David Smith, director of Smithink 2020, told SMSF Adviser’s sister publication AccountantsDaily that SMSF practitioners are likely to be affected by automation to a greater extent than others working in the financial services and accounting space.
This, according to Mr Smith, is because of the generic nature of SMSFs compared to other entities such as small businesses.
“One fund tends to look like the next so they’re all pretty similar, whereas when you get out into the business world, every business has its own nuisances and differences so it’s much harder to achieve the same level of automation.”
Mr Smith also predicted the SMSF space is likely to feel the effects of automation sooner than other sectors due to the systems already being developed by SMSF software providers, both in the admin and the audit space.
“There is probably more automation happening in self-managed super than in any other part of the profession. Because of that we can potentially see the impact there earlier than perhaps we will see it in other places,” he said.
Accordingly, Mr Smith urged SMSF professionals to prepare now in order to be ready for the inevitable automation, saying it often takes longer for practitioners to adjust to technological change than they anticipate.
“It takes time for clients to realise things can be done a different way, it takes time for firms to realise things can be done in a different way, it takes time for people to realise that pricing maybe has to change,” he said.
“A good example, for instance, is you can actually go out and get a self-managed super fund done for less than $1,000 yet the vast majority of clients and the vast majority of accounting firms are probably still paying north of $2,000.”
Now is the time to prepare for changes that will inevitably occur, according to Mr Smith.
“It’s better to be ready before the effect on their revenue actually becomes substantial,” he concluded.