Business News

Accountants want limited licensing support

Recent Investment Trends research into the accounting profession revealed practitioners considering obtaining a limited Australian financial services licence (AFSL) still felt more support was needed in the decision-making process.

“More of them are saying I need to make a decision now, but I just need a bit of support in the decision-making process,” Investment Trends head of research Recep Peker told the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand National SMSF Conference 2015 on the Gold Coast last week.

“So 38 per cent are keen to get this limited licence and it’s now just about making the decision [on] who do I go with, who do I get my education through and how can I actually get this licence.”

Waiting for legislative clarity and having to attend to other priorities were also cited as reasons for not taking steps to procure a limited licence to date.

In contrast, the survey showed accountants interested in obtaining a full AFSL were struggling mainly with undertaking the required processes while still fulfilling their existing work commitments.

The “SMSF Accountant Survey” showed 39 per cent of respondents nominated a lack of time as the reason why they were yet to make their application for a full AFSL, while 37 per cent said obtaining the required education was the biggest obstacle in applying for a licence.

Results regarding the motivation behind accountants wanting to attain a limited AFSL proved surprising, Peker said.

“What’s really interesting though is that for those who want the limited licence, that’s just a temporary step,” he said.

“They recognise that getting a full licence takes a lot of time, so they’re saying ‘we’re going to apply for a limited licence for now’.

“If you asked them in the future: ‘Do you plan to operate under a full licence?’, a quarter of those saying I want to get a limited licence [now] say ‘yes, I’m likely or very likely to operate under a full licence’.

“So there’s definitely a big appetite among accountants, in terms of number of accountants, to be operating under a full licence in the future.”

The survey was conducted online in March and April and sought responses from 1647 practitioners.

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