Business News

Limited licence upholds autonomy

A limited licence presented a pathway for accountants to maintain their independence in the way they operated their business, according to a newly formed team of professionals.

Seven Peaks Consulting managing director and financial services lawyer Andra Lazarescu has joined forces with compliance expert Jenny Basnec and business coach Gary Jenkins to provide Australian accountants with an independent, professional team to guide them through the upcoming law change.

The group, which will operate under the Seven Peaks business, said the changes presented great opportunities for accountants advising on SMSFs.

“A limited licence offered accountants independence in the way they continue to operate their business,” Lazarescu said.

“They will not be interposing a faceless institution between themselves and their client, for example, a bank or a bank-owned dealer group.

“They retain full control on how they operate their business, the type of clients they choose and how they use their referral arrangements and networks.

“They will be able to sell and expand or contract their business as they choose, and also appoint other accountants to work under their licence.”

She said by comparison an authorisation under someone else’s licence did not usually offer the same level of autonomy.

The group said accountants did not need to rush into authorisation arrangements with other licensees.

Lazarescu added there had been suggestions accountants could not deal with the new compliance regime and could not integrate new processes into their operations by 1 July next year, but the reality was accountants already lived in a world of compliance.

“We expect that with the right tools and guidance most accounting practices will be able to manage these requirements on their own with limited external compliance assistance along the way,” she said.

However, the team said it was a good time for accountants to get their house in order.

“Our view is that if you are considering your own licence, act now,” Lazarescu said.

“Get some independent advice, check out if you have the right industry training and start the process.

“Time isn’t waiting and neither will ASIC or your competitors for that matter.”

While dealer groups and some accounting bodies were looking to provide alternative authorisations for accountants under umbrella licences, the team said it also believed the limited licence presented a viable business opportunity in terms of generating an additional advice revenue stream.

Basnec is a senior consultant at GRC Essentials with more than 30 years’ experience in financial services, while Jenkins is a business coach at Practice Management Direct with 35 years’ experience in the industry.

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