Expert SMSF insights
Five steps to becoming an SMSF expert
By Mark Ellem
Here are the top 5 steps you need to take to establish your firm as a specialist SMSF provider.
They’re insights gained from the considerable time I’ve spent in accounting firms and SMSF administration companies – including running my own SMSF accountancy & admin practice.
1. Get qualified.
Even if you’re already providing SMSF advice, I recommend you undertake specialist training, investing the time you need to gain a thorough grounding in technical SMSF strategies.
2. Get your systems in place.
Most SMSFs own direct assets, so you need superior reporting systems to ensure you can manage and report on them. As well as software that can provide detailed reports for auditors or a direct feed to the administration provider, you’ll need documented processes to help your staff collect, manage, store and access information quickly and efficiently. You will also need a good lawyer to help set up funds and compliance paperwork, and decode any grey areas of SMSF law.
3. Choose a strong support team.
I’ve seen start-up businesses who’ve tried to do all the administration and paperwork themselves. However, they often find that admin is stealing the time they need for value-added activities and attracting new clients. An alternative is to outsource administration from the start. You need to weigh whether this is a good option for you. It’s also important that you do your due diligence and find a reliable and responsive provider who will make your life easier.
4. Spread the word.
Successful advisers run regular seminars with referral partners such as accountants and lawyers, educating them on the potential benefits of SMSF advice for their clients. The result is a steady stream of new, pre-qualified clients.
5. Review your non-SMSF client book.
It’s worth reviewing your existing client strategies to determine whether they would work better in an SMSF. For example, some strategies may be difficult, or impossible, under other super fund structures – like running multiple pensions or accommodating specific estate planning needs.
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