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Midwinter launches limited advice tech

Financial planning software provider Midwinter today announced a partnership with Licensing for Accountants to provide tailored compliance and advice technology for its limited licence holders, with strong interest already emerging.

Independent firm Licensing for Accountants, established and led by Kath Bowler, supports accountants who are moving or want to move from compliance to advice.

A key component of that support is the provision of access to advice templates and software that make the advice process easy and efficient.

Midwinter has worked with Licensing for Accountants to create additional functionality and resources within its AdviceOS system to cater for both unlicensed and licensed accountants in a limited licence capacity.

The customised AdviceOS offers will be added to the suite of licensing solutions already available through Licensing for Accountants.

The new functionality contains a range of unique features to ensure the limited advice provided by accountants meets the requirements of the licensing regime, such as a licensing assessment module and an accountants template module, which contains standard advice documents but also a library of unlicensed templates in order for accountants to document both licensed and unlicensed advice.

Furthermore, statements of advice (SOA) have been incorporated into the AdviceOS software, catering for simple advice to be produced in under an hour, with the resulting SOA typically containing no more than 10 pages.

The software currently includes 10 SOA template options, with more being added as required.

Midwinter executive director James Murphy said the additional modules within AdviceOS had been welcomed not only by the accountants themselves, but also by many of their financial planning referral partners.

“For quite some time now, our financial adviser clients who work closely with accountants have expressed a desire for Midwinter to create a package that would allow both parties to work off the same system,” Murphy said.

“Now, through Licensing for Accountants, we have been able to offer this.”

Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler revealed there was already significant interest in the solution, with over 50 accountants attending a pilot webinar earlier today.

“The interest in the templates had been overwhelming, so much so that we have allowed for a pilot run while the solution is still in testing,” Bowler said.

“The other area of interest for the unlicensed templates has been from full Australian financial services licence holders who have accountant referral partners.

“They have been looking to provide this to their referral partners as a value-add as it makes those partners aware, from an independent source, when a piece of advice needs to be referred to them.”

Accountants are being invited to register their interest in participating in the pilot run between 1 and 30 May, with ‘go-live’ for the solution scheduled to start in mid-June.

Bowler said one of the biggest challenges facing all accountants, regardless of whether they entered the world of advice or not, was properly documenting their advice.

“For licensed accountants, this means finding a simple and easy way to prepare SOAs, records of advice, fact finds, et cetera,” she said.

“Both licensed and unlicensed accountants need templates to document the conversations they are having with clients in an unlicensed capacity to confirm that the advice or information doesn’t require licensing.

“This is because both unlicensed and licensed accountants will not always be acting in a licensed capacity when they talk to their clients. For every client conversation, accountants need to be able to distinguish which hat they are wearing.”

She revealed her search for solutions to those issues involved a thorough examination of technology providers in the advice space, which culminated in the partnership with Midwinter.

“We’re not trying to turn accountants into planners. We wanted to create a solution that was flexible, adaptable and would make licensing work for them,” she said.

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