Can Accountants Setup SMSF?
Can Accountants Setup SMSF? Yes, accountants can setup SMSF provided they do not provide financial advice which is reserved for financial planners and those holding a full or limited financial services license. The regulator for Australian financial services licensees is the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) which has carved out an exemption allowing accountants to setup self managed super funds. See below table extracted from the ASIC website, the full website page is available here which gives a complete list of what does and doesn’t require an Australian Financial Services License.
We can setup your SMSF
Our team can assist with setting up an SMSF if that is what you want to do and you have independently researched whether the structure is right for you. For more information about the process checkout our SMSF Setup page.
However, if you want advice as to whether an SMSF is right for you we can refer you to a suitably qualified Financial Planner to provide you with a full Statement of Advice which will examine your personal circumstances and give you a multitude of options for your superannuation and ongoing wealth management. If you are looking for a referral to a financial planner please just reach out and one of our friendly team would be happy to send you the name of a planner local to you that we have worked with previously.
SMSF Australia has chosen not to get a Financial Services License for a number of reasons. First, we do not want to compete with financial planners who are some of our best referrers/customers and have dedicated their careers to provide high quality, personalised advice. The second, and more existential reason, is that you should never ask a professional that sells only one service whether that service is right for you! If you come to an SMSF Accountant and ask us if an SMSF works well of course we are conflicted as we are passionate about the industry and will naturally want to provide clients with high level SMSF services. It is the old adage that a person with a hammer sees everything as a nail. On that basis we have decided the conflict of interest presents an unacceptable risk.
So what licenses do SMSF Accountants Need?
The primary license that all SMSF Accounting firms must have is a corporate tax agent registration with the Tax Practitioners Board. This is the government regulator of the accounting and taxation industry which licenses and disciplines accountants. You should always independently verify that any accountant you work with is licensed via the Tax Practitioners board which can be easily checked via their website, just head to their website and click Search the TPB Register.
To check up on us search for our business on the register and you will be able to confirm that SMSF Australia Pty Ltd is a corporate registered tax agent and our registration number is 2595 7257, you will note that there are no conditions, suspensions, sanctions or qualifications that have ever been recorded on our license. You can also search each of our founders who are individual tax agents connected to the corporate practice. Christopher Overton’s registration number is 2518 9841 while Emily Cooper’s registration number is 2603 3043 and you can likewise check that no conditions, suspensions, sanctions or qualifications have ever been recorded on either of our personal licenses. It is important to always check these details for any accountant you work with, now or in the future.
Tax Institute of Australia
Separate to the core Tax Agents license many high level SMSF practitioners choose to train and be registered with the Taxation Institute of Australia that provides specialised advanced SMSF Training to accountants and lawyers. These specialists are then qualified as Charted Tax Advisers, a designation that is internationally recognised as the mark of technical excellence designed to represent the pinnacle of the profession. SMSF Australia is fortunate to have multiple Chartered Tax Advisers in our team along with several Fellows of the Taxation Institute. Unfortunately the institute does not have a search function on the website but certificates can be provided upon request.
SMSF Specialist Accreditation
Another professional body that exists separate to The Tax Institute is the SMSF Association of Australia. This is a voluntary member led organisation which provides further training and support to SMSF Accountants and Auditors. The association does not register or accredit firms but only individual practitioners. We are pleased to have a number of members of the SMSF Association in our firm such as our director Emily Cooper, to confirm our SMSF Specialist accreditation checkout the link directly to the association website.