The benefits of working with an Australian SMSF service provider
What happens if you’re an accountant or financial planner and need assistance with of an SMSF client? One option is to partner with an SMSF administration service provider and outsource the task to them, allowing you to keep the client on board while freeing your firm’s time and effort to focus on other matters.
The question is, which service provider do you go for? Nowadays, it’s not unheard of to offshore SMSF administration and accounting services to a firm overseas, with greater affordability viewed as the chief benefit of doing so.
However, this ignores the real, unquantifiable value that firms can get from working with an Australian-based SMSF service provider. At Aquila Super, we’re proudly Australian owned and operated, and our more than 15 years in the industry has shown us the advantages customers get when they work with qualified Australian staff.
They’re familiar with the regulatory environment
One of the chief benefits of working with an Australia-based service provider is their knowledge of the industry and its related legislation. The SMSF sector doesn’t stay still – as the industry itself changes and grows, the government keeps up by updating the rules, laws and regulations surrounding SMSFs.
Accountants and financial planners deal with a dizzying mix of different issues and clients, and may not be able to keep up with every change. This can not only put them on the back foot, but even put them in shaky legal territory. According to the Future of SMSF Survey report released in August 2014 by the SMSF Academy and BGL Corporate Solutions, staying on top of legislative change was the challenge most frequently cited by professionals in the sector.
Unlike an offshore service provider, a qualified, Australian business will have an intimate knowledge of the regulations surrounding SMSFs, keeping up with what changes and how it will affect funds. You can therefore have full confidence when handing a client over to them, safe in the knowledge their needs will be well taken care of.
Higher quality service
Offshore providers may charge lower service fees, but what you might save in money you could well end up losing out in terms of the quality of service. An offshore provider will likely not be as easily contactable, and they will also have less interest in providing you with a strong standard of customer service.
An Australian service provider, by contrast, can provide you with convenient seven-days-a-week assistance. At Aquila, for instance, any technical query from one of our accounting or financial planning clients is answered free of charge with a simple phone call. Our SMSF auditors are also flexible when it comes to collecting the relevant working papers, particularly in a tight deadline. They can be posted, sent via email, faxed and even personally collected in some cases – you’d be hard pressed to find an offshore provider who can do the same.
They can deal with the unexpected
In the modern day world of investing and SMSF strategy, things that are out of the ordinary are becoming more and more commonplace. Anyone working in the sector has to be able to adapt their approach to different, at times unusual circumstances, instead of trying to fit problems of every shape into the same square box.
Our experience with offshore providers is that their staff rote learn how to prepare a set of accounts. This means that they often make large errors when faced with something that doesn’t fit the model that they have been taught. At Aquila, our highly skilled staff take these issues in their stride. Also importantly, our staff will be actively looking for strategic opportunities for your clients – not just reactively crunching numbers as their offshore counterparts do.