CPA Australia has released a new fact sheet and frequently asked questions resource to address uncertainty around the recently restructured APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants.
In essence, the new code makes it clear that an SMSF auditor cannot audit an SMSF where the auditor, their staff or their firm has prepared the financial statements for the SMSF unless it is a routine or mechanical service.
As accounting firms typically offer a complete administration service to SMSF trustees, they may now need to choose between non-assurance services including tax and compliance advice, and audit services.
While the changes kicked in last year, the ATO has committed to adopting an educative approach during the current financial year to allow firms to restructure and adapt to the new requirements.
CPA Australia general manager of external affairs Dr Jane Rennie said the new fact sheet and FAQs were intended to help the profession ahead of impending ATO web guidance due to arrive next month.
“There’s still a lot of confusion about how the new SMSF auditor independence requirements apply,” said Dr Rennie. “The ATO will provide technical detail in coming months, but they’re relying on organisations like CPA Australia to fill in some of the blanks.”
“Our FAQs are based on questions we’ve been hearing from members and have been fact checked with the ATO and APESB. They address real issues that auditors and trustees are likely to face and provide practical guidance.”
“The fact sheet we developed will help auditors determine if they can still provide non-assurance services and trustees to know which services their accounting firm can deliver,” she added.
“If you provide services to SMSF audit clients, we strongly advise you take a look at these resources now, as the window to withdraw from prohibited services is closing and clients will need time to engage a new provider if necessary.”
Jotham Lian is the editor of Accountants Daily, the leading source of breaking news, analysis and insight for Australian accounting professionals.
Before joining the team in 2017, Jotham wrote for a range of national mastheads including the Sydney Morning Herald, and Channel NewsAsia.