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.”