SuperGuardian keeps abreast of technology and products in the sector, and works in an environment of continuous improvement.
“We never stand still. We deliver an excellent service already, but continually seek ways to give clients extra value,” SuperGuardian chief executive Olivia Long says.
“Our philosophy has always been to provide excellent service to all clients. It’s a given we meet expectations, but it’s our goal to continually exceed them.”
According to Long, this year the industry faced one of the most significant changes to businesses it has seen: the removal of the accountants’ exemption, which was replaced with the new licensing regime.
“We wanted to retain complete control over the way we do things so we applied to ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) for our own Australian financial services licence,” she explains.
“Once we obtained the licence, our focus was to train our senior managers to the level of RG 146 and transition them to the new compliance regime. This proved a huge challenge for the team who have essentially spent their entire careers providing personal advice to clients without the support of major infrastructure.”
But rather than seeing the removal as a challenge, SuperGuardian approached it as an opportunity, particularly as financial advisers were finding it increasingly difficult to work with accountants who did not specialise in SMSFs and did not keep data up-to-date during the financial year.
“And the timing could not have been better with the legislation of the super reforms that became law late last year,” she reveals.
“We were thrilled to be able to meet with our clients one-on-one, discuss their situation and provide them with a personalised statement of advice on what action to take because of the reforms.
“Through the use of technology, we drafted a personalised super reforms report for each and every client that we sent out in January, way ahead of the competition.”
Long believes one of the business’s biggest achievements in the past 12 months has been its efforts to truly go above and beyond the traditional day-to-day accounting and compliance services, and give proactive advice.
“We survey our clients every two years and, in addition, I always seek adviser feedback every time I meet with them,” she says.
“I like to regularly catch up face-to-face with our referral sources. Also maintaining close relationships with advisers and understanding what they want is the key.”
Long commends the firm’s team for its success at this year’s SMSF awards.
“We pride ourselves on the quality and longevity of our client manager team. We have staff that have been with us for more than a decade, who have grown and developed over that time as a close-knit team,” she says.
“We all share a client service ethic second to none, and I attribute this award to the quality of the service they provide day in, day out.
“This award is important to us because it’s based on voting by clients, not just a judging panel, so the fact that advisers actually took the time to vote shows they value us enough to do something about it.
“The feedback we received both during the voting process and since our win has been incredible. We have very happy clients, which thrills me and delights my fellow directors.”