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Licensing not accountants’ biggest challenge

Complying with the licensing regime now applying to accountants wanting to service SMSF clients with financial advisory services has not been the largest hurdle for these practitioners to successfully transition their businesses, a specialist licensing consultant has said.

Speaking at the 2018 Accounting Business Expo in Sydney today, Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler said: “I’ve watched hundreds and hundreds of accountants go on this licensing journey and a lot of them have decided to stop or pull out or change direction and I actually think it’s not licensing that’s causing lot of the problems, it’s client engagement.

“[It’s about] changing the way you have your conversations with clients.”
MJR Super Advice and MJR Accountants managing director Michael Roohan concurred client engagement was difficult, but said it was actually easier with SMSF trustees.

“The SMSF advisory has been a little bit easier. Because of all the changes that we’ve seen, there have been opportunities to have conversations,” Roohan revealed.

“It’s really about identifying the needs of client, what do they really need and if you’re having those regular conversations, you are going to extract that out.”

Bowler observed many practitioners like Roohan are employing the services of a business coach to help them address this situation.

With regard to the role of the business coach, Roohan said it was twofold. Firstly it was about making sure the business was in a position to provide advisory services to existing clients.

“It’s about building the confidence to have those conversations from time to time as well,” he said.

Despite the associated challenges, he admitted committing to the licensing regime was crucial for his firm.

“If we didn’t have the licence, we could have even lost the client because we couldn’t provide [the advisory] service,” he said.

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