Accountants should be able to fill the growing demand for financial advice, particularly where full service advice is not required, according to one accounting body that is set to roll out a licensing scheme for accountants.
Pointing to the findings of the financial services royal commission in relation to the need for consumers to be able to trust those providing financial advice, the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA) said a gap remained between full financial advice and smaller matters.
The IPA added accountants should be able to fill this gap and highlighted a finding from the recent Productivity Commission superannuation report that 48 per cent of Australian adults claimed they had unmet financial advice needs.
IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said the advice gap needs to be addressed along with the different expectations of what it costs to receive financial advice.
“Other research indicates that there is a gap between the fees that most consumers are prepared to pay and the average fees being charged by financial planners, with the majority of consumers being open to having reviews with someone else if it meant a reduction in fees,” Conway said.
He added the IPA would be able to assist accountants who are looking to fill the advice gap through its development of a revised financial services licensing regime for qualified accountants that recognised their existing qualifications and experience.
Accountants had a number of advantages in stepping into the advice gap as they “are answerable to high levels of professional and ethical standards, subject to ongoing quality assurance evaluations and must maintain currency of knowledge through committed and continuous professional development and training”, he said.