Business News

Accountants recognise advice rigour

Accountants looking to apply for a limited Australian financial services licence are thinking twice about choosing a low-cost licensing option as they have acknowledged the need for additional support and guidance in relation to the transition into advice.

Fortnum Professional Strategies director Scott Charlton said two categories of accountants were emerging.

“There are those accountants who are programmed and might instinctively [focus] on price as they don’t want to change anything they’re doing, they see it as an inconvenience and want to continue doing what they’ve always done,” Charlton told selfmanagedsuper.

“But those accountants who really want to embrace this are looking for something more other than price because they now appreciate that there is more rigour associated in giving advice under a licence.

“[As a result] they are starting to raise questions around making sure that support will be given to them, that they will be guided through what they have to do, that they are provided with templates that they can follow, as well as help in certain client situations – they know they won’t get that through the lowest-cost provider.”

Fortnum Financial Group launched its licensing option for accountants in November last year under separate subsidiary Fortnum Professional Strategies.

“Now that we’ve clocked over to 2015, a lot more periscopes are going up, but the nature of the investigation and the questioning is still at very early days,” Charlton said.

“We don’t currently have any licensed accountants. We have quite a few accountants that are participating with Fortnum Academy and our business coaching and we expect quite a number of people to come on board.

“From a Fortnum perspective, we’re looking at two intakes – those who are ahead of the game looking to be licensed with us by 31 March and the latecomers.

“We would prefer to stick with quality not quantity and the majority of accountants that we think that we’ll put on in our first intake are making their way through the RG 146, which is another reason why people actually haven’t got going because getting the study done actually takes some time.”

He said the vast majority of accountants, particularly those involved quite significantly in the SMSF space, believed being licensed was compelling.

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