Count unveils online SMSF licensing tool
Count Financial has launched an online tool designed to assist unlicensed SMSF practitioners prepare for the end of the accountants’ exemption.
The online tool has been designed to complement Count’s Accountants' Solution service, which was launched in March of this year.
According to Count, the tool helps users to understand, and plan for, the steps required to make the significant transition to the licensed framework.
David Lane, Count chief executive, said he hopes the tool will encourage accountants to act now on the issue of licensing.
“Having worked with accountants for over 30 years, Count is acutely aware that there are only really a few months a year when they have the capacity to think and plan strategically about the future growth of their business,” said Mr Lane.
“While the July 2016 deadline for this change still seems some way off, there are a number of steps an accounting practice needs to undertake to be ready for this change, so accountants need to act now.”
Mr Lane told SMSF Adviser that many accountants are looking for specific help around the new licensing regime, with many currently unsure how to start the process of compliance.
“They are really looking for help with some concrete, actionable steps that can get them from here to there; they want to know what they need to do, who they need to call, what information they need to make the right decisions, and on what basis should they be making these decisions.
“We thought it would be really helpful to provide the accounting community with a tool which allows them to, in their own time, figure out what are the steps they need to take and get a better understanding of what those steps mean.”
Mr Lane recently warned practitioners of capacity risks that could impact accountants who leave their licensing decision too late. He said accountants will need to undergo training to fulfil their licensing requirements and raised concerns over the capacity of education providers to provide that training as the exemption comes to an end.
“We wanted to bring this tool to the market for the benefit of accountants, to help them effectively plan ahead. What we don’t want to see is accountants not being able to service their clients’ needs because they have simply left it too late,” said Mr Lane.
Despite some practitioners showing a reluctance to adopt the new licensing regime, Mr Lane said accountants should view the regulatory change as a positive; an opportunity to reassess the services they provide to their clients.
“For practices looking to the future, this change should create the impetus to add financial advice to their core service models. We are excited about helping accountants to expand the services that they provide their clients and seize the opportunity for growth. The earlier they do this, the greater their competitive advantage.”