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SMSF accountant satisfaction drivers revealed

A jigsaw puzzle piece.

A report has unveiled key drivers of accountant satisfaction amongst SMSF clients.

Drivers of trustee satisfaction with SMSF accountants vary according to life stage, the latest industry paper has found.

“We wanted to identify what drives satisfaction with accountants across the life stages so we did statistical analysis to work out what elements really matter to pre-retiree and retiree clients, or which are being given the highest satisfaction ratings,” Investment Trends head of wealth management research Recep Peker told the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand National SMSF Conference in Sydney today.

“What we found was that amongst pre-retirees, investment selection and the ability to explain investment concepts come through as something quite pertinent for them if they’re asked about accountant satisfaction.

“Also, optimising the investments within their SMSFs for their retirement such that they can draw the right level of income to hedge against longevity risk or market falls, and giving them stability – the accountants who are giving them this today tend to get the highest ratings so there’s a fairly big opportunity there in the market.”

Other aspects that drove satisfaction with pre-retirees included accountants’ knowledge of the superannuation system and technical expertise.

When it came to SMSF satisfaction with accountants for retirees, the picture was slightly different, Peker revealed.

“Because they’re no longer earning money, fees become more top of mind, but it’s not the level of fees which drives satisfaction, it’s the transparency,” he noted.

“We found that once they became your clients, fees were not a big driver of satisfaction at all but the value retirees get, so having clarity around how much they are paying you.

“Then there’s the quality of the support you provide.

“Also bringing things back to their goals, so showing you understand their needs then relating back to their needs and goals in your conversations with them, that’s what tends to drive satisfaction in this group.”

The “2017 Investment Trends Self-Managed Super Fund Report” also uncovered a gap in the pre-retirement market.

“In our research, we found that accounting clients who were least satisfied with the service of their accountant are those who are approaching retirement, while those in retirement tend to rate their accountant much better and also those in accumulation also tend to rate their accountant much better,” Peker said.

“So there’s already a gap in accountants’ propositions to the pre-retirement market and this gap is only going to get bigger.

“It’s something they expect you to help them with, but much fewer accountants out there are saying that they’re able to provide advice on [pre-retiree trustee needs].”

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