Accountants want to be re-enabled to give advice

11 February 2019

Accountancy is already a profession and the final report of the Hayne Royal Commission should encourage the public to be seeking genuine advice and support from their trusted adviser – the accountant, according to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA).

What is more, the IPA wants the law changed to enable accountants d to have “deeper holistic conversations” with clients.

In a statement released today, IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway said the Royal Commission had reinforced the importance of trust and seeking appropriate advice from professionals, but that profession evolve over time.

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“Whilst every profession faces challenges, the emergence of professionals is an important factor. Accountants and accounting as a profession has evolved literally over centuries,” he said. “Put simply, Public Accountants are not in the business for charging exorbitant fees for advice but rather offer genuine support to their clients.  They want to be able to have broader advice discussion which the current financial services regime prevents them from having.”

“It is saddening, that so many people; mums and dads, families and small businesses have been subject to unscrupulous behaviour, aggressive selling, dishonesty and greed. 

“They are the aggrieved purely because of self-interest driven objectives of particular market participants in the financial services industry, protecting their patch and personal gain.

“Members of the three professional accounting bodies are answerable to the highest level of professional and ethical standards, subject to ongoing quality assurance evaluations, and must maintain currency of knowledge through committed and continuous professional development and training.

“We believe the time has come for a more open conversation about returning to a time where broader and deeper holistic conversations between accountants and clients are allowed through the financial service legislation.

“In some of these cases, such conversations could have identified and potentially resolved a number of the issues or at least alleviated some of the negative impact that victims of financial services misconduct have had to endure,” said Mr Conway.



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Yep, when the enemy is weakened the wolves step in. Fair enough strategy.

The solution here is straightforward and obvious. Firstly, no carve-outs. Then Accountants only need to submit to the FASEA requirements as financial advisers and coming under the same regulatory oversight for advice quality and client centricity.

Laughing out loud now with this reported article - Accountants - we saw how well that went with the cashed up and ridiculously ineffective CPA efforts - does the name Alex Malley ring a bell. Conman and a poor salesman.

Like there's never been dishonest accountants?

The amount of damage caused by accountants over the years, who flogged SMSF's to people who didn't need them, will never be fully understood. Especially those who foolishly advised clients to leverage up and buy property at the top of the market. Accountants should feel lucky they have escaped the scrutiny and keep their heads down.

Self-serving tripe, such as that dished out by IPA in this article should be exposed for the nonsense it is. If accountants want to delve into high-risk areas such as life insurance, superannuation and investments, the solution is pretty simple - do the study, get properly licensed and make sure your clients can be compensated if you stuff up.

Thank you IPA. This is what I posted on Linked in yesterday. "Part of the problem for accountants is that much of the advisory work eg super and financial planning is now the province of others. So in the mind of the public we are not advisers. FASEA is making that divide even greater. Accountants need to be more proactive in their lobbying so that all accountants don’t drop out of financial planning which will further exacerbate the problem at least for the small end of town accountants." Great to see we are on the same page.

Ummm, unless you are correctly licensed to give financial planning advice you have already dropped out of this area of advice. If you really want to play in this space how about doing the study and get licensed instead of expecting lobbyists to give you a carve out.

Yes, accountants already have the trust of consumers.

That's why accountants have been able to get away with illegal and inappropriate advice to establish SMSFs that pay accountants extra fund admin fees. That's why they've been able to get away with illegal and inappropriate advice to purchase negatively geared investment properties, that deliver accountants more tax return fees.

The public's misplaced trust in accountants has put many people in a far worse position. It's about time the existing laws were enforced against accountants. Giving accountants an official exemption from the law is the last thing Australian consumers need.

I note that accounting degrees would not satisfy FASEA. So really they are not educated enough to play in the new world of advice. Accountants would also need a lot of ethical training. If you want to charge clients for advice, do what we do, follow the rules. Just as you are an accountant you aren't special! The IPA is now off my Christmas list. Bunch of Hyenas. Funny thing is I lose count of the people that come into the office saying I was told to open up a SMSF for tax reasons. I ask what tax reason? They dont know, only that the accountant said it was a good idea. I have closed more SMSF than I have opened, 9 times out of 10 they never needed it in the first place. Its good money fixing the accountants mistakes,but its a bit sad for the clients.

