Practice Management

Digital SMSF key to accountant success

Accountants servicing SMSFs have been urged to look at funds in a digital light as digital has become crucial to modern administration.

This issue is the subject of a dedicated chapter in a new e-book launched by Class this week, Modern SMSF Administration: How to Embrace Digital Automation and New Service Models.

“To be able to compete in this landscape, accountants not only need to become more efficient, they also need to recognise their comparative advantage,” the e-book said.

“They should stop spending their valuable time on the tasks that can be automated or performed better by someone else and focus on the specific services they already provide that are most valuable to their clients.

“Technology, applied correctly, has proven to be a highly effective enabler of this transformation.

“And that capability is growing every year as the technology improves and as more financial service providers plug in and use it to share data, deliver services and collaborate more effectively.”

It said almost 30 per cent of SMSF accountants have already moved to the cloud and in 2017 another 11 per cent of accountants projected they were likely to change technology providers, with many on the lookout for a cloud-based solution.

The chapter explained many accountants will have had a glimpse of the potential of automation through their use of desktop software for SMSF administration, however, software sitting on a desktop, infrequently updated and tied to that particular machine, barely scratched the surface of the technology.

“Support for such software is also being switched off by developers as they focus on the cloud,” it said.

“It is not until the software becomes portable and part of a broader network, enabling the administrator to take advantage of a web of data sources and services, that the biggest efficiency gains are made.”

The e-book also highlighted daily information on an SMSF opened up a new relationship between the accountant and their client.

The accountant can be ahead of the curve when it comes to advising their client on strategy and ensuring they remain compliant.

“The accountant then becomes more valuable to their client because they can alert them to emerging issues and opportunities, instead of only being able to see the full picture when the annual return is compiled and always looking in the rear-view mirror,” the e-book said.

“This ability to track the moving parts of an SMSF is increasingly critical as the government puts more complex rules around how much Australians are allowed to contribute to their super and when.

“[However] the capability of cloud software to identify these issues and pre-empt the need for action is still in its infancy.”

The e-book can be downloaded here.

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