Accountant-planner relationship needs to evolve

The accountant-planner relationship is evolving to better serve self-managed super fund (SMSF) trustees and demonstrating SMSF expertise will be key, these were the highlights from Investment Trends’ 2019 SMSF Accountant Report.

Accountants would need to expand their value proposition as SMSF trustees who had traditionally relied on accountants for their expertise to set up their fund were now looking at SMSF admin firms as well.

Also, a growing number of the accountant practices were to employ in-house planners (48 per cent, up from 41 per cent in 2014) instead of referring their clients externally (25 per cent, down from 36 per cent).

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“Accountants with in-house expertise have had greater success in servicing SMSFs than those who refer clients externally. Currently, those with in-house planning expertise typically service more SMSF clients (71 versus 45) and derive a larger proportion of their income from SMSFs (22 per cent versus 19 per cent),” Investment Trends’ senior analyst, King Loong Choi, said.

Additionally, among SMSFs looking for a new adviser relationship, their top selection criterion was an advisers’ expertise in SMSFs (46 per cent), ahead of integrity (42 per cent), low fees (38 per cent) and value for money (35 per cent).

According to Choi, an SMSF accreditation from a professional association could help assure clients of their ability, while at the same time equip them with a tangible qualification and knowledge.

Class Super topped the satisfaction ratings as for software used to services SMSFs, with 95 per cent of accountants who used the software rated it as ‘good’ or ‘very good’ overall, and ahead of BGL Simple Fund 360 which ended in second spot (89 per cent).

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