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SMSF advice may become automated

The increased level of automation involved with the establishment and administration of SMSFs could lead to some advice being provided by computers in the short term, an industry specialist has suggested.

“We’ve seen the beginnings of the next step, which is advice. So can we take the data that is sitting on self-managed funds, apply some algorithms to that, and say actually here’s a better strategy for that fund in how it is set up and how it is structured?” Smithink 2020 founder David Smith told the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand National SMSF Conference 2014 in Sydney recently.

“Can we start to apply algorithms around that and provide advice saying here’s the strategy this fund should be thinking about?”

Smith said automation was already starting to play a significant role in the audit of SMSFs, with data feeds providing a large part of the information needed to conduct the process.

While it was only information gathering where technology was currently playing a part, he said it was not beyond the realms of possibility that computers would make judgment calls on SMSF audits in the future.

“Trying to automate the audit process is one of the big developments that we are already seeing a bit of movement on,” he said.

“And I am starting to look at some of the machine automation that people are doing overseas now and I do wonder in 10 or 15 years’ time there might be automated judgment and there might [be] a complete press-the-button-and-get-the-audit-back situation because the system is actually applying judgment as well.”

He suggested the overarching message from the recent advancements in technology all professionals with SMSF clients needed to consider was the definition of their roles and how they would continue to add value in light of the developments.

“You need to ponder what’s going to be your place in the world if the machines can start applying more judgment,” he said.

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