Accounting News & Blog

So, you’ve been put off SMSF? True, there have been some horror stories in the past and as an investment strategy SMSFs are certainly not for everyone but we think it’s worth revisiting for a few reasons - the laws pertaining to financial planning advice are much tighter and more controlled now than ever, for many investors SMSF can provide excellent benefits compared to APRA regulated Superannuation Funds and new research shows that cost is likely to be less than you think.


Prior to the changes in government regulations for SMSF Advisors, accountants at Rowe Partners Accountants & Business Advisors helped many clients set up their own SMSF assisting with paperwork and fund administration to ensure they remained compliant with the ATO and looked after their retirement savings. Today, our Rowe Partners Financial Planning business takes on much of that work.


The key with SMSF and for any investment strategy for that matter, is to ensure you get comprehensive advice and consider the pros and cons before making a move. Rowe Partners can help you determine likely costs, assess your level of financial expertise as required to self-manage your investments and assess if you’ve got the time required to build and manage your portfolio so that it's profitable and will deliver on expectations. So, speaking with your accountant at Rowe Partners Accountants & Business Advisors is the perfect starting point. In the meantime, let's answer a couple of general queries you may have.


Why should I care what happens to my super?

If you’re a homeowner, besides your house, your super is likely the most valuable financial asset you own. If you’ve been in the workforce for some time but don’t own a property, it’s quite possibly the only significant asset you own. At some point in your life, you will need to rely on these savings to support you in retirement. It’s important to protect it! It’s also important to leverage it to improve your financial position over time so that when you need it, you have significant accumulated financial resources to draw on. This can be done in many ways such as shares, property, resources, managed employer superannuation funds, even investing in precious gems and metals but today we’re talking about SMSF.


Is SMSF risky?

Any investment strategy presents risk. The key is to be aware of the risks and manage for them. Today, SMSF is safer than ever due to increased scrutiny by regulators. We’ve always adopted a professional and ethical approach to SMSF advice but in the pre-regulation environment, it was not uncommon for investors to lose money at the hands of unscrupulous, unqualified operators encouraging people to use SMSF as a way (illegally) to access secured superannuation funds and invest in property they themselves had personal interest in. Values and returns were frequently overstated and, in some cases, properties never even existed. People were being duped out of valuable retirement savings and so it was necessary for the Government to step in and tighten things up.


Can I set up my own SMSF?

The short answer is yes. The better answer is unless you’re very financially astute, you probably shouldn’t. There are many legal requirements on SMSF Directors for the fund to be compliant and remain so. Failure to comply attracts significant penalties and not investing adequate time and effort to research, plan and implement your investment strategy could potentially lead to administrative oversights, poor investment choices and even lower returns. Let us help you get it right.


How much money do you need to start an SMSF?

This is a question that we are asked very often. New research has been released showing the true costs of running an SMSF. It has been shown to be less than first thought. For several years regulators maintained that the minimum amount needed to set up a viable SMSF is $200,000. Under the right circumstances, it’s possible to set up an SMSF quite early and with funds enough cover initial setup costs. The research highlights that SMSFs with a low complexity can begin to become cost-effective at $100,000.


The findings of the research allow SMSF trustees and potential SMSF trustees to compare appropriate estimates of fees for differing SMSF balances with institutional superannuation funds (commonly referred to as APRA regulated funds). This helps significantly to guide decision making and in determining both the viability and likely performance of an SMSF. The costs include establishment, annual compliance costs, statutory fees and some investment management fees. Direct investment fees have been excluded.


What does the research tell us?


  • SMSFs with $100,000 to $150,000 are competitive with APRA regulated funds (SMSFs of this size can be competitive provided the Trustees use one of the cheaper service providers or undertake some of the administration themselves).

  • SMSFs with $200,000 to $500,000s are competitive with APRA regulated funds even for full administration. (SMSFs above $250,000 become a competitive alternative provided the Trustees undertake some of the administration, or, if seeking full administration, choose one of the cheaper services).

  • SMSFs with $500,000 or more are generally the cheapest alternative regardless of the administrative options taken. (For SMSFs with only accumulation accounts, the fees at all complexity levels are lower than the lowest fees of APRA regulated funds).

This research highlights that SMSFs with a low complexity can begin to become cost-effective at $100,000. This is a significant departure from what many had believed to be the case. For simple funds, $200,000 is a point where SMSFs can become cost-competitive with APRA regulated funds or even cheaper if a low-cost admin provider is used. With the proposed expansion to six-member SMSFs, we may see many more take up this option at this threshold.


