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Fight to restore accountants' exemption heats up

Super

As fractures continue to appear in the limited licensing regime for accountants, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) is now surveying members to gauge their appetite for the accountants' exemption to be reinstated. 

By Miranda Brownlee2 minute read

IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said that since the accountants' exemption was removed on 1 July 2016, some Australians have simply opted out of advice altogether which may ultimately place their financial future at risk.

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"Simply, trusted accountants have been hamstrung, unable to respond to clients' questions, particularly around superannuation,” said Mr Conway.

"The public rely on their annual interaction with their accountant to finalise their tax affairs and seek guidance on issues which unfortunately is now considered financial advice as part of this process.”

Mr Conway said without this guidance from accountants, many won’t receive financial advice for important matters such as retirement planning.

"Seventy per cent of the population and ninety five per cent of all businesses have a trusted accountant behind them, and denying them access to any guidance is not in the public interest,” he said.

Mr Conway said that recently, IPA members have been asking the accounting body to take the issue of the removal of 'accountant's exemption' up with the government.

It also follows a similar announcement from BGL managing director Ron Lesh that he too is preparing to lobby government to reintroduce the accountants' exemption, with the current regime “unworkable” in his view.

Mr Conway said the principle at play here is ensuring Australians have access to affordable financial advice.

"The capacity of an accountant to provide advice on self-managed superannuation funds has long been held as not being a systemic risk to the integrity of the financial services system,” he said.

"We will engage with members over the next week to inform our advocacy and representation to the Minister to ensure our views are heard. I would encourage any member of the IPA or any other practitioner to make contact with me if they wish to make their views known.”

Fight to restore accountants' exemption heats up
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Miranda Brownlee

Miranda Brownlee

AUTHOR

Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.

Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.

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