Accountants warned about ‘sins of omission’

Accountants have been urged by a leading industry figure to consider the ‘sins of omission’ as well as the ‘sins of commission’ within their practice.

Greg Hayes, director of Hayes Knight, believes accountants have firmly made their decision regarding licensing, with the end of the accountants' exemption looming large.

Recent figures reveal that as of November 19, ASIC has only received 204 applications for a limited licence.

Mr Hayes stated that he is not surprised by the numbers.

“For many small accounting firms who are not providing financial services to their clients, the requirements to take on the additional responsibility and burden of a licence are not attractive,” he said.

According to Mr Hayes, the licensing process will not teach a majority of accountants any new skill sets – it is the compliance regime that will provide the key learning experience and that is therefore where a majority of support is needed.

“In talking to accountants, we talk about avoiding sins of omission and sins of commission – not doing what you are not allowed to do and ensuring you do what you a required to do,” he said.

Mr Hayes noted that financial planning group Merit Wealth has already received more applications for limited authorisations than the total number of licences issued by ASIC, adding that he predicts that by the end of 2016, 10,000 accountants will have sought a limited authorisation.

“Why take on these obligations when they can be authorised by an experienced dealer who will assist them meet compliance obligations and provide full dealer support?” he added.

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