Accountants need to consider advice options around SMSFs

Accountants providing advice on the establishment of self-managed superannuation funds (SMSF) should not automatically consider becoming licensed as the solution to the end of the exemption in 2016. 

Securitor Offer Development Strategic Growth manager Stevie-Ann Dovico stated that the end of the exemption was not necessarily a reason for accountants to become licensed to give financial planning advice and they need to examine what is sustainable and achievable for their practice. 

Dovico said in moving to become licensed to provide financial planning advice accountants opened themselves up to “a ton of obligations and risk factors” and would regard their efforts to gain a planning as an opportunity cost they may not recover. 

However Dovico said accountants may be overlooking the continuity issues available for their business if they do not act and should not see responding to the end of the exemption as a compliance issue but as maintaining their business future. 

“They need to ask if they are leaving dollars on the table by choosing not to provide advice on SMSFs to clients,” Dovico said. 

“Accountants are in a good position to provide advice that is not related to products and if clients trust them for that advice, then provide it. At the same time they should also understand the financial planning advice process and what may be needed there.” 

Dovico said accountants who intend to become licensed to provide financial planning advice would need to reconcile their fee models with that of the planning sector and consider who will pay for the extra time. 

“The cost of service will be an issue as accountants and planners charge in different ways. Accountants who shift into advice will need to reconcile this with clients who will not see or understand the difference in service even though the accountant has spent more time engaged in the planning process,” Dovico said. 

“If fee for service advice will not be an efficient thing for an accountant to do they should consider recruiting a planner who can do it for them.”

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