Accountants risk losing control of the SMSF space

An accounting body and a firm have called on accountants to embrace the SMSF licensing requirements and regulation changes in 2017, or risk being pushed out of the space.

Speaking to Accountants Daily, Hayes Knight director Greg Hayes said that accountants should claim the SMSF advice space or risk losing it to bigger players.

“I appreciate there are accountants who don’t work in that space and that’s fine, but I would hope for the majority of accountants who do work in that space that they will become more active,” he said.

Mr Hayes said there are a couple of reasons for that, including larger financial institutions looking to move into the SMSF space, such as the recent engagement between NAB and Heffron to provide administration services.

“Irrespective of how you gloss it, the reality is that this is a large financial institution that is moving into space that is typically the domain of the accountants, and that's OK, that's competition, but this is space that if the accountants don't do anything, they'll end up giving up the space,” he said.

“From a professional point of view we don't want accountants giving up the space, we think accountants should naturally be in that space, so we hope the majority of accountants will do that.”

Another reason to get licensed comes from the desire of accountants to grow their practices and deliver more services, Mr Hayes said.

“The reality is that the self-managed super fund space is probably the simplest, easiest entry point for an accountant to deliver to be delivering a broader range of services,” he said.

“For the accountant who has been a compliance accountant and looking and saying 'What's the next point of service that I should be offering to my clients?', SMSF services is such a natural piece.”

CPA Australia head of policy Paul Drum added that the changes to SMSF regulations are also a positive for accountants working in the space.

“It’s going to keep the accounting profession, those in the financial advice space, those in the superannuation space and business advisory, it’s going to keep them extremely busy this year interpreting, reviewing, analysing and advising clients on the basis of all those changes,” Mr Drum said.

“It’s an exciting year. A lot of accountants, a lot of the profession would actually be welcoming the changes because this is good, chargeable work for the accounting profession.”

 

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