Comparing 2 member funds

From a cost perspective, the real benefit of an SMSF is when it achieves scale in balance and this can occur when members pool their superannuation savings. The below comparison can be used to grasp the ranges you might fall into.



Always remember, cost is not the only consideration.

When determining whether an SMSF is right for you, your analysis must go further than just a simple comparison of the costs versus APRA Regulated Funds. It should also factor in your retirement and income goals and whether you have the desire, time, and expertise to take on the role of an SMSF trustee. It’s also worth factoring in SMSF members may not receive the same level of protection in the event of theft or fraud that members in APRA regulated funds do.


How can we help?

If you would like to discuss whether an SMSF is right for you, please feel free to give Chad, Patrick or Robert a call on 1800 04 7693. Alternatively, you can refer to the SMSF Association’s trustee education platform, SMSF Connect.

The ATO is increasing pressure on employers to comply with obligations and make Super Guarantee payments on time, every time. You need to be aware of your obligations and put systems in place to ensure you remain compliant.

Innocent oversights (that can happen all too easily when people get busy) will attract the same penalties as deliberate non-compliance so it's better to be safe than sorry. In future, there will be little leeway for businesses failing to make required payments by the due date and you could face hefty fines for failure to comply. So please note carefully that; The ATO website states "if you don't pay the minimum amount of super guarantee (SG) for your employee (s) into the correct fund by the due date you may have to pay the super guarantee charge (SGC) which is not tax-deductible." The charge is made up of shortfall amounts, interest (currently 10%) and an administration fee of $20 per employee, per quarter." Why risk paying late fees, charges and super payments not being deductible when you can be on time every time? Engage Rowe Partners today to handle all your business bookkeeping needs for you. By engaging us as your outsourced business bookkeeping and payroll service provider, you can have greater peace of mind knowing your obligations to staff and the ATO are met and you can reclaim precious time in your day to do other, more enjoyable things. Rowe Partners ensure all your staff Super payments are made and reports completed on time keeping you in the ATO good books. Our rates are affordable and our team is always there to support. They will have you up and running in no time flat and meeting all your Super deadlines. The systems, support and processes we set up for you are tailored to suit your specific circumstances.

Call 1800 04 7693 today!

When you call, ask us about our range of service options for;

  • Fully outsourced business bookkeeping services - affordable red carpet treatment!

  • Pain-free payroll with expert support.

  • Cloud-based tech solutions to integrate with Xero for a super sleek, efficient system.

  • New business set up and systems to make sure you're fully compliant from day one.

If this year has taught us anything, it’s that time is precious, nothing and no one should be taken for granted.


We run a fast-paced business. At times, especially during tax season, things get crazy. But at the end of the year, at Christmas, we make sure to switch off. We close the doors so that we, the Partners, Associates, and all our staff take some well-deserved time for rejuvenation and connection. This break is written into the calendars in ink and we’ve taken it every year of the 30 plus years that we’ve been in business.


How about giving yourself and your loved ones the gift of time this year for Christmas too. We’re not talking watches here. We’re talking about finding time and space in your day, your week, your life so you can focus on things and people that really matter to you. We thought we’d share some tips, tricks and time-saving tech that will help you do it.

Partner Chad McKnight squeezes every drop out of life. In the spirit of Christmas, he’s sharing his 12 tips for leveraging tech to keep those ever-present pressures from business under control.


Cloud based computing and apps have revolutionised the workplace. Chad says there’s really no excuse for chaos and disorganisation in the workplace anymore. Along with efficient, accurate Cloud-based Accounting Systems such as Xero have come a great range of easily integrated Apps specifically designed to do things better, simpler, and faster, giving business owners more time.


1st Day of Xmas

If you don’t yet have cloud accounting, then talk to us about setting you up with Xero. Xero offers a vast range of features that will quite literally save you time such as;

  • simplicity and ease of use

  • automatic bank feeds

  • invoice reminders

  • Software and app integrations

  • Portable access via mobile devices

  • Supported by an expert bookkeeping team at Rowe Partners

Xero Cashbook plans from $10/month and Xero Business Plans from $25/month.


Get ready to rock and roll now for 2021, talk to us today about your cloud-accounting and bookkeeping needs.


2nd Day of Xmas If you need payroll, then let’s turn on Xero Payroll and you’ll be putting your feet up on the couch in no time.

  • Quick and simple

  • No more manually updating tax tables

  • Employee Portal so they can;

  • Submit timesheets

  • Put in leave requests

  • Download their own timesheets.

  • Single Touch Payroll and Auto Super all done at the press of a button.

Xero Payroll Starter Plan grows with you. Free to start with 1 employee,

4 employees $29/month to $65/month for 5 employees.


