With the ATO increasingly automating tax returns and low fee compliance work failing to pay the bills, accountants are looking for new ways to grow their businesses. They’re asking themselves: what will I be doing in 5 years, where is my revenue stream going to come from?
SMSFs are clearly a growth opportunity for accountants.
The SMSF sector is growing strongly – it is the largest and fastest growing part of the super industry, with total assets up by 206 per cent to $621.7 billion in the past decade.1
Furthermore, the administration of SMSFs is a tailor-made opportunity for accounting firms to leverage the skills and knowledge they already have in accounting and compliance to provide a valued service to their clients and attract new business.
SMSF administration software is advancing rapidly as developers exploit the advantages of cloud-based technologies. Cloud-based administration software slashes admin time and workload, making the process vastly more efficient and scalable.
A fully automated general ledger combined with automated data feeds from banks, brokers and wraps allow the software to automatically reconcile share trades and bank transactions, greatly improving productivity and profitability for an accounting practice.
The cloud also enables accountants to provide a more sophisticated, higher value service than they could have offered even just a few years ago. This can include providing clients an up to date view of their SMSF wealth on their smartphone, ordering a property valuation online or starting a new SMSF.
However, technology does not remove the need for accountants – it removes the cost and inefficient manual processing but leaves the critical high-value decisions and strategy that only skilled accountants and advisers can provide, particularly in SMSFs. That’s why the sector is such a natural fit for the profession. Accountants are trusted, longstanding advisers to their clients and SMSFs need good counsel more than ever amid the introduction of the biggest changes to super in more than a decade.
Technology will assist accountants to manage these changes, automate much of the manual work involved while focusing on the value-adding role they do best.
And the benefits don’t stop with SMSFs. Clients who have investments in an SMSF also typically have investments outside super, such as a family trust or company, so SMSFs can also be a launch pad for a whole new area of business for accountants, as long as your cloud software provider handles wealth accounting of both super and non-super portfolios.
Many accounting firms have already launched themselves on this journey. The increasing sophistication of SMSF administration will make it harder for those accountants who are reticent to adopt new technology or for whom SMSFs are only a sideline. With the right technology, SMSFs can be the basis of a highly lucrative growth strategy for accountants, but the opportunity needs to be grabbed with both hands, and quickly.
To find out more about how to grow your SMSF business, Click Here.
¹APRA annual bulletin for the 12 months to June 30 2016
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Kevin Bungard, CEO, Class