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Reforms fortify accountants’ role

Accountants have been told to step up to the challenge of servicing their SMSF clients as their role has only been reinforced by the new super reforms, along with the added requirements around the ATO’s transfer balance account report (TBAR) regime.

“I think the super reforms are a positive for the industry,” Class chief executive Kevin Bungard told the Accountants’ Technology Showcase Australia 2017 Conference in Sydney yesterday.

“But the scale of the reporting for SMSFs and the amount of work that needs to be done are things you need to be worrying and thinking about now.

“I know that’s really hard in the middle of doing all the other work that you’re already doing around the super reforms, and to then be thinking about what you have to do on 1 July when the TBAR kicks in.

“But if you don’t start considering it now and if you’re not talking to your clients now, this could bite you.”

Bungard explained the role of the accountant was becoming more and more critical due to the complexity and issues around managing wealth both inside and outside SMSFs.

“This plays to the strengths of accountants and the role that you play in the wealth and accounting market,” he said.

“The accountant’s role is really reinforced by the reforms, so it’s important that you’re talking to your clients and working with their advisers and understanding what’s going on in terms of real-time reporting, the new caps and limits, and also using technology to ensure you are on top of this.”

He underscored that the additional reporting would require accountants to adapt their usual processes.

“To do real-time reporting, you’re going to need to know what the client has done in the current financial year,” he noted.

“And I know for most of you that’s a challenge because you are looking at their [activities] afterwards, but you’ll now have to be across what’s going on during the year, and as we move towards a monthly TBAR, you’ll have to be on top of that [even more regularly].

“But take that as the opportunity to engage more with your clients – talk to them and find out what they’re doing.

“With the tighter caps that we have, you need to be doing that anyway.”

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