May 2016

SOA Automation. Tools promising 80% time savings putting pressure on offshore Paraplanners

By: Odyssey In the Press
Tags: Automation, Cost Savings, SOA

A non-institutionally owned financial planning and accounting dealer group has launched an automated Statement of Advice (SoA) tool it claims will cut the time it takes accountants to produce a range of advice documents by up to 80 per cent.

The tool produces SOA’s in five key areas:

  • stablishing a self-managed superannuation fund (SMSF);
  • borrowing to invest in real estate under a Limited Recourse Borrowing Arrangement (LBRA);
  • implementing a transition to retirement strategy;
  • concessional and non-concessional super contribution strategies; and reserving strategies.

It is reported that a complex SoA that may have previously taken five hours to prepare can now be delivered in 30 to 45 minutes using the tool.

This is an interesting time to bring this tool to market as it arrives on the cusp of the removal of the accountants’ exemption, and the requirement for accountants to operate under the new licensing regime.

With time constrained accountants having to comply with the new licensing regime, it is sure that any tools promising to increase productivity, profitability and growth will have a serious look in. More information here.

And with the ASIC deadline now less than three weeks away and little chance of an extension in the accountants’ exemption, accountants are being urged to lock in their licensing arrangements.

As reported in SMSMagazine, Midwinter has incorporated SOA’s into their AdviceOS Software, such that simple advices can be produced in under an hour, with the resulting SOA typically containing no more than 10 pages.

With the more recent trend for paraplanning services to be setup in offshore jurisdictions such as Philippines and Vietnam, it will be interesting to see whether automation will reduce costs significantly to offset the huge labour cost advantages from the use of offshore labour.

Certainly 80% time savings is going to put significant pressure on the opening of new offshore paraplanning operations, and is sure to lead to some serious reviews of previous cost benefit analysis reports.

Whether it can reduce the trend of offshore SOA compliance preparation by established providers will be something only time and further automation will reveal.