Andrew Conway

IPA pushes for return of accounting exemption

The Institute of Public Accountants has asked members for feedback around advocating for a return of the ‘accountants’ exemption’ to provide financial advice related to self-managed superannuation.

IPA chief executive Andrew Conway said members recently have been asking them to take the issue of the removal of the accountants’ exemption up with the government.

He said the IPA has always maintained that it will act in the best interests of members, and that the principle at play here is ensuring Australians have access to affordable financial advice.

“The capacity of an accountant to provide advice on self-managed superannuation funds has long been held as not being a systemic risk to the integrity of the financial services system,” Mr Conway said.

“We will engage with members over the next week to inform our advocacy and representation to the Minister to ensure our views are heard. I would encourage any member of the IPA or any other practitioner to make contact with me if they wish to make their views known.”

Ever since the accountants’ exemption was removed on 1 July 2016, Mr Conway believed some Australians have simply opted out of advice altogether, saying it “may ultimately place their financial future at risk”.

Further, he said trusted accountants have simply been hamstrung, unable to respond to clients’ questions, particularly around superannuation.

“The public rely on their annual interaction with their accountant to finalise their tax affairs and seek guidance on issues which unfortunately is now considered financial advice as part of this process,” Mr Conway said.

“Without this guidance many will receive no financial advice at all for important matters such as retirement planning.”

Mr Conway noted that before the Future of Financial Advice (FoFA) reforms became law, less than one in five Australians had any interaction with a financial planner.

He said FoFA has failed to achieve its policy objective of making financial advice affordable, and removing accountants from providing any assistance has made the situation worse.

“As trusted advisers, accountants can play an important role in helping clients manage their financial affairs and revisiting the accountant’s exemption is paramount to restoring access to basic financial advice,” Mr Conway said.

“Seventy per cent of the population and 95 per cent of all businesses have a trusted accountant behind them and denying them access to any guidance is not in the public interest.”

11 thoughts on “IPA pushes for return of accounting exemption

  • August 17, 2018 at 2:42 pm
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    To be able to do the job i used to do i now have to pay more money, every year, or just do it like i used.
    Is the client any better/worse off as the result of that??????
    I have been doing this job for 20 years, i have always had the best interest of the client at the forefront. Now our job is a whole lot harder.
    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.

  • August 17, 2018 at 2:45 pm
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    I paid a lot of money to obtain my limited license.

  • August 17, 2018 at 3:09 pm
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    Yes I fully support this move
    We all accountants and our professional body should seek clearance

  • August 17, 2018 at 3:40 pm
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    The IPA should follow through with its initiative to reistate the ‘accountants’ exemption’ to provide financial advice related to self-managed superannuation for reasons contained in the article by Andrew Conway on the subject.

  • August 17, 2018 at 3:46 pm
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    I Agee with the return of the Accountants exemption

  • August 17, 2018 at 3:56 pm
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    I fully support the IPA advocating for a return of the “accountants exemption” in relation to SMSFs.

  • August 17, 2018 at 4:10 pm
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    I fully support Andrew’s Comments on the Accountants Exemption.

  • August 17, 2018 at 5:21 pm
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    I don’t understand why government changed this at first glance, we need to get clients back to regain reputation as a profession like what it used to.

  • August 18, 2018 at 9:09 am
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    I support the return of the Accountants Exemption, with the following qualification: Accountants must be members of IPA or CPA or ICAA holding a membership level of Fellow, as well as holding a Public Practice Certificate. 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.

  • August 21, 2018 at 8:54 am
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    I support the exemption. Experienced unused is wasted talent.

  • August 26, 2018 at 4:11 pm
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    I fully support the IPA push to reinstate the exemption. For the life of me I cannot understand how removing the exemption in the first place helped any of the small SMSF throughout the country gain a more sound financial future? All it has done is remove the minimum of financial advice that they had access to through their qualified accountants and possibly have opened up a Pandora’s box of possible non compliance issues. Hopefully commonsense will prevail with the reinstatement of the accountants exemption.

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