From 1 July 2016, accountants will no longer be able to rely on the "SMSF recommendation" exemption. So far in this blog series, tackling the changes, the four-stage process for licensing changes and the potential need for a limited AFSL, have been discussed.

But if a limited licence didn't sound right for you, accountants do have these other options:

1. Obtain a full AFSL

Accountants can apply for a full AFSL. In order to do so, the business would need to submit evidence that their RMs meet the regulated experience requirements demanded by ASIC – the requirement has not changed since licensing came into effect on 11 March 2004. See below about getting a full AFSL. A full AFSL allows you to recommend specific financial products to your clients.

2. Don't get an AFSL

Becoming a licensee isn't for everyone. Accountants who aren't currently licenced have made a decision to avoid the compliance burden imposed by the licensing regime, and are happy with the current exemptions available to accounts (such as the SMSF recommendation exemptions). Even under a limited AFSL, you will have to comply with a wide range of obligations. Your business will face additional internal processes, membership with an external dispute resolution scheme, further RG 146 training, increased professional indemnity costs, and more. Some accountants will review their business to ensure they stop providing any financial services prior to 30 June 2016. Remember – you can still rely on the " asset allocation" and " taxation" exemptions after this date.

3. Become an Authorised Representative

If you want to continue providing services after 30 June 2016 but want to minimise the compliance burden associated with obtaining your own AFSL, you could become an Authorised Representative (AR) of another licensee. You will have to identify a licensee that fits with your business and you will have to pay them fees, but you can access their compliance framework without building it yourself. Many accounting practices have ARs working under the same roof. Also, many financial planning dealer groups (see this example) are pitching different AR models to accountants, as an alternative to getting a full AFSL or limited AFSL.

This table briefly summarises your options:

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.