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Frequently Asked Questions

 

Note: Accountant licensing is a complex area.  Please also refer to our detailed ‘Safe Use Guides’ which set out how an unlicensed accountant can comply with the tighter licensing environment since 1 July 2016 in a safe yet cost effective manner. To request a copy of the Safe Use Guides please contact us.

Does A.S.A.P. have its own Australian Financial Services License?

ASAP Advice Pty Ltd (“A.S.A.P.”) is a Corporate Authorised Representative No. 1248127 of Interprac Financial Planning Pty Ltd, Australian Financial Services License No. 246638.

Statements of Advice from A.S.A.P. are provided under this AFSL. A.S.A.P. and Interprac sub-authorise the advisers providing the advice. For more information, refer to our Financial Service Guide.

Would our accounting firm be a licensee of A.S.A.P? Or is our role purely introducing the client to A.S.A.P. to request a Statement of Advice?

No, A.S.A.P. are not licensing you to give advice. By using A.S.A.P. you are making a referral to a digital adviser and it is our advisers who sign off the advice to your client. Just like referrals to a human adviser there must be a clear divide between your accounting service and the service of the licensed adviser.

Once our Statement of Advice (SoA) is issued, the accountant is then able to help the client implement those recommendations.

Do we require any of the usual compliance information such as FSG documents, dispute resolution procedures etc or is this all included with your SoA being a direct service to the client?

A.S.A.P. provide the licensed advice service to the client. As such the client needs to be given our Financial Services Guide which contains our dispute resolution process and professional indemnity insurance etc.

In relation to advertising, are we able to advertise we offer SMSF advice if using your service, or is there any branding etc we can use on our website from your firm to show potential clients we have this service available?

You can tell your customers that you offer SMSF accounting services but you cannot give an impression that you provide financial product advice unless you have an AFSL. By registering with A.S.A.P. you can say you work with us and that we can provide financial product advice when your clients require it. Please contact us to receive a copy of our document ‘Explaining the A.S.A.P. service to clients’.

Are A.S.A.P. covered for public indemnity in relation to all advice issued under the SoA and where do we sit within that cover in the event of an error or dispute arising?

Yes. A.S.A.P. are covered by PI insurance which covers the scope of our financial product advice in our SoA. We are responsible for the recommendations provided in our SoA. You still need your own PI insurances for the accounting and tax services you provide.

Can I answer specific questions the client asks?

Yes, providing you provide factual information, tax advice or compliance advice only (see our Safe Use Guide 1) and take care not to influence, suggest or endorse any particular decisions or transactions. We recommend accountants undergo training in this area and have agreed a discounted rate for the L4A online module “Where the licensing line lies”.

 

Could I use A.S.A.P. even though I have my own license?

There is no reason an adviser can’t refer to another adviser so long as the client understands who is responsible for that advice. However ASIC Information Note 216 says that accountants who are operating under an AFS license are unable to use the tax advice exemption on products that are covered by their license. Therefore if you are delivering tax advice via a licensed entity you must give that tax advice through your license (i.e. through an SoA or written record of advice) which may negate the benefit of using A.S.A.P.

Could I use A.S.A.P. with a client who is not present in the room with me (e.g. by telephone)?

Yes, we have a PDF version of the online scoping tool which is designed so that you can email to the client and talk it through by phone together. You would then enter this information to the A.S.A.P. system on the client’s behalf.

 

The client will receive our confirmation of scope letter to sign and confirm these decisions once they have had a chance to re-read what was agreed and ensure they are comfortable with who will take responsibility for each decision.

Clients also need to complete the A.S.A.P. Client Questionnaire (‘fact find’) and will receive a copy of our Statement of Advice by email.

Once a client has received a Statement of Advice from A.S.A.P., am I able to help them to implement the transaction?

Yes. Once the client has received an SOA the accountant can assist the client with implementing those recommendations under (advised) client instruction. E.g. completing a rollover form or paperwork to start a pension. The accountant can also explain the information in the forms.

Accountants can supply a trust deed prepared by lawyers and arrange to set up the SMSF but they should not be drafting the documents themselves unless legally qualified.

