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Accountants lagging in SMSF innovation race

By: Jeff Mazzini| Tags:

Author: Andrew Starke

Trustees of self-managed super funds are increasingly demanding more sophisticated online administration options with large institutions battling to stay at the head of the pack in providing solutions.

For many, the security of their accountant’s desktop software is no longer enough as the efficiency and flexibility of cloud-based systems offer a whole new level of functionality.

According to the OneVue / Investment Trends 2013 SMSF Accountant report, only one in five SMSF accountants currently offer their clients and advisers the option to access, review and action client data online.

However, accounting ledger systems and spreadsheets are vulnerable to the bells and whistles of cloud-only applications, which offers a daily snapshot of investment valuations and member balances with less risk of non-compliance.

OneVue head of strategy, sales and service David Storm said an additional 23 per cent of SMSF accountants indicated that they wanted to offer such a solution in the next 12 months, with 47 per cent saying they were interested in doing so in the next few years.

“The report revealed that the perceived benefits of offering an online solution include greater administration efficiencies, accessibility and improved client interaction, as well as more timely information,” Storm said.

“For those not interested in providing such a solution, the main reasons were assurance of data security, cost and lack of client demand, however one in four said they would reconsider if they were assured data was secure.”

Legacy system upgrade

However, this would appear to offer financial institutions like the major banks and AMP an opportunity to increase their share of the $532 billion dollar SMSF industry. As this market grows, so does the importance of online solutions that reduce administrative tasks and provide greater efficiencies to clients.

“Investors are becoming more demanding. They want real time solutions. They want figures to update all the time,” said Storm.

“One of the big pushes we’ve seen in the SMSF sector has certainly been around cloud-based computing solutions, particularly when it comes to administration efficiencies, greater accessibility and providing more timely information.

“Everyone catering to the SMSF industry right now is trying to stay ahead of the pack in terms of the provision of online technology solutions, with some of the larger institutions spending millions of dollars to update legacy systems so they can in effect catch up to those leading innovation.”

For some, though, there is still a security issue with cloud-based solutions and clients may be unhappy with their data being held at a remote site rather than a local server.


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