountants on hunt for SMSF clients
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