Licensed accountants must take up the challenge of providing more proactive, prospective advice to their SMSF clients as issues such as taking a greater amount of their minimum pension income requires this shift under the new super reforms.
“You have to be prospective, which means you have to give advice to clients, and that’s such an opportunity where accountants can take a much more proactive role,” Licensing for Accountants founder Kath Bowler said during a recent webinar presented by The SMSF Academy and Licensing for Accountants.
“The fact that you have to do your pension documentation prospectively really highlights the fact that you can’t give advice retrospectively – so you can’t complete the documents and then go and see someone after the fact.
“The advice around that documentation must be done beforehand.
“It’s so common for a client to say they want something and then by the time they’ve finished talking to you for an hour or so, they’ve changed their mind or something else has come into the picture. It happens all the time.”
The SMSF Academy managing director Aaron Dunn echoed Bowler’s comments.
“We must be doing this prospectively and that [applies] broadly whether we’re talking superannuation or financial planning, it goes into advisory services,” Dunn said.
“If we think about the impact of technology and the tools that a public practitioner has, it just provides a huge shift in the way practices can evolve today and whether we’re looking specifically at SMSFs and advice around SMSFs, or more broadly within your practice.
“The opportunities to be on the front foot and take advantage of a prospective relationship with your clients will only enhance what you can do with your clients and ultimately the value that your business can extract in the long term.”
Dunn’s comments come following his warning that there was no scope for accountants to be going back to a client’s situation, whereby action had already been taken.
“That’s the big shift that needs to occur – the conversations need to be happening not only more regularly, but there needs to be systems in place to be able to identify where our clients may be taking out more or intending to be taking out more [of their minimum pension income] for that particular year,” he noted.
“It’s not unusual that the needs of an individual could change.”