A key accounting body, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) wants consideration to be given to reinstituting the so-called “accountants exemption”.
The IPA announced today it was seeking member feedback on advocating for a return of the ‘accountants’ exemption’ to provide financial advice related to self-managed superannuation.
Commenting on the move, IPA chief executive, Andrew Conway said that since the accountant’s exemption was removed on 1 July 2016, the IPA believed some Australians hade simply opted out of advice altogether which might ultimately place their financial future at risk.
“Simply, trusted accountants have been hamstrung, unable to respond to clients’ questions, particularly around superannuation,” he said. “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.”
Conway said that without such guidance many will would receive no financial advice at all for important matters such as retirement planning, noting that before Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) became law less than 1 in 5 had any interaction with a financial planner.
“FoFA has failed to achieve its policy objective of making financial advice affordable and removing accountants from providing any assistance has made the situation worse,” he said. “As trusted advisers accountants can play an important role in helping clients manage their financial affairs and revisiting the accountant’s exemption is paramount to restoring access to basic financial advice.”