3rd Day of Xmas

Have you got paperwork everywhere? Treat yourself to ReceiptBank.

  • Use of OCR technology and AI to code receipts and attach to the source payment in Xero.

  • No more need for paper filing.

  • If you know how to use a mobile phone camera, ReceiptBank will do the rest;

  • ReceiptBank scans picking up dates, invoice numbers, amounts, suppliers and GST amounts, a real timesaver for those purchases with Part GST/Part GST Free amounts.

Ask us about the special offer on ReceiptBank from $10 per month for Rowe Partners clients.


4th Day of Xmas

Buy yourself time and get paid faster with Stripe! Provide payment options on invoices such as Stripe is known to speed up payment times by up to 35%. The faster you get paid, the less time and money you’ll spend chasing payments. Get Stripe from 1.75% + $.30 per transaction.


5th Day of Xmas

It’s hip to be Square. If you run a retail shop or café, treat yourself to a Square Point of Sale card reader system. Allowing payments via credit card, Square is connected to your cash register and directly feeds your sales data into your Xero accounts via an iPad, its own reader, or your mobile phone.


Wow! You can get Square from only 1.6% to 1.9% payment processing fee per transaction.


6th Day of Xmas

Talk about tradie heaven! If you’re a tradie, jump onto Service M8/Tradify to keep up with all your jobs on the go. These mobile Apps will help you to keep track of jobs, staff and give you back hours as all your “paperwork” can be done in system as you go.


Service M8 starts at $29 per month and Tradify starts at $39 per month.


7th Day of Xmas

Take control of your inventory with Unleashed. Specifically designed to manage stock levels, pricing and margins, Unleashed will ensure you know what you have in stock and where it is. No more long days stock taking. With the use of a barcode scanner you can instantly see how many items you should have at any time.


Get Unleashed from only $219 per month.


8th Day of Xmas

Save yourself time notifying all your customers on your latest special or stock item with Mailchimp. Mailchimp helps you design email newsletters, share them on social networks, integrate with services you already use, and track your results.


Mailchimp offers free entry level options. Start small and free then scale up when you need.


9th Day of Xmas

Working from home or involved in meeting out of town? Embrace online meeting and conferencing platforms like Microsoft Teams or Zoom. Save yourself hours of travel to do what can be done via your computer. Both products allow you to conduct your meeting over mobile phone as well as your desktop apps - options for one on one meetings through to larger groups, record sessions, share documents and images, screen sharing, free to use or advanced options by subscription.


Our online services are free! All you need is a good internet connection and computer with videocam.


10th Day of Xmas

Handle HR like a pro with Enable HR. Ditch the filing cabinets and store your policies, procedures, and employment contracts all in one place. From only $7.50 per month/per employee – min 10 employees.


11th Day of Xmas

Creating a more efficient workspace will save you a great deal of time. Add a 2nd or 3rd computer monitor to your desk (all ergonomically positioned of course) and you’ll be able to see more on screen and manage multiple tasks at once.


12th day of Xmas

Create a true sense of freedom. Treat yourself with a fully outsourced business bookkeeping solution. Team up with our Rowe Partners Bookkeeping Service and save yourself hundreds of hours a year. Time you can use on doing more of the fun stuff with the people you love. Our expert Bookkeepers work with these software systems and apps every day, they know them inside and out and understand exactly how to leverage them for maximise the benefit to you. Buy yourself time. It’s more affordable than you think!


Get a total, tailored, stress less Rowe Partners business bookkeeping service from as little as $200 per month. Note that these are general suggestions and ideas only. Before investing in any significant change to your business or tech solution, please talk to us about your specific needs and to determine accurate pricing for your individual circumstances. We’ll help ensure you are set up for success.


Check out our website at https://www.rowepartners.com.au/bookkeeping or call us on 1800 04 7693 for more information.


Wishing you a very merry, Covid-safe Christmas and a better (less stressful) year next year!

Level 1, 4 Smart Rd

PO Box 570

Modbury SA 5092

33 Florence St

PO Box 639
Port Pirie SA 5540

8 Church St

PO Box 2247
Port Augusta SA 5700

Murray Bridge

Ground floor, 30 Seventh St

C/- PO Box 570
Modbury SA 5092

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Rowe Partners Pty Ltd (ACN 105 365 688) as an agent for Rowe Partners Partnership (ABN 65 250 711 759). Directors: R P McDonald FCPA, C R McKnight FCPA, P J Connolly MIPA, F B Cammarano AIPA, M R Nutt CPA. Liability limited by a scheme approved under Professional Standards Legislation other than for the acts or omissions of financial services licensees.

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