With the licensing regime for accountants in place for over a year now, some accounting firms are re-evaluating their role in relation to the advice space which is seeing some movement in the industry, according to a financial services provider.
Easton Investments managing director Greg Hayes said his company has recently noticed increased interest in the advice area.
“We’ve noticed an increase in people following up around this advice area and we're a year into this new regime now, so I think firms are looking at and [thinking about] what role they play in this space,” said Mr Hayes.
“We're seeing some movement occur because of that. I think we are seeing that people are becoming more mindful of being in a regulated environment, and working out how to best position their firm in that environment.”
Mr Hayes said when the legislation was changed, there were a lot of firms that would have preferred to stay in the SMSF space, but didn’t feel it was practical or economical under the new requirements.
“One of the challenges with [firms] taking that position is the conversations they end up in with clients,” he said.
“It might be a conversation about their business or it might be about some of their cash flow plans, things that an accountant would typically be talking to their client about, and then suddenly as part of that same conversation, it then merges in with the client’s superannuation or their SMSF.”
Mr Hayes said there are a number of accounting firms having this experience as it’s difficult to ‘compartmentalise’ the conversations into specific topics and avoid crossing over into other areas.
“The outcome of that is that all of a sudden accountants are seeing that if you're not able to give advice in this area, even around some of the basic issues, then that broader conversation actually becomes quite disjointed,” he said.
“So some accountants are saying 'well I didn't think I needed to be licensed or authorised because I wasn't planning to provide advice in this area - I was happy to stay away from that area’, and are probably now finding that they have to.”
Mr Hayes said over the next few years, advice delivered [jointly by accountants and advisers] is going to be “some of the best quality advice that is delivered because it takes into account all of the aspects of the client”.
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