Regulators ramp up real-time accountant monitoring

There is evidence in the market that the ATO and ASIC are now taking a real-time approach to shadow shopping, which significantly enhances their surveillance capabilities and reaction times where there are incidences of accountants providing unlicensed advice.

BDO’s national leader for superannuation, Shirley Schaefer, has seen evidence of the ATO and ASIC sharing data as transactions occur, significantly upping the ability for detecting and capturing non-compliance.

Specifically, and as previously reported, the regulators are monitoring accountants providing what is now considered unlicensed advice.

An example witnessed by BDO includes where an accounting firm assisted a client set up a SMSF, then 24 hours after registering the fund with the ATO, the accountants received a phone call from ASIC requesting copies of the fact find and statement of advice, which is required if advising a client to establish a SMSF.

While this example is an ‘execution only’ piece of work for the client, it is a clear example of the real-time approach the regulators are taking.

BDO reminded accounting firms they should ensure that if they do ‘execution only’ set ups of SMSFs, they must have it clearly documented, with the client outlining the scope of work undertaken.

“Accountants need to be really careful when talking to clients about super and SMSFs. For example, telling clients what the contribution limits are is okay, but unless the accountant is licensed you cannot tell clients that they ‘should’ make a contribution,” Ms Schaeffer added.

 

 

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