“Financial Planning was Primarily an Accountant’s Domain!”

Whilst there was some superannuation available in Australia prior to 1983 it was basically organised by employers with advice from accountants.

In 1983 the Federal Government introduced compulsory superannuation with contributions originally at 3% of salary now 9.5% of salary.

This event heralded the commencement of “independent businesses” advising individuals and superannuation funds on their investments.

Most accountants, including myself, ignored the new “financial planning” businesses and thought that client loyalty would preserve the status quo.

This didn’t happen – the accountancy profession significantly underestimated the emergence of a whole new industry – “Financial Planning for Individuals and Self-Managed Superannuation Funds”.

In December 2016 that new investment category has grown to $2.2 trillion, making Australia the fourth largest holder of pension fund assets in the world.



In 2016 the average Australian accounting firm earned 6.3% to 7.2% of its income from financial planning (benchmarking.com 2016 Accountants Survey).  This resulted in actual income for most firms of $134,000-$208,000.                                                                                                                   

Not the bonanza that accountants would have earned if they had grasped the opportunity in 1983.

Why am I sharing this history with you?

Today we have a similar situation emerging…. it’s called “Business Advisory Services”.  Small/medium enterprises are looking for a wider range of services that will add value to their businesses.  Very few small/medium enterprises see value in taxation services.

In the main SMEs want more than taxation advice from their key advisor; they want advice that will help them to add value to their business.

Over the last 30 years many small/medium enterprises told the Federal government that they wanted the ability to raise capital from the public.

The initial response from the Federal government was to introduce Section 708 of the Corporations Code, which enables companies to raise up to $2 million from a maximum of 20 investors every 12 months.

Whilst appreciative of this opportunity many small/medium enterprises found this legislation restrictive and continued to agitate for a more relaxed way of raising capital.

Small/medium enterprises told the government that they were “sick of borrowing money to finance their business visions” and wanted the ability to be able to present their proposals to the public and to be able to raise capital from the public.

In December 2015 the Federal government announced that they had been listening to small/medium enterprises and that the government would legislate for two new types of companies:

  • Early Stage Innovation Companies
  • Crowd-Sourced Funding Companies

Early-Stage Innovation Companies’ ability to raise capital commenced in July 2016.

Crowd-Sourced Funding Companies will be able to have their Offer Documents displayed on a Crowd-Sourced Funding Intermediary’s website from 29 September 2017.

Early Stage Innovation Company legislation is designed to primarily assist young companies, (up to 3 years old), engaged in the development of a new product, process or service to raise capital from investors who will be able to obtain a tax offset on their investment of up to $200,000 for a sophisticated investor and $10,000 for a retail investor.

Crowd-Sourced Funding is for a company, irrespective of its age or industry, which can raise up to $5 million every 12 months with no limit on the amount of investment from a sophisticated investor and an upper limit of $10,000 every 12 months from a retail investor.

However, no company will be able to raise capital unless it has produced a series of documents that the investing public will require.

Assisting companies trying to raise capital should be a “given” for accountants!  After all the companies are going to require:

  • Business Plans
  • Budgets
  • Cashflow Forecasts
  • Information Memorandum
  • Offer Documents

and most of them will be looking for an ongoing virtual chief financial officer service, company secretary, share register services.

Yet the response from the accounting industry for this potential “new income stream” has been very subdued.

These types of business advisory services activities should be an accountant’s domain!

Do you want to be sitting around in a few years’ time saying “Once upon a time Business Advisory Services was an accountant’s domain”?

For businesses there will always be a requirement to lodge an income tax return but with ongoing changes by the Australian Taxation Office and greater competitive pressure from businesses in Australia and overseas the taxation return industry is becoming more of a commodity every day.

Business advisory services give you the opportunity to diversify some of your accountancy business’ income; but that opportunity will not be around for ever.  Just as in 1983 a government decision led to the creation of a whole new group of businesses supplying financial planning advice, if accountants do not offer the services that small/medium enterprises require then another new industry will emerge that does supply the services that the small/medium enterprise market requires.

Why not join us for an obligation free webinar “Adding Value to Your Clients with Business Advisory Services in Particular Assistance with formation of Early Stage Innovation Companies and Crowd-Sourced Funding Companies” on Wednesday 7th June 2017 at 12:30pm (AEST)  Please (Click here) to register or go to our website www.essbiztools.com.au.

Want to know more?  You can find out more details on the total package that we offer by going to www.essbiztools.com.au where you could apply for a free 30-day guest login or, you can view individual product packages that we have developed at www.essbasip.com.au for:

  • Crowd Sourced Funding Equity Package or
  • Early-Stage Innovation Company Package

If you have any questions on any of the services offered by ESS BIZTOOLS, ESS BASIP or ESS BIZGRANTS please do not hesitate to contact us at peter@essbiztools.com.au or phone 1800 232 088.





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Episode 112 –“Financial Planning was Primarily an Accountant’s Domain!”     

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Peter Towers

The accountancy profession is changing… some would say quite dramatically, in that accountants are being continually advised to expand the range of services being offered to their SME clients, beyond the traditional income tax, corporate compliance and audit work“. Peter Towers, CEO ESS BIZTOOLS Click to download your free copy of “Surviving the Emerging Accounting Profession Challenge

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