No plans for auditor CPD change

SMSF auditors CPD

The ATO has indicated there is no appetite among regulatory agencies to ease the continuing professional development requirements for SMSF auditors.

The ATO has confirmed it knows of no intentions to ease the continuing professional development (CPD) requirements for SMSF auditors in light of changes other industry bodies have made to these obligations as a result of coronavirus pandemic-driven changes to work practices, such as having to work from home.

During a one-on-one webinar with SMSF Association technical manager Mary Simmons, ATO SMSF auditor portfolio director Kellie Grant said: “ASIC (Australian Securities and Investments Commission) has advised us at this stage that they do not plan on amending the CPD requirements, of course which comprise the 120 hours over the three-year period.

“So while the Tax Practitioners Board have actually removed the 25 per cent cap for technical reading until 30 September 2020 for tax practitioners due to the impact of COVID-19, the CPD requirements for auditors are less specific in terms of how CPD is to be completed.

“So there’s no equivalent restriction for self-managed super fund auditors, so we still expect them, therefore, to meet those 120 hours, despite some of the circumstances they might be going through, and maintain a written CPD log if we request it through our compliance audits.”

Grant reminded practitioners the CPD logs have to be kept for three years after the end of the financial year during which the development occurred, but pointed out ASIC had some scope to use discretion in this area.

“Like us, ASIC aren’t unreasonable and [have] said if SMSF auditors generally can’t meet their CPD requirements due to the impact of COVID-19, then they should record an explanation of this in their log and then if ASIC need to consider the auditor’s CPD, they will take these explanations into account and consider them on a case-by-case basis,” she noted.

The rapidly changing environment the SMSF sector is currently experiencing due to the coronavirus has increased the importance for professionals to stay on top of their CPD obligations, she said.

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