• How financial advisors can build trust

    August 24, 2018

    A local accounting firm is aiming to restore trust in financial planning following the troubling revelations of the Financial Services Royal Commission.

    Knight Public Accountants recently became an authorised representative of an AFS license holder as a value-add for its clients, which Director Lara Knight said was well timed given the number of enquiries generated by the Royal Commission.

    “Our clients have been asking, ‘how do I know I can trust my financial adviser is working in my best interests?’,” Ms Knight said. “But that is not an easy question to answer.”

    “The starting point is considering the qualifications and professional associations of your adviser and whether they have any potential conflicts of interest - for example, do they sell financial products such as loans or insurance?”

    The industry is changing. Currently, to become a financial planner, applicants for an Australian Financial Services license require a Diploma of Financial Planning, but from 2019, new entrants must have a Bachelor Degree.

    “That’s a positive for consumers. Looking after a person’s life savings is a huge responsibility and the education and training of the people in the financial services industry should reflect that,” Ms Knight said.

    As part of the SMSF Adviser Network, Knight Public Accountants can offer advice on superannuation-based products, which is a valuable addition to its suite of business and tax services, which includes auditing for small clubs, associations and charities.

    “Traditionally, audits have always been seen as a compliance requirement, but at Knight Public Accountants, we feel the value they provide is far greater than that,” said Ms Knight.

    “Audits can serve as an independent examination of transactions, processes and controls, such as the way that cash is handled. They are also a tool to facilitate growth and to help extract value from the business.”

    Knight Public Accountants was founded in 2002 by Ian Knight to offer taxation services to the general public.

    With the addition of his daughter Lara and son Alex, the business has widened its scope to include accounting, auditing and bookkeeping as well as general advice and consultation.

    Importantly, Knight Public Accountants is up-to-date with the latest accounting technology, such as the cloud-based business and accounting software, Xero.

    “We strive to add value for our clients,” said Ms Knight. “The information and analysis that we provide can have tangible outcomes for businesses and a real impact on the bottom line.”

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