Accountants and advisers should be prepared to take whatever action they think is necessary to ensure their relationship with the SMSF auditor is as strong as it can be so all of the information required can be provided seamlessly, a technical specialist has said.
Accurium head of education Mark Ellem suggested this could mean having increased frequency and depth of contact with the SMSF auditor to allow all staff members of an advisory or accounting practice to prepare properly for the process.
“I believe the approach to making an audit that is less hectic or less problematic for all parties – the accountant, administrators, trustees, the auditor – is about preparation,” Ellem pointed out to attendees of the Accurium 2023 Compliance Day held recently.
“The accountant should be speaking to their auditors [and ask if they have] changed their processes this year. [They should be asking the auditor] what [information] do you need with respect to certain assets.
“[Practitioners should] even consider having the auditor come out to their offices to meet their staff and give them a presentation on what information they need and why they need it.”
According to Ellem, it is even more critical for practitioners to have more effective lines of communication with their auditors given the increased focus on SMSF asset valuations, particularly those involving real property.
“[Practitioners need to know] if there has been a change to what evidence is required for property valuations,” he suggested.
“If that is known by the accountant upfront, and they are educated in what the auditor wants, then the accountant or adviser then has the opportunity to educate the trustee.”
While using SMSF property to illustrate the advantage of better communication between professionals, he noted the opportunity and process of educating clients as to the information needed for the annual audit will also improve the administration of more complex items such as personal-use assets and cryptocurrency.