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Accountant licensing triggers succession plans

The changing legislation governing the provision of SMSF advice by the accounting profession is prompting many practitioners to assess their succession planning options, according to an industry expert.

“We’ve actually been approached by a number of accountants in a very similar way in which we were approached by financial planners when the FOFA (Future of Financial Advice) laws were coming in,” Succession Plus chief executive Craig West told selfmanagedsuper NowInfinity SMSF Strategies Day attendees in Adelaide last week.

“Basically they were baby boomers saying: ‘That’s enough. That’ll do me. I can’t do everything FOFA requires because my business is not built on that model.’

“So the accountants are now saying: ‘I’m not doing all of that licensing that’s now required and therefore it’s an opportunity for me to get out.’”

West said with the number of accountants wanting to exit the industry came a great opportunity for younger practitioners to boost their client numbers through acquisitions.

“I think it presents an opportunity if you look at it the other way around. If there are people who aren’t going to implement the changes and who aren’t going to go down that road and who aren’t prepared to do the work, there’s an opportunity for those that are,” he said.

“Obviously those clients will still need to be serviced, advice will still need to be provided, et cetera.”

He said that was one of the major impacts the new licensing regime for accountants would have on the SMSF sector, among others.

“There will be changes, there is no doubt about that. You can’t ignore massive legislative change like that, but I think you just have to look at the situation and make your own decision as to what to do about it in terms of taking advantage of it,” he said.

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