Every self-managed superannuation fund in Australia will need to undergo an annual audit prior to lodging their tax return. Choosing the right SMSF auditor for you is one of the most important parts of this process – so here’s all you’ll need to know to get started.
What is an SMSF audit?
If you run a self-managed superannuation fund (an SMSF), it’s your responsibility to ensure that a registered SMSF auditor audits your fund on an annual basis.
In Australia, a registered SMSF auditor is monitored by the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). The role of an SMSF auditor is to examine the accuracy of an SMSF’s financial records to ensure the fund is compliant with superannuation rules and legislation.
Choosing the right SMSF auditor for you
Before enlisting the services of an SMSF auditor, it’s imperative that you ask a few key questions about their experience and industry accreditation.
Every SMSF auditor in Australia is required to be registered with the Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC) – so asking this question before hiring your SMSF auditor is the best place to start.
Ensuring your selected SMSF auditors’ workplace is valid or has a strong reputation is another good idea. This can help you decode whether you’ll be dealing with your SMSF auditor directly, or if you’ll be working with a team who will outsource your fund to another organisation altogether.
Logistics are another important thing to ascertain before confirming your SMSF auditor. For instance, how will you ensure your documentation remains confidential when you transfer or send it to your auditor for the audit? Are there secure systems in place so your information won’t be leaked? Emailing documents can be a risky task when it comes to these matters of security, so it’s important to be aware of the risks associated with certain SMSF auditor’s procedures and ways of working.
Lastly, understanding the turnaround time your SMSF auditor will need is also extremely important. If your lodgement deadline is fast approaching, you need to be certain that your SMSF audit will be completed with time to spare for you to complete your return.
The process of enlisting an SMSF auditor
Before an audit can begin, a representative of the SMSF (ideally the owner) needs to provide the auditor with information about transactions and bank accounts for the past financial year. In this time, you’ll also be required to hand over any other requested information or resources, in writing, to the SMSF auditor within 14 days.
When the audit begins, the SMSF auditor will have 28 days from receiving the relevant information to complete the audit. This audit must be complete before an SMSF lodges their annual return.