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SMSFs a value add for accountants

Providing advice and services for SMSF clients remains an outstanding opportunity for accountants as the accounting-only business model for these practitioners is rapidly becoming obsolete, according to the head of a specialist software organisation.

Speaking at the Institute of Public Accountants 2015 National Congress on the Gold Coast this month, Reckon managing director for Australia and New Zealand Sam Allert said: “There are 551,000 self-managed super funds in Australia today with $600 billion in funds under management, but here are the trends you need to look at.”

Referring to Investment Trends statistics, Allert said: “Thirty-six per cent of self-managed super fund trustees used an adviser in the last 12 months.

“And a large proportion, 39 per cent, said they’ve got unmet advice [needs].

“So there’s already a massive amount of self-managed super funds in the market and most of them are overwhelmingly saying ‘I’m either not getting advice’ or ‘the advice I’m getting is not good enough’.

“So self-managed super funds are definitely an option you can look at.”

He suggested accountants should be looking at SMSFs because the accounting-only model in the profession was already declining.

“Eighty-five per cent of practices today are providing non-accounting services,” he said.

“A hundred per cent of large firms, 100 per cent of firms that have restructured and 77 per cent of other firms are providing additional services outside of accounting only.”

Further, he pointed out 80 per cent of large firms revealed over 10 per cent of their total revenue was already being derived from non-accounting activities.

He added all accounting firms that had undergone a restructure were in the same situation, along with 60 per cent of other firms.

On a more positive note, he told practitioners compliance work was not a dead revenue stream for accountants – just one that was experiencing great change resulting in downward price pressure.

“Pressure on compliance revenue is not saying don’t do this work. You can’t as accountants and tax agents not do this work,” he said.

“What we’re all acknowledging is clients don’t want to pay for the way we used to comply 10 years ago.”

“The point is there is pressure on compliance, but it’s not that compliance is dead, I really disagree with that.

“Compliance is integral to legislation, the economy and it’s the backbone of this profession.

“It’s about speeding up that compliance and clients don’t want to pay for you to rekey data or just process the complying information.”

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