How could we question the 2 week open book online multiple choice kaplan course for financial planning. A real academic stretch. I forgot that the education has to be simple as most so called financial planners do not have the intelligence to write an ASIC compliant statement of advice or act in their clients best interest. Some facts. Accountancy a profession. Financial Planning is not. Majority of Accountants do the right thing and are honest while majority of financial planners are not. See attached article.
The public trust accountants and not financial planners and you can not handle that. Yes Hang On we are more special then you. Ask Joe public. It is interesting the things you accuse accountants of doing is what financial planners have been tried and convicted off just see royal commission, various scandals amongst others. Accountants nothing.

Mr Accountant. I have a double major in economics and finance, I was going to get my accountancy degree too as it was only one more subject to do, but I found it really dry and boring. Accountants as you would well know only look backwards, they cant look forwards like us planners do. I wanted to give people good advice, not "hey open a SMSF as I can audit it and get some ongoing revenue as its the only was I can survive seeing as my tax basically took all my tax returns off me".. Im sorry cant talk anymore i'm too busy fixing your mistakes. I just asked Joe Public what he thought, and he agrees with me sorry to burst your bubble.

Hang On online qualifications are not the same as a real ones. In relation to Joe Public you are trying to mislead like all financial planners and spread fake news. It is fact accountants are more trusted financial planners (one of lowest trusted occupations in Australia) The truth is Joe Public has no faith in financial planners hence why they are leaving financial planners in droves. Keep up the lies.

Hay Customer, how is Nobal Oak recommendation going? Have you advised even one of your clients to use them? Fancy an audit?

Customer have published several defamatory comments against financial planners and also specifically against me in the Money Management comments section. It is highly probable that you are in breach of Section 3 of the NSW Defamation Act 2005 No 77. While you have a right to freedom of speech you do not have a right to make defamatory comments. I have copied all of your comments as evidence. As I previously stated you should apologise for your defamatory comments. The directors of Money Management should refuse to publish your defamatory comments.

Comrade Tony your comments really demonstrate you sheer inability to apply logic. 1 Comrade Tony is an alias so how have you been defamed?. 2 There is freedom of speech in this country. Are you in a communist state? i gathered this might be the case as you call yourself comrade tony. Are you a russian troll? Who knows but you are entitled to freedom of speech.
If your previous comment is a reflection of your research and rationale skills your clients are getting a third rate financial planning service at best If I were one of your clients I would want to have my advice reviewed to ensure it is appropriate due to your flawed rationale.

There is freedom of speech in this country, but defamation is illegal. You cross that line in every comment that you make. You are fully entitled to state your opinion and if you don't like financial planners that is fine with me, free speech and debate are necessary in a free economy. However, the language you use is abhorrent and defamatory. You are breaching the law. Although breaching the law wouldn’t worry you, unionists never care about breaking the law, do they? Anyway, I have to get back to work. Just to let you know I have to work for two hours today so that I can make my $10,000 for the day and then sit around drinking Johnnie Walker blue label scotch, smoking a Cuban cigar and dining on lobster for dinner. All paid for from collecting union fees for doing nothing, extorting money from building contractors at union-controlled worksites and working as a trustee board member for an industry super fund. Hang on, I forgot I have to work for three hours today. I also work as an accountant for a fund manager that invests into unlisted assets for industry super funds. I need to tweak the magic box calculation we use to value the unlisted assets.

So I googled dishonest accountant jailed. I found many links I could add to prove you holier than thou assumption wrong about accountants. The royal commission was about financial advice and lending, not accountants, so not much of a stretch to say nothing was raised. But maybe if ASIC started to enforce the laws around the provision of unlicensed financial advice, something that everyone knows accountants continue to do, there would be many accountants in hot water.

I find it interesting that you raise compliant SOAs. Pretty amusing since accountants don't provide written advice. It hard to judge the advice given when accountants hide behind this convenient fact. Also don't get us started on best interest duty. As stated in other comments here every financial planner has come across a huge number of SMSF's that have been inappropriately set up by an accountant to generate more accounting fees.

