Increase in auditor engagement

SMSF auditor

More trustees appear to be wanting to meet their SMSF auditor face-to-face to establish a level of comfort over the servicing of their fund.

A sector specialist’s recent experience seems to indicate trustees are changing their attitude toward the SMSF audit process, with more of them proactively looking for face-to-face engagement with their fund’s auditor.

“This year, and it’s the first time I’ve seen it, we’ve had trustees wanting to meet us personally. They’ve wanted to come in and meet the auditor,” Saul SMSF founder David Saul told selfmanagedsuper.

“We don’t attract a lot of foot traffic off the street, but they’ve come to us and said ‘we want to meet who our auditor is and get comfort from who our auditor is’.”

Saul pointed out this is a significant and positive development for the sector and some trustees have a specific issue they would like to discuss with their auditor.

“One trustee came in and said ‘I want you to explain this document [the ATO trustee declaration] to me’,” he said.

“I told him it was pretty self-explanatory, but he insisted ‘no, I want you to explain it to me and my wife’.

“That’s been a major change we’ve seen in recent times.”

According to Saul, having trustees meet with the fund auditor and getting to know them more personally will help the working relationship and strengthen the channels of communication currently in place.

“When we sign an engagement letter it’s always direct with the trustee and I think that’s good because you worry about the communication with the client,” he said.

He indicated he was strongly in favour of this type of direct communication with the client to prevent a third party from controlling any vital information the trustees should know about.

The audit firm was recently involved in the Jenifer Helen Papadam v Smidam Pty Limited case heard in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, from which it concluded greater emphasis needs to be placed on the ATO trustee declaration.

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