While most of us think of bags full of sales items when the word shopping is mentioned, accountants might need to think of ASIC. Finance wise has stated since September that ASIC were implementing a mystery shopper program directly targeting accountants.
According to the front page of the SMSFAdviser Magazine (Jan 2016) the mystery shopping has begun ‘to ensure accountants are complying with their new licensing obligations.’
Shadow shopping is well known to financial advisers and in the view of finance wise principal, James Barger-Bos, this is just the beginning of the new world order for accountants. The major concern for ASIC is accountants claiming they will only act on instructions from July 1st when the exemption expires.
All financial advisers know this is impossible but more worrying for the accounting profession so does ASIC.
James’ view is shared by many. According to the Institute of Public Accountants (IPA), this activity is set to increase in 2016. Vicki Stylianou from the IPA has indicated that ASIC considers the accountants’ exemption phase-out as non-negotiable. She urged accountants at the IPA National Congress on the Gold Coast to ensure they addressed the issue as it was not going to disappear. She noted that “it is a completely new world and things will be changing from 30 June’. In terms of resourcing and support, she also noted that ‘not all licensees are equal’ and that it was wise to ensure comparisons were made in relation to services offered. Price should not be the sole concern. It is worth noting ASIC advise below;
“Accountants who do not lodge applications which meet ASIC’s requirements by 1 March 2016 run a significant risk that their application will not be assessed before 30 June 2016.”
It is reasonable to ask why an accountant would manufacture a client experience to avoid their obligations? The primary reasons are costs, fear and education rather than deception. It is dawning on accounting practices that a Statement of Advice is a lengthy document and it will take somewhere between 10 and 20 additional hours to comply after the accounting exemption. Many are also unaware that software is available to automate the process.
Finance wise offers simple, clear and cost effective RG146 training, software that automates the SMSF advice process, and a licensing solution that includes banking deposit advice, contributions advice and pension advice. Finance wise is the premier licensee option for accountants.
The question you need to ask is are you ready for shadow shopping customers? If the answer is “NO”, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org and finance wise will assist you with any queries regarding the accounting exemption, RG146 training, licensing solutions and software.