If an accountant is merely completing forms on the instruction of the client then the accountant will not be ‘dealing by arranging’ . An exemption in regulation 7.1.29(3)(f) provides that conduct in relation to interests in an SMSF that would otherwise amount to ‘dealing by arranging’ is exempt from licensing if certain conditions are met. These are:

  • The person receiving the service is, or is likely to become, the trustee (or director of a corporate trustee); and
  • Other than for the purpose of compliance with the SIS Act, the accountant does not give any advice on acquiring or disposing of a superannuation product, investments, rollovers or contribution levels.

This exemption does not apply to financial products other than SMSFs, such as rollovers,

This SMSF exemption does not apply to rolling over an existing superannuation fund as that would constitute the disposal of a financial product that is not an SMSF.

There is a fine line between merely providing administrative assistance and ‘arranging to deal’. ASIC considers a person to be ’arranging to deal’ if their involvement is of sufficient importance that without them, the transaction would not have taken place. If the client communicates with you as a key person to acquire an investment or arrange a superannuation rollover beyond just completing and sending forms, you are more likely to be ‘arranging to deal’ and require a license authorisation.

Passing on money or forms will not amount to ‘arranging to deal’, unless the accountant is being paid a commission or benefit if the client enters into the product. ASIC considers that, whilst accountants can receive a fee from the client for their time, receipt of benefits that relate to whether a transaction proceeds suggests a more active involvement in the transaction.

Additional question: How do the laws on ‘arranging’ apply to accountants who refer their clients to planners, particularly digital advisers?

  • Referral to a financial planner

Providing that an unlicensed accountant stays within the rules in terms of their conversation with the client, they are able to introduce the client to A.S.A.P. as a referral to an independent financial adviser.

They can also assist the client in deciding the scope of advice required.

Accountants are able to provide a service of passing on advice as per Corporations Act regulation 7.1.31. However they must make it clear A.S.A.P. is giving the advice and they themselves are separate to that advice and cannot provide any recommendations or endorsements of the client’s decisions.

Accountants can assist the client in understanding any factual terms and information requested in forms/questionnaires. However they cannot make any statements about what the ultimate advice will be nor influence the client’s answers.

  • Implementing the advice

Once the client has received an SOA the accountant can assist the client with implementing those recommendations under (advised) client instruction. Refer to the previous FAQ above.

 

Who can use A.S.A.P?

The Accountants Scaled Advice Platform is designed to be used by experienced accountants and tax practitioners and is likely to suit the needs of relatively confident self-managed clients. A.S.A.P. reserve the right to deny the membership of unsuitable applicants. A.S.A.P. is not able to be used by trustees directly without the support of an accountant.

Does it cost to register?

Registering is free of charge and there are no ongoing fees. A.S.A.P. offers a purely pay-as-you-use service.

How do I invite employees to join my A.S.A.P. account?

You will be prompted to invite colleagues during the initial registration process. Otherwise, you can manually add staff to your account by clicking the ‘Users’ button under the ‘Company’ heading in the menu on your dashboard.

What payment methods does A.S.A.P. offer?

Accountants can opt to pay via credit card at the time of ordering or generate an invoice to be paid at a later date. Invoices can be addressed to the accounting firm, the clients or their SMSF.

Please note that we do not accept cheques or standard bank transfers. We do allow bank transfers via POLi payments, a subsidiary of Australia Post and Australia’s leading real-time online debit payment system

How long do I have to pay?

A.S.A.P. invoices are to be paid within 14 days of issue. Payment instructions are disclosed in the invoice.

 

S390 Certificates

What is the cost of an s390 certificate?

A.S.A.P. provides s390 certificates for $120+GST . Also check our current promotional rates on our Promotions page

How long until I receive my certificate?

A.S.A.P.’s intelligent 3 factor authentication identifies potential input errors and notifies you before the certificate is finalised. This means less applications require staff review, drastically increasing the likelihood you will receive your results instantly without compromising quality. In the case where more information is required, A.S.A.P. staff will be in contact within 3 hours of the order being submitted.

Can I amend a certificate if details change? Does this cost?

A.S.A.P. offers unlimited amendments, free of charge.

