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Accountants give thumbs up to IPA exemption lobbying

The lobbying efforts of Institute of Public Accountants around the return of the accountants’ exemption have been given a broad seal of approval by many in the accounting industry.

Last week, IPA chief executive Andrew Conway asked members for feedback around advocating for a return of the ‘accountants’ exemption’ to provide financial advice related to self-managed superannuation.

Since the government removed the accountants’ exemption on 1 July 2016, Mr Conway believed that, as a result, some Australians have simply opted out of advice altogether, which “may ultimately place their financial future at risk”.

Speaking to Public Accountant, Hoffman Kelly director Michael Kerwin called the removal of the accountants’ exemption “a terrible decision”.

He said that a lot of clients in his firm “just don’t want a financial planner”, something he thinks will be happening more often.

“I think we will see more people trying to navigate complex investment decisions on their own, which I think largely is a terrible thing,” Mr Kerwin said.

“I think accountants can at least have that exemption back when we can have limited discussions around certain aspects. At least, it might help those clients get some advice instead of potentially no advice.”

People have also taken to the Public Accountant website to give an unequivocal thumbs up to Mr Conway’s lobbying efforts, with one noting that he “paid a lot of money” to obtain his limited licence.

“I don’t understand why the government changed this at first glance. We need to get clients back to regain [our] reputation as a profession like it used to,” said one commenter.

Another commenter wondered why he has to pay more money every year to be able to do the same job he used to do for clients, as well as questioned where any client has been better off as a result of the removal of the accountants’ exemption.

“I have been doing this job for 20 years and have always had the best interest of the client at the forefront. Now our job is a whole lot harder,” they said.

“I have decided that ASIC can come and give me my whack. I’ll take it gleefully knowing full well I had the client of 20 years best interest at the forefront.”

One commenter suggested that accountants have a certain qualification should the government reinstate the accountants’ exemption.

“Accountants must be members of IPA or CPA or ICAA holding a membership level of Fellow, as well as holding a Public Practice Certificate (PPC),” the commenter said.

“Perhaps the PPCs could include recognition of a member being equipped to provide SMSF advice as an outcome of the member’s accumulation of relevant SMSF-steamed CPD Hours on an ongoing basis.”

13 thoughts on “Accountants give thumbs up to IPA exemption lobbying

  • August 24, 2018 at 2:45 pm

    Go for it. The compliance costs to be an authorised representative are prohibitive.
    We have tried third party advisors but our clients are not happy to deal with another person. They want to deal with us. Being authorised, registered, insurance, extra time and cost CPE hours, extra forms and statements of advice are not good for business. Lots of extra time and money for no added value to the client.

  • August 24, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    Yes IPA had to do to do the hard yard ! Where are the CPA’s & CA’s

  • August 24, 2018 at 3:56 pm

    I believe that the removal of exemption for accountants giving advice to smsf was a regrettable decision because Accountants who have been in public practice more often update his knowledge in wide areas of the profession including self-managed super fund and experienced in many areas of the SMSF. Even though public accountants are competent enough to advise on smsf, this removal of exemption has put them in a difficult situation in front of the clients whom used to rely on their accountants for many aspects.

  • August 24, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    An accountant cannot advise on SMSF set up nor able to audit the SMSF. They just look like a processing machine to be replaced by software one day.

  • August 24, 2018 at 4:48 pm

    It should never have been taken away in the first place. Our clients want to speak with us not have to run and see a Financial Planner for general advice.

  • August 24, 2018 at 5:39 pm

    I think it is quite ironic that the change to the accountants exemption has affected accounting practices to the benefit of the financial planning industry and in particular large funds however it is mainly the large financial planning houses and funds that have been hauled before the Royal Commission.

  • August 24, 2018 at 5:43 pm

    I agree the Accountants’ exemption should not have been taken away. Go for it IPA . My clients have asked me regarding SMSF and I declined and given a reason. They did not want to see a Financial Planner.

  • August 24, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    Because of some rotten apple entire box effected if association like IPA and rest 2 teamed together and traced the rotten one as strict compliance regime then we will have our status back, otherwise like previous writers comment AI will takeover accountants.

  • August 25, 2018 at 10:39 am

    The removal of Accountants exemptions deprived clients of the essential component so necessary to clients when making a decision – “prudent and independent advice” .

  • August 27, 2018 at 9:08 am

    I can advise a long standing client of the maximum concessional contributions to super, but cannt advise them of what might be the appropriate amount for them to contribute in a specific year( thats a financial product) – for that I have to refer them to a licensed advisor who has no knowledge of their tax affairs and potential benefit of additional contributions due to sale of an asset/ or an inheritance etc :

  • August 27, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    The whole issue here is an attempt from the Finance Industry to down grade the role of Accountants. I have since going into public practice been opposed to Accountants acting as ” Financial Advisors ” due to what I see as a conflict of interest. This has now come home to bite the CPA.
    I have for thirty years been given my clients sound advice on Superannuation. Now I have to pay a lot of money to give the same advice but in a far far more time consuming way and at additional cost to my clients.
    Not only should the IPA lobby to have the Accountants exemption reinstated but they should also lobby to allow
    clients entering the work force to have their own superannuation funds (within reason) . Not wait until they have $200 k before they can set up their own fund.
    I agree with previous comments …..where are the CPA and CA’s why are they not supporting the move

  • August 31, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    The problem with licencing is the prohibitive costs , to setup a SMSF now costs over $4000 and takes days to complete
    Clients want something from us their accountants that does not costs them an arm and a leg at a short time between our meeting and the set up time.

  • September 20, 2018 at 9:12 am

    This is an attempt by authorities to get rid of the Institutes and bring all the licenses under Government dept. To charge more fees.
    This is the beginning of the end for Accountants the way we know it. They will strip the powers bit by bit until the membership will have no meaning and everyone will leave.
    It’s a gradual dead for IPA, CPA & ICAA etc
    Already most of Licenses are under Govt. e.g. ATO (Tax Agents & Advisory)
    ASIC ( Co. Audit, AFSL, SMSF Audit, Credit License etc)
    If you hold Tax Agents License & AFSL you don’t need to be a member of any Institute to practice.
    So you can see where we are heading. In 5 years most of the institute members will drop out until it will not be viable for them to exist in Australia.
    Soon AI will replace all Accountants for book keeping & compliance work.
    Universities are stilling charging top dollars and producing the future unemployed accountants.
    No one is questioning them now until it’s too late.
    They are directing all the AFSL licensing compliance under big boys e.g. AMP etc
    A few big companies soon will control everyone.
    ASIC is creating its own MLM & charging fees.

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