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Automated data feeds a 'double-edged sword' for auditors

A recent article in SMSF Adviser suggests automated data feeds have both a positive and negative effect on the accuracy of client data.

Automated data feeds have led to efficiency improvements for auditors processing SMSFs however at the same time they are causing some significant headaches for auditors and are compromising the accuracy of data, making data feeds a ‘double-edged sword’ for auditors.

Auditors should be careful to not take data feeds at face value and ensure that when tracked information is provided by feeds, the information is manually checked and verified to ensure it is correct.

SMSF auditors should be checking data feeds to ensure there are no gaps where data feeds may have dropped out and should also ensure time frames and bank statements cover the correct periods.

As well as this, SMSF auditors should be checking that assets and bank accounts for the funds are correctly recorded and that the balances on bank statements all match.

While automated data feeds are saving a great deal of time for SMSF auditors it’s important to be aware that processes & audit steps should still be followed and the verification of information is critical to ensure all the funds that have passed through the SMSF are genuine and correct.

See original article here

New SMSF returns are due 28th February. 

As most of the industry will be aware, the annual return for new SMSFs is due on the 28th February 2017. 

If you’re in the process of arranging an annual return for a new SMSF, there are plenty of things to keep in mind. 

Considerations such as whether the SMSF needs to lodge, any establishment costs and the status of the fund should be reviewed ahead of this deadline. 

How do you know whether you need to do an annual return for a new SMSF?

Due to the fact that SMSFs are a type of trust and deposits of cash are made into a super fund bank account, a new SMSF will require financial statements and tax returns regardless of the size of the fund. 

All SMSFs need their financial statements audited annually by a registered super fund auditor for compliance and with the 28th February deadline looming it’s important that any new fund gets their return organised to ensure no red flags are raised. 

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SMSF compliance - balancing automation with price pressures

Managing compliance requirements with the rise of automation and price pressures can be a serious balancing act for SMSF auditors.

As auditors experience the pressure to reduce their audit fees to meet with a competitive market, there is an increased pressure from the ATO and the Australian Auditing Standards to maintain the same high level of integrity and quality. This pressure is a challenge for auditors who are already under pressure to master & comply with new technologies.

SMSF accountants and administrators are embracing the cloud-based technology integration of electronic data feeds, which provides more efficient ways to gather and share real-time data. These real-time feeds provide valuable information about fund information as it happens.

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Misuse of SMSF auditor numbers surfacing via ATO

A number of auditors have approached the ATO with serious concerns their auditor numbers are being misused on SMSF annual returns they were not responsible for.

This startling revelation has been revealed as the ATO admits there is nervousness from within the SMSF auditing community that misuse is being detected due to administrative error but also misappropriation of auditor’s numbers.

In an act to monitor the misuse, SMSF auditors can email the ATO directly to be sent a list of the annual returns on which their numbers have been recorded allowing a more stringent monitoring of SMSF number use. Due to privacy reasons, this list cannot be sent automatically to auditors and should be manually requested by each SMSF auditor.

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