The workshops, which will be delivered by Licensing for Accountants and Holley Nethercote financial services lawyers and are sponsored by CPA Australia, aim to provide support and information to accountants operating under a limited licence.
Designed in response to challenges being faced by accountants, the workshops will include guidance on both advice and compliance requirements, according to Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler.
“They're used to giving advice but they're not used to the structure and the framework that they now have to follow,” Ms Bowler told Accountants Daily.
“So it’s this unusual situation where you've got experienced advisers with training wheels on, so [it’s about] giving their confidence back that their advice is right but this is how you have to document it and these are the checks and balances along the way.”
Ms Bowler said they launched the workshop series after successfully running similar sessions for their members.
“We'd been talking to the accounting bodies around the support that they wanted to provide their members in this space and so we thought we would open up the workshop to non subscribers because they need some practical help,” Ms Bowler said.
“We've had a lot of positive feedback about how workshopping together with people going on a similar journey has been enormously beneficial, so this will enable limited licence holders to work together on resolving their challenges and maybe realise that they're all in the same boat and sometimes it’s not as bad as they might think.”
CPA Australia’s director of public practice, Peter Docherty, said he was excited to be supporting the event and subsidising the cost for participants.
“CPA Australia is committed to supporting accountants who have embarked on the limited licensing journey and these workshops are a fantastic opportunity to deliver on that commitment,” Mr Docherty said.
Despite an increasing appetite amongst accounting firms to provide SMSF services, Australian accountants have been slow to adapt to the AFSL regime.
Only 1,181 applications for limited AFSLs were made during the three-year transition period of July 2013 to July 2016.
A further 66 per cent of applications were made in the last four months of the transition period, and 38 per cent of applications were lodged in June 2016.
“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 Grant Bloxham, chief executive at research house Bstar.