Those in glass houses.

wow, we have a aggressive abusive accountant here claiming to be holy. Ive seen the worst financial advice from accountants. i page recommendations with no disclosures for trading some shares, just a half page pictire too! . total of $7,700 in charges when they already had the funds managed at the firn direct in shares. Must be about 10 mins work. One page advice! person came into to show m but to scared to go elsewhere as accountant had him tied up with entities he didnt understand. Intimidation was evident. Oh, he is also a CEO of a public listed company now........mmmm
2nd issue is tax evasions and forged signatures. See those clients coming in with tears on the 6 figure sums they lost.
3rd. My sister shows me her accountants 2 page recommendation to change everything. You see, everything i did was wrong. She wanted to save money. So he suggested cancelling her level premium insurance to take our stepped. cancel old WOL and replace with stepped term. Start a new super fund to invest the savings .......mmmm, wasnt the issue that she said she wanted to pay less? Why didnt accountant consider her generous super of the old style government one, afterall she is the sheriff of 35 years? Accountant should be in gaol and unfortunately is still practicing. OH? he has his own license and pays his own auditors and is not big enough for ASIC to care about. Oh, now he has employed planners taught by him. Our accountant spruiking in this thread should know that he sits in bad company and is delusional working with untrained or qualified advisers from accountancy practices.

As you mention about SMSF started by accountants. lets look at one with a total balance of $4,000 in super and no real income for this business man and no intent to contribute. Had to save him from the accountant who wanted the funds in a new smsf with no investment strategy. Imagine starting a SMSF with $4,000 and no contributions!! Accountants need investigating for poor advice and fee chasing. Ive had about 4 sent to me from a accountant who realised they had made errors and told their clients to roll back to me. Lucky he was an accountant who faced his errors and referred them on for proper advice. Most may have been happy to such the fund dry. that firm employees around 60 people and is no small practice. I was asked to explain what a MDC was in a presentation for them on a client top 50 rich list (Australia) client of theirs that they managed the clients SMSF. Rather than fall over, i stood steadily and tried not to laugh.

Because Accountants have never put their own financial gain ahead of clients, or recommended inappropriate and under-researched investments - Almonds, Olives, Timber/Forestry, Ostriches, Emus, Music, etc...this is what makes them a profession compared to Advisers?

So, lets get this straight, they want to be able to have broader and deeper holistic conversations with their clients, which is another way of saying we want to give general or personal advice to our clients for an hourly fee and not have to jump through the same hoops as everyone else because we have a deep and meaningful relationship with our clients that others don't and we can ultimately be trusted on just about everything.
Wow !

If we take the emotion out of Andrew Conway's comments - then I agree when he states that accountants are a more trusted profession compared to advisers (2017 Roy Morgan Image of Professions survey). Over time the latter may evolve into a position of trust comparable to the former.
What I don't agree with is the proposition that accountants require a 'carve out' from the legislative requirements under which advisers must operate.
So if accountants wish to have 'deeper holistic discussions' with clients then they must comply with the same financial services regime as financial advisers.
I note that there are currently ZERO accounting (only) degrees that are listed on the FASEA relevant provider degrees and qualifications legislative instrument.
This means that the vast majority of accountants will NOT be sufficiently qualified under FASEA requirements.
So - any accountants who wish to provide holistic advice to their clients - my suggestions would be:
* complete the courses required to meet FASEA requirements
* be subject to the same rules and regulations as advisers ie; BID, FSG, SOA, FDS,
Opt-in etc.
* comply with the new CPD requirements

If you are able to achieve the above then I guarantee that you will be welcome with open arms by real financial advisers who value a more collaborative approach to assisting clients achieve their desired financial outcomes.

When will the Accounting profession finally realise that it is a business like any other. No, they don’t hold a special place in society nor should they receive special treatment. A level playing field for all (FASEA), full stop.

Financial Planners are lying, dishonest thieves devoid of any ethics and are not regarded as a profession. The majority of financial planners are tainted. See attached article.
Let the real professionals Accountants provide non conflicted and advice in clients best interest and make financial planning a profession. The status quo with financial planners is like leaving a wolf in charge of the hen house. Accountants lobby the Australian public and your local members of parliament and make a change for the better. We have the moral high ground lets use it. An election is not far away. Make a difference for future generations. Save Australia from the financial planning thieves also known as financial planners

It's interesting how trolls pop up in just about every forum.

