Statement to members on SMSF audit policy

18 May 2018

The SMSF Association Audit Discussion Group, met yesterday to discuss the implications of the Federal Budget proposal to allow SMSFs with a good compliance history to be audited once over a three year period.

John Maroney, CEO, led a constructive discussion with Chair of the Audit Discussion Group, Belinda Aisbett, regarding the SMSF Association policy approach, feedback on the proposal, and how ongoing consultation can be best undertaken.

Maroney stated, “Our initial response was based on our usual approach of ensuring that we would be well placed to engage in effective consultation with Treasury and the Government by not publicly opposing the proposal. This approach should allow us to shape the consultation and potential implementation in a manner that is likely to be less disruptive to all of our stakeholders, especially our auditor members.

“We understand that our audit members have been disappointed by our initial response to the Government’s Budget announcement to change SMSF audit rules. We did not intend to devalue or disregard the importance of the SMSF audit profession or the important role of the independent audit in maintaining the integrity of the SMSF sector.”

Some of the key issues raised included a discussion, based on the excellent quality of submissions received by the SMSFA, debating the cost efficiency of the measure, the integrity of the SMSF sector being detrimentally affected and how auditors play an integral role in ensuring funds are compliant through advising trustees and their accountants.

Belinda Aisbett encouraged SMSF auditors to keep providing feedback to the Association and to herself regarding their practical views on how the proposal would impact the SMSF sector. “The integrity of the sector is key, and if that is the SMSF Association’s charter and goal then we are all on the same page there. Collectively, the more voices we have that can demonstrate the impacts, this will help ensure the sector maintains its integrity.”

The SMSF Association has organised a meeting with Treasury on Monday, to which we have invited a number of members. “This will be a great opportunity to provide early direct feedback on the measure”, Maroney said.

“It is becoming clear that there may be a number of shortcomings in the policy and implementation problems that can negatively impact the SMSF sector. We will be conveying these issues, with the help of our members, to Treasury and Government. All of the discussion and input will be valuable as consultation commences with Treasury next week.”

The Association will organise more opportunities for members to provide us with direct feedback on the proposed change to shape our advocacy, especially as more detail comes to hand.