The world of self managed super fund or SMSF accountants is a tricky and complex environment where the terms of service are not always apparent to the client.
Here we see operators requiring an Australian Financial Services License or AFSL for short, a qualifying piece of identification that can sort those specialists who are able to pass on advice against those that cannot.
2016 would see further regulations limit the capacity for accountants who practice in the niche of SMSFs to issue investment advice, narrowing their parameters when consulting with their clients.
This would see them be allowed to discuss complying with regulations and ATO laws, basic administration, tax services and general accounting.
Yet there are still many reasons why clients continue to gravitate to these professionals when it comes to assisting them with their fund, an asset that will determine how well and how soon they can retire from a working life.
Here we will outline how these firms can tangibly help you grow your portfolio and improve your financial standing, all without violating any laws or overlooking any details that could harm your position as a trustee.
SMSF accountants do carry out one very important practice that must be undertaken by an independent body, and that is to audit a fund on an annual basis. The Codes of Professional Conduct are very clear in their rulings that the registered auditor must demonstrate their independence, as any connection to interests in the investment decisions to grow the portfolio are a direct conflict of interest. The best practitioners in this respect will be a member of a firm who has a host of other professionals, providing them with a team member who can carry out this task diligently and legally.
Offering Specific Types of Financial Advise
The Financial Services Reform Act (FSRA) helps to determine whether or not SMSF accountants can be in a position to offer their investment opinion that directly results in the financial management of a fund. Services that monitor the performance in this respect can be administered if they happen to meet a strict set of guidelines, as there is overlap with the roles of duties of a financial planner.
However, an accountant who is well versed in the processes of SMSFs can acknowledge certain opportunities and view the decisions from an accounting perspective that helps to align the portfolio with a grander investment strategy moving forward.
General Admin and Accounting
The administration and accounting duties of SMSF accountants applies to citizens who need comprehensive guidance on their fund. Their value to the portfolio is not often understood immediately, but it is the careful daily management of the small details by drafting meeting minutes, maintaining records, filing returns and issuing statements that you can understand why they need to be an influence with your fund.
Sticking To ATO Rules and Regulations
SMSF accountants are better placed than most to ensure their client does not fall foul of the law. From issuing loans to other members, failing to provide the right types of documentation, missing audits, borrowing from unregistered parties or violating important conventions that are stipulated by law, the Australian Tax Office (ATO) requires your fund to be performing within their parameters.
The central advantage that can be pinpointed by those clients who have SMSF accountants looking out for their interests is a party that will operate with transparency and advise caution. In the wake of the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, there is always the threat that the economy could stumble at any given moment and it is imperative that a consumer’s assets are protected. Proactive moves can be made by these SMSF specialists who will administer the best long-term practices possible in the field of taxation to look out for your portfolio or that of your business.
Fergus Murray is the lead editor for Business News Ledger. Fergus has been working as a freelance journalist for nearly a decade having published stories in the New York Times, The Plain Dealer, The Daily Mail and many others. Fergus is based in Detroit and covers issues affecting his city and New York State. When he is not busy writing, Fergus enjoys jogging.