A poll of 188 accountants, conducted recently by SMSF Adviser's sister publication, AccountantsDaily, has revealed that just 48 per cent have begun preparations for the end of the accountants' exemption, up just 2 per cent from August last year.
In response, Kath Bowler, CEO of consulting firm Licensing for Accountants, said this lack of organisation among accountants will cost them significantly.
“It’s starting to really concern me,” Ms Bowler said. "I understand that accountants have a lot on their plate but I don't think they understand the training they will need to undertake. The deadline might be a year away but the time it will take to do the training to be able to get licensed in any way, shape or form, I think they're underestimating that."
Ms Bowler predicted a mad rush in the months before the exemption ends – which service providers and licensees will not be able to handle.
“There's not going to be just a bottleneck on the application process, there are going to be all sorts of bottlenecks,” she said.
“More quality licensees will be able to cherry pick who they want.
“Adding to my concern is [that] there are some reputable and some not-so-reputable education providers – some accountants won’t be able to get spots with the provider of their choice. The courses will fill up – if they’re considering face-to-face training then they are going to have issues,” she said.
According to Ms Bowler, accountants need to start preparing right now to avoid missing out on their first choice of service provider.
“You just won’t have the choice of the good education providers, licensees and consultants,” Ms Bowler warned.