Accountants typically derive 22 per cent of their business income from SMSF clients, head of research at Investment Trends Recep III Peker told delegates at the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand National SMSF Conference on the Gold Coast this week.
This number has stayed steady over the past few years, Mr Peker said, despite accountants persistently saying they would like to increase it to approximately 30 per cent.
“There’s definitely keen interest in expanding SMSFs within a practice, but their goals have not materialised yet,” Mr Peker said.
“That means that accountants in general are very keen to grow their SMSF business but there are challenges that hold them back."
Also, while 321,000 SMSF trustees reported using an accountant directly in the past 12 months, up from 289,000 in 2013, in proportionate terms that amount is decreasing.
“You have to recognise the fact that the number of SMSFs out there is growing very rapidly,” Mr Peker said.
“In absolute terms numbers look healthy, but proportionally accountants are missing out in the SMSF space."
The research also found that 68 per cent of accountants cite client education, compliance obligations and keeping up to date with legislation as the biggest challenges in servicing the SMSF market.
Further, 40 per cent of SMSF trustees who stopped using an accountant in 2014 cited lack of access to a wider range of advice services and expertise.
Investment Trends also identified some opportunities for accountants in the SMSF space, with 147,000 SMSF trustees wanting to receive more help with their SMSF administration.