Business News

Accountants still in licensing limbo

Recent CoreData research on accountants servicing SMSF clients has shown a good proportion of them are still undecided about how they will respond to the new licensing laws.

When asked what they were planning to do about the situation, the CoreData study found 36.7 per cent of respondents admitted they were going to continue practising under the accountants’ exemption set to expire on 30 June 2016 and wait and see what would happen before they made a decision.

“The common information we’re getting back from accountants at the moment about the changes to the legislation is we’re going to wait and see. We’ll wait and see what happens and we’ll wait and see if the government changes its mind and we’ll wait and see if we actually have to adopt this,” CoreData principal Andrew Inwood told delegates at the selfmanagedsuper CoreData SMSF Accountants’ Day last week.

“The government is getting quite stressed about this, ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) is getting quite stressed about this and APRA (Australian Prudential Regulation Authority) are starting to go slightly crazy about this, and they’re all wondering what they have to do to change this situation.”

Inwood said although there had been a change in ministerial responsibilities, with Senator Mathias Cormann taking over from Senator Arthur Sinodinos in the financial services arena, accountants could expect no change in government policy regarding the licensing issue.

“Given that’s the case, a decision has to be made by accountants to play or not play pretty quickly,” he said.

“One thing we know about accountants is they’re incredibly good at dealing with changes in the legislation as they’ve based their careers on it.”

He also warned that while providing administrative services for SMSF clients had proven to be a good entry point to the sector for accountants, that business model would not be sustainable in the future.

“Unfortunately it’s an area which isn’t the richest stream in what’s going on,” he said.

“What’s going to happen in administration, as it happens in every part of this industry, is it will get shrunk down and shrunk down and reduced and reduced until it has the smallest yield in the entire area,” he said.

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