Bulk of accountants still unprepared for new licensing regime

New research suggests close to three quarters of accountants are yet to choose or action their licensing path for when the accountants’ exemption is phased out in June next year.

Despite the ASIC deadline looming, 72 per cent of accountants have not to date pursued their options for offering SMSF advice to clients after the 1 July 2016 exemption phase-out, according to a recent survey of accountants conducted by Perpetual Private.

The findings of a survey mirror the most recent figures provided by ASIC regarding the total number of applications received by the regulator – a mere 204 as of November 2015.

Dermot Lindsay, national manager for alliance partners at Perpetual Private, urged accountants to choose their licensing path before 2015 draws to a close, or risk running into serious business hurdles in the new year.

“In order to meet this deadline, you really need to start planning now,” Mr Lindsay said.

“Preparation for the change, no matter which path you choose, can take several months. It’s important to recognise if you don’t get the wheels in motion by the end of the year, you’re going to face serious challenges in 2016."

Perpetual’s warning comes after ASIC indicated that those licence applications not received by 1 March 2016 might not be assessed before the exemption end date.

In response to the staggering number of rejected licensing applications (101 as of November), Mr Lindsay reiterated the importance of thorough preparation before applying.

“Accountants should be clear about the authorisations they require and have completed the right RG146 training. It’s also important to check the adequacy of your professional indemnity insurance,” he said.

“Ideally, all compliance procedures should be in place before you apply for your licence, or they certainly need to be by the time your licence is issued."

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