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Law firm launches compliance portal for accountants

Commercial law firm Cowell Clarke is offering accountants full compliance support in the lead-up to the introduction of the new licensing regime via a new secure web portal that will act as a management tool for licensee compliance requirements, needs and queries.

The firm said the primary difference between Cowell Clarke Connect and other compliance services was the expert legal advice coupled with compatibility.

Cowell Clarke partner Catherine Evans said the online compliance portal, launched last week, was backed by experienced lawyers who could provide support and advice on compliance queries when needed.

It also automatically notifies accountants of key Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) lodgement dates and compliance action items.

“We’ve identified a key opportunity in this space in delivering services that make our clients’ business better, reduce their risk and make dealing with their regulatory obligations easier,” Evans said.

“We want accountants to thrive rather than get bogged down in compliance.”

The web portal will help licensed accountants remain up to date with newsfeeds and relevant legal changes along with catering to their needs with the inclusion of compliance policies, procedures and user end documents.

Evans said many accountants were apprehensive about obtaining a limited Australian financial services licence (AFSL) due to the possibility of sidetracking their core business activities.

She said the legal compliance portal was an effective way for accountants with a financial services licence or credit licence to streamline their ongoing compliance obligations, enabling them to focus on running their business.

“From our dealings with clients, we know they want an expert provider that gives commercial and meaningful advice they can rely on, helps guide them through the compliance maze and tells them exactly what they need to do,” she said.

Under the new legislative framework, accountants wanting to be able to provide SMSF advice legitimately will need to be licensed with ASIC before 1 July.

ASIC has declared 31 March as the cut-off date for accountants to lodge their AFSL application.

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