Top tips to help your accounting practice manage SMSFs more efficiently
Harnessing the power of technology makes it possible to turn SMSF accounting into a lucrative revenue stream.
Has your SMSF division become a drain on your practice’s productivity and profitability?
If you answered in the affirmative, you’re far from alone.
The popularity of SMSFs has exploded in the past decade. In December 2021, Australia was home to 601,906 according to ATO quarterly statistics (1). Wind the clock back 10 years and that figure was ‘just’ 440,000 (2).
Managing compliance for their well-heeled members has created plenty of work for advisers and accountants. But, for some, it’s work they’d be as well off not accepting. Having to keep abreast of frequent compliance changes, coupled with cumbersome, inefficient manual processes, can make SMSF accounting a low or no profit activity. Consequently, we’re seeing a growing number of firms giving up the ghost; offloading their SMSF client bases to smarter, savvier competitors.
Taking a more systematic, automated approach can help you turn things around, and deliver a much better customer experience to boot. Here are seven ways you can use cloud-based administration technology to transform your SMSF arm into a powerhouse of productivity.
Direct data feeds
Spending loads of time chasing your SMSF clients for their data and files and then keying it into your accounting system? That’s a modus operandi that makes little sense in the digital era. Direct data feeds from major financial institutions will have you in receipt of the same information, securely and reliably in real time, without lifting a finger. Ensure you also activate and maximise as many data feeds as possible to obtain optimal impact.
Accustomed to processing transactions on a fund by fund basis? You’ll speed up the process significantly by embracing automation tools that enable you to batch common transactions across multiple funds and put them through together in bulk.
Do you use snail mail to send documents out to your clients to sign? Putting papers in the post is time consuming and inconvenient, for you and the recipients both. Using a software platform with an electronic signature facility will allow you to put paid to the laborious process of printing, collating and posting documents and scanning them upon return. And your clients will thank you too, for saving them the trouble of trekking to the post office.
Still verifying invoices, contribution receipts, dividends, banks statements and the like manually? SMSF auditing demands a substantive approach and, if you’re doing it the old way, it can take a substantial amount of time. Utilise an automated SMSF accounting platform that’s ASAE3402 compliant and you’ll be able to eliminate much of the legwork, secure in the knowledge that the data you’re receiving can be relied upon for audit purposes.
How many of your SMSF clients also use your firm to manage other aspects of their affairs – trust accounting, personal and business tax returns and the like? Chances are, quite a few of them. Utilising an SMSF administration platform that integrates seamlessly with other specialist platforms and packages will allow you to share and update data and generate actuarial certificates and legal deeds, in minutes and hours, rather than weeks and days.
As an accountant, you know there are not two, but three, things in life that are certain. Death, taxes and compliance changes, right? Keeping abreast of the latter is an ongoing challenge, particularly in the SMSF space, where they come with monotonous regularity.
Intelligent SMSF administration software that keeps track of compliance changes makes it easier for you by prompting and reminding you of what is and isn’t currently permissible.
Automated tax statements and corporate actions
Do you remain mired in the world of spreadsheets and paper based reporting, when it comes to keeping track of corporate actions, tax statements and transfer balance accounting? Automating the process will allow you to spend significantly less time on each and every SMSF account you handle.
Optimising your processes
Not sure how well or badly your organisation is faring in the SMSF efficiency stakes? Auditing your internal processes will enable you to identify where digital technology can provide you with opportunities to improve. Do so regularly, and make changes apace, and you’ll set your accounting practice on the path to operational excellence.
View article published in Accountants Daily