Can I cancel a certificate application?

Applications can be cancelled free of charge up any time before the certificate is completed. To cancel an s390 certificate request, simply ‘View’ an order from your dashboard/certificate list and click ‘Delete’.

 

Can I order an actuarial certificate for part of a financial year?

As per section 295-390 of the ITAA 1997, actuarial certificates are only able to be issued for a full financial year. The exception being where the fund was wound up during the financial year.

Defined Benefit Adequacy Reports

What is the cost of a defined benefit adequacy report?

A.S.A.P. defined benefit adequacy reports cost at $250+GST.

How long after submission will I receive my report?

We endeavor to have the completed defined pension report returned to you within 3 days of submission.

Does A.S.A.P. accept financial reports as a form of application?

Yes! A.S.A.P. can generate our report upon receipt of a report/form that contains all of the following data:

 

  • the fund and member/s names,
  • the opening balances of each account,
  • the dates and amounts of the pension payments, contribution and withdrawals,
  • the dates and amounts of any pension commenced or rolled back during the year,
  • the 30 June market value of the fund (before tax), and
  • a copy of the most recent defined benefit report completed for your fund.

Does A.S.A.P. accept competitor's application forms?

Yes!

What types of advice does A.S.A.P. offer?

A.S.A.P. commonly provides product advice on the following SMSF transactions:

  • Starting or winding up of an SMSF,
  • Rollovers into an SMSF,
  • Additional contributions (concessional or non-concessional),
  • Starting or commuting a pension, and
  • Limited recourse borrowing arrangements (LRBAs).

What does a Statement of Advice cost?

Statement of Advice+ Rollovers (additional fee)
SMSF Establishment$250+GST+$100 per rollover+GST

Our fixed fee pricing model is simple and covers most transactional statements of advice.  Should more complex advice be required we will discuss your clients needs with you.  E.g.  More than two members in a fund.

PRICING EXAMPLE

John and Sue request advice on whether to establish an SMSF – including whether to roll their existing superannuation accounts into the SMSF.

John and Sue each have 1 existing industry super account.

*Statements of Advice are normally prepared for a household. In this case, John and Sue will be covered under the same Statement of Advice.

In this scenario, the pricing will be as follows:

Statement of Advice:     $250

Rollover for John:          $100

Rollover for Sue:            $100

                                                          

Total advice cost:          $450+GST

How long until I receive my Statement of Advice?

The Statement of Advice will be delivered 3 days from when we receive all of the client information needed to process the request, including from funds being rolled over.

What client information do I need to provide A.S.A.P?

A.S.A.P. require the following information from your client in order to provide a Statement of Advice:

SETTING UP A CLIENT

  • Client contact information (Eg. name, DOB, address),
  • Scanned, authenticated copy of ID documents, and
  • A filled out, signed copy of the A.S.A.P. ‘Letter of Authority’ form (only required if there are rollovers).
  • CLIENT QUESTIONNAIRE

    • Information on the client objectives,
    • Personal information (Eg. health status, financial dependents),
    • Client financial position (Eg. employment status),
    • Existing super fund details, and
    • Superannuation preferences and decisions

    Can I cancel an SoA order?

    Orders can be cancelled or archived free of charge up any time before the certificate is completed. To cancel an SoA request, simply ‘View’ an order from your dashboard, navigate to the ‘Checklist’ and click ‘Delete/Archive’.

    Can I have my clients sign 'execution only' disclaimers instead of receiving financial product advice?

    Only if your clients has done all their own research and genuinely made their own decisions before consulting with you would this be appropriate. More often than not, clients are looking for peace of mind; secure in the knowledge that your professional guidance is right for their financial needs and circumstances.Continuing to meet your clients’ needs into the future involves more than just providing factual information, it requires the ability to provide your clients with meaningful advice. If you don’t have an AFSL then that financial product advice must be referred to a license holder such as A.S.A.P. 

    Pros and Cons of SMSFs

    For your convenience, we have produced a one page Pros and Cons guide to having an SMSF.

    If you have any queries or require more information, please call the A.S.A.P. support team on 03 6240 1575.