Yep, and this ones very determined under many alias'.
They were GenY and several others last week.
Don't reply under any circumstances , as the response will be unhinged, abusive and fanatical.

Using a ABC article to prove points, ha ha ha , you are worse than I thought. Havent you got any clients to look after? Sorry stupid question , you havent got anything on until late June, then again I make sure all my clients use My Tax so maybe you wont have anything at all on! Customer indeed, more like a silly little troll looking for bites, as you cant get any new business, you think oh well Ill jump on line and troll a few planners. Does it feel good trolling people? Its a quick way to bad health I hear due to all the stress of making sure you reply back to all the comments. I almost feel sorry for you.

I agree that the advice process needs to be simplified. Financial Planners have to jump through numerous hoops to give advice. We all want the process to be easier.
The fact that accountants haven’t had to put their advice in writing before and that there is not an easy process to complain about bad advice from accountants is the only reason we haven’t seen more headlines like:
- Jail time for tax agent in 4m tax evasion scheme
- Former accountant financial adviser sentenced to jail
- Sydney tax agent convicted of fraud money laundering
- False BAS claims leads to 30 month jail sentence
- Allegations of stolen tax refunds prompt tax agents rego termination
- Former CPA avoids jail time for 43k fraud
- Accountant to face trial over false misleading invoices
Changes need to be made to make it easier to give professional financial planning advice but it needs to be easier for everyone qualified not just a group limited to knowledge on tax.

Mr Conway, your own self interested comments are laughable at best particularly the comment " It is saddening, that so many people; mums and dads, families and small businesses have been subject to unscrupulous behaviour, aggressive selling, dishonesty and greed".

When writing this you clearly must of forgotten the recent TPB statement released 17 Jan 2019:
A joint investigation launched by the Tax Practitioners Board (TPB) and the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has resulted in the termination of two registered tax agents, QTR Accountants Pty Ltd and Nicoh Group Pty Ltd.

After receiving 19 consumer complaints that the registered tax agents, who offered their services online, had not passed on 2017-18 tax refunds to their clients, the TPB initiated an urgent investigation into the conduct of the tax practitioners.

During the investigation the TPB received more than 200 additional consumer complaints from a range of sources, supporting the decision to terminate the agents' registration.

Now that's not unscrupulous behavior, dishonesty or greed is it Mr Conway? That's right it evolved literally over centuries difference being this guys were more blatant.

If the government had added accountants to the Royal Commission’s terms or reference and called for public submissions and case studies, it would have added another year to the inquiry. A massive bullet dodged.

Accountants are providing financial advice to their clients regardless of the law. I can note numerous instances in the last 12-18 months as such:
1) Accountant opens an SMSF and assists clients to consolidate their existing industry super funds into the funds to allow them to purchase commercial property.

2) Accountant advised client to invest $1 Million into a single Bank convertible note to get higher return whilst the accountant finds a suitable commercial property for the client to invest into. No explanation of the associated risks within this.

3) Accountant advised a client to borrow and invest into direct property up to value of $1.2 Million. No analysis on cash flow or understanding of the clients needs. I have assessed client and their risk tolerances and cash flows certainly do not allow for this.

4) Accountant advised clients albeit incorrectly about LRBA within SMSF, and when I advised the accountant they were wrong they then advised the client to simply complete a Non-Concessional Contribution to super in order to settle loan on a property purchase.

These instances all involved personal advice, and I could continue with more. I know this is not representative of all accountants, however there is a large amount of them providing this advice to clients.

It is important for all accountants and planners to remember, it is the perceived advice that makes it advice. Telling someone to do something and then adding "but I'm not giving you personal advice" still constitutes advice.

It is simple, if you want to give advice, get the qualifications and give decent advice.

That is all.

The lowest education pathway to become a 'Qualified Accountant' under the Corporations Act is a Diploma. The lowest education pathway to become a 'Tax Agent' under the TASA Act is a Diploma. The lowest education pathway to become a 'Financial Adviser' under the Corporations Act is a DEGREE. Times have changed and Accounting has fallen behind.

In fact, I joined the Institute of Public Accountants and became a FULL MEMBER without ANY accounting qualification! And now I can call myself a 'Qualified Accountant'. haha

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