SMSF auditing should be done by an independant SMSF auditor registered with the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). Approved SMSF auditors are required to carry out the financial as well as compliance audit for the superfunds.
We look through the SMSF documentation and are checking compliance with the Income Tax Act and the Superannuation Industry Supervision Act and Regulations. These are more commonly known as the SIS Act and Regulations. They require that all super funds regardless of their size of type to be audited in two parts, a financial and a compliance audit.
There are various topics we need to look out for but some of them include the sole purpose test, financial assistance checks, prohibited borrowings check and arms length dealings.
As per the current requirement, a Self-Managed Superannuation Fund needs to be audited annually. One should also consider the following requirement regarding the SMSF audit:
- An approved independent SMSF auditor must be appointed by the SMSF trustees at least 45 days before the superannuation fund’s return is lodged at the Australian tax office (ATO).
- An SMSF audit is a mandatory requirement even when there was no contribution made and no benefit paid in the financial year.
We are responsible to ASIC for our SMSF Auditor certification and registration and are expected to maintain extremely high professional standards in the conduct of these audits.
Our audits are scheduled within a day or two of being assigned with completion within 5-10 working days. It really helps if queries are answered to quickly, allowing us to complete the work faster.
We have been able to fastrack audits previously for clients based on their requirements and state of readiness so let us know if you want your SMSF to be audited faster!
As the principal of the Auditax Audit team, Dharam spends a lot of time training and upskilling our staff to be specialised in SMSF Audit and Tax. This allows a specialist team to be assigned to SMSFs who have deeper insights into what could go wrong. There really is a perception of auditors trying to catch trustees out however on the contrary, we are there to help them identify issues before they get sent to the ATO and really cause issues in the long term.
We maintain constant communication with trustees throughout the process and because we have experience within the wider SMSF domain, we are able to provide advice on complex issues to both trustees and accountants. In a lot of cases, we find that trustees wanted to rectify the issue anyways.
This is important because a lot of the time, we find that “Magic 24 hour” auditors are really just outsourcing to foreign countries and are unable to advise trustees on anything that breaks their checklist. Whilst we do have handy checklists for quality management, our professionalism and efficiency relies on the team, not paper work.
Clouds on the independence of SMSF auditors are now cleared with the release of a new independence standard guidance by APSEB. As per the new standard, an SMSF auditor must comply with some independence requirements. SMSF trustees must know these requirements so that the self-managed super fund auditor that they select meets the independence criterion.
Threats to the SMSF auditor’s independence can be due to self-interest, self-review, intimidation, and advocacy, or familiarity, etc. which can be eliminated or reduced to an acceptable level by discontinuing the audit engagement. Things that can count as a threat to independence include the following:
- When the SMSF auditor is a trustee or director or a corporate trustee or member of the fund.
- When self-managed super fund auditor is also a relative or business partner of the trustee, director of a corporate trustee, or member of the fund.
- When the auditor has prepared the account and statement of SMSF that is being audited.
- When the auditor is reliant on the fees generated from the referral source.
- When the SMSF auditors are in a reciprocal arrangement i.e., where two SMSF auditors audit each other’s personal SMSF.
- When the auditor served as a financial or investment auditor for the funds being audited.