Perfected SMSF automated admin long way off

The self-managed super fund (SMSF) administrator platforms said there were significant misconceptions in the market about the role of SMSF accountants and administrators.

SuperGuardian/Xpress Super chief executive, Olivia Long, said the idea that technology is going to commoditise and simplify back office downplayed the skills, expertise, and cost of technology accountants and administrators offer SMSF trustees.

"Technology still has a long way to go before it can put pressure on the pricing for the services provided by accountants and administrators on the basis of ‘automation' It's just not that simple," Long said.

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Long noted that her firms were still manually processing 50 per cent of transactions off the source documents.

"To achieve 100 per cent automation at this stage of the game would involve limiting the platforms and products trustees use in order to achieve 100 per cent data feeds. Given one of the appealing factors of SMSFs is the flexibility of products/platform/investment, I don't think we're going to achieve the perfect automated model anytime soon," she said.

"So although other industry practitioners may be keen to apply the pricing pressure, they might be unpleasantly surprised about how far we have to go before this can be truly achieved."

SuperGuardian/Xpress Super said some of the downplayed costs included:

  • The cost of using software to achieve automation has moved from $8 per fund to $250 per fund. Making the decision to utilise the more expensive software has to achieve efficiencies to pay for the increase in expense alone before we can start passing any savings on by way of fee reductions;
  • Providing daily online reporting and ongoing reconciliation during the month as opposed to the year-end is a better, more frequent service that trustees demand — but it comes at a cost; and
  • Accountants are facing new licensing requirements and the costs this entails will need to be passed on to clients.

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