The impact of offshoring SMSF audits

Following recent conversations and visits with several accountants, we thought it timely to explore the ethical requirements of outsourcing work to overseas providers, either by sending data or allowing access to data hosted in Australia.

What do SMSF Trustees want?

A recent survey prepared by Superfund wholesale found that of 560 SMSF trustees surveyed, 95% said they would reconsider the services offered if they were advised their personal financial information would be sent offshore, while 84% were very likely to switch accountants or advisors. These stated they would forego any fee discounts to keep their personal data in Australia.

Off the bat, I should first advise that all auditing work undertaken by Partners Superannuation Services (PSS) is 100% completed in Australia at the PSS Melbourne head office by PSS employees. We have built a highly qualified and skilled team to meet our client demand.

If I engage an outsourcer do I need to tell my clients?

Yes, it is mandatory for all tax agents when outsourcing tax work and recommended by CPA, IPAA and ICAA for accountants and auditors. Guidance note 30 “outsourced services” issued by APESB outlines the firm’s recommended obligations.

What should I tell my clients?

CPA Australia has developed example wording for inclusion in all engagement letters, this includes:

  • outlining the geographic location of the outsourced service provider and the nature and extent to which outsourced services are used in the delivery of the professional service to the client
  • acceptance of the use of outsourced services as described by clients
  • ability to opt out when client does not want information accessed from overseas
  • advising that the firm will be required to take reasonable steps to ensure that the Australian Privacy Principles are complied with by the overseas recipients of the Personal information.

Partners Superannuation Services (Audit) have been busy preparing for the upcoming busy season and currently have a team of seven dedicated auditors including two ASIC registered auditors, to ensure our commitment to a 10-working day turnaround to either complete the audit or raise our audit queries.

If you would like to discuss your current Audit solution please contact Alex Swansson, Head of Audit, on 0430 006 982 or at aswansson@pwg.com.au.

Happy auditing!

This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information.