Accounting, Compliance

IPA will support licensed accountants

The Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) has revealed should the accountants’ exemption be reinstated, it will look to support its members who have completed licensing requirements under the current regime.

At the IPA SMSF Retreat in Noosa earlier this week, IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said the accounting body has received strong support for the organisation to advocate for change in relation to advice given to SMSFs.

However, during the engagement period so far, some members have raised concerns about accountants who spent the time and money to get a licence.

In response, Conway said: “You did what we asked you to do – did the right thing under the set of laws we got at the time. That would be right.

“Potentially the law will change and our thinking is that for members who have gone down [the licensing] path, we’ll have individual conversations with you about how we can strike an arrangement so you’re not disadvantaged, in the sense of you have done the right thing and it’s cost you a lot of money to do it.

“Our challenge is how we can address that and also talk about how we can design a system that will help you.

“We’re happy to keep this conversation going.”

Conway previously revealed the IPA would look to have SMSFs reclassified in regulation to be acknowledged as trust structures and not financial products, in turn removing them from the Future of Financial Advice reforms.

“An SMSF, in my view, is not a financial product. The minister can actually determine and redefine what a financial product is. SMSFs could theoretically be taken out,” he noted.

“Limited licensing is not working and not achieving what it sought to achieve, which was to have all these accountants rush out to get their limited licence.

“We’ve got an opportunity with the lived history to step in and get a better outcome, not for accountants to get another revenue stream for your practices, but for our clients.”

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