Accounting, Financial Planning, Practice Management

Accountants still regard advice as sales

Accountants looking to broaden their services into advice, particularly for SMSF clients, are still put off by the selling aspect of a financial adviser’s role, an industry licensing expert has revealed.

“Advisory requires a more proactive role [from accountants] and to date I think accountants haven’t embraced that across the board of superannuation and business advisory,” Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler told selfmanagedsuper.

“With the coaching that we’ve done with a lot of practices, they really do struggle with going from compliance to advice.

“There’s a perception that if you’re giving advice, because it’s more proactive, it’s seen as a sales role and there’s also the misconception that sales is bad when in fact it’s not because if there’s a need from clients, they shouldn’t feel uncomfortable offering advice just like if there’s a need for compliance.”

Bowler also revealed accounting firms that have implemented advice successfully are now offering a more complete service and seeing the value for both business and clients.

“It would be great if at some point structural advice was recognised and SMSFs are recognised as a structure, not a product,” she said.

“Having said that, there’s still an enormous opportunity missed for accountants in not moving more into the advisory space.

“It was never about accountants wanting to play in the advice space and be planners, which is where I think a lot of the industry has been confused about.

“The way in which the licensing works has made it a necessity – you can’t offer business advisory services if you can’t take into account their superannuation and SMSF contributions, et cetera.”

Last week, Bowler announced she had taken on the additional role of general manager for Holley Nethercote’s training and compliance arm, Compact.

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