ASIC cancels accounting firm licenses

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has broken new ground, cancelling the Australian financial services licences of two NSW accounting firms for failing to obtain membership of the Australian Financial Complaints Authority (AFCA).

ASIC announced it had cancelled the licenses of Sydney Business Accounting and AG Calleia and Co.

All AFS licensees, Australian credit licensees, superannuation trustees and other financial firms that provide services to retail clients were required to become members of AFCA by 21 September, last year.

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Commenting on the cancellations, ASIC commissioner, Danielle Press said they were significant because it represented the first time the regulator had cancelled licenses for non-compliance with AFCA membership requirements.

ASIC said Sydney Business Accounting and AG Calleia and Co had also failed to lodge their annual financial statements with ASIC although Sydney Business Accounting had subsequently taken steps to comply with financial reporting obligations when ASIC raised concerns.

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Cool, they are probably better off without the licences anyway.

Accountants in Suburbia don't really care about the law. The only thing they care about is that there clients pay the ATO set benchmark amount of tax related to their occupation and that's all. If there clients pay the benchmark then the ATO leaves them alone. They never have any regulation or oversight. Bodies like CPA Australia might set foot into a firm once a decade. They can pretty much do and or say whatever they like. No one ever sues an accountant it's always a case of I paid too much tax.

So ASIC punishes one of the few accountancy firms that actually bothered to get a licence, for a relatively minor procedural matter. Yet ASIC does absolutely nothing about the thousands of unlicensed accountants giving conflicted and inappropriate advice. What a ridiculous misallocation of resources.

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