Business News

SMSF accountants must evolve

Accountants will need to adopt a new business model if they want to continue to be successful in the SMSF space in years to come, one specialist practitioner has said.

At the 2015 SMSF Association National Conference in Melbourne, Mayflower Consulting director Sarah Penn proposed a new three-pronged approach suitable for accountancy practices.

“It’s all about finding the right clients for your business, deciding what the right services are going to be and then having the right processes at the back to back it all up,” she told delegates yesterday.

Although these three areas would differ for each practice, they would work together for an overall business outcome, Penn said.

Aside from finding a client niche and working out who the right clients were for your business, accountants would also need to tailor their business offerings and processes to back this up, she said.

“You really need to make conscious decisions about what [business areas] you’re going to be in, what you’re going to be out [of], and also how you’re going to organise that,” she said.

“Are you going to completely in-source it, outsource it, not offer it – and there’s a range in between.

“And lastly, what are the processes that you’re going to have in your business that are going to tie it all together and make it something real and tangible that delivers value to your business and an excellent experience to your customers.”

There were four common assumptions that underpinned accountancy businesses: the belief that everyone needed an accountant, that all accountants offered excellent customer service, that they offered strategic advice, as well as the idea that if accountants charged reasonable fees, they would make a reasonable profit, Penn said.

“In my mind [these assumptions] are starting to get on quite shaky ground,” she said.

She added that customer service had become a lot more complicated as people were accessing accountancy advice online, and that changes from 1 July next year would mean that only those who were licensed could provide strategic advice.

Accountants needed to think about what would come next and what they were going to do, she said.

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