Midwinter has today announced that it is partnering with Licensing for Accountants to provide compliance and advice technology for limited licence holders.
Licensing for Accountants (headed by CEO, Kath Bowler) supports accountants who are moving – or want to move – from compliance to advice. A key component of that support is the provision of access to advice templates and software that make the advice process easy and efficient.
Midwinter has worked with Licensing for Accountants to create additional functionality and resources within its AdviceOS system to cater for both unlicensed accountants and licensed accountants with Limited Licences. The customised AdviceOS offers will be added to the suite of licensing solutions already available through Licensing for Accountants.
The new functionality contains a range of unique features to ensure the limited advice provided by accountants meets the requirements of the licensing regime. These include;
• A ‘Licensing Assessment Module’ to help accountants determine if the advice being provided requires licensing or not,
• An ‘Accountant Template Module’ which contains standard advice documents (FSGs, Fact Finds etc.) as well as a library of unlicensed templates, so accountants can document both licensed and unlicensed advice.
• In addition, SOAs have been incorporated into Midwinter’s AdviceOS software, catering for simple advice to be produced in under an hour, with the resulting SOA typically containing no more than10 pages. The software currently includes ten SOA template options, with more being added as required.
Licensing for Accountants CEO – Kath Bowler said “One of the biggest challenges facing all accountants, regardless of whether they entered the world of advice or not, was properly documenting their advice.
“For licensed accountants, this means finding a simple and easy way to prepare statements of advice, records of advice, fact finds etc.” Ms Bowler said.
“Both licensed and unlicensed accountants need templates to document the conversations they are having with clients in an unlicensed capacity, to confirm that the advice or information doesn’t require licensing.
“This is because both unlicensed and licensed accountants will not always be acting in a licensed capacity when they talk to their clients. For every client conversation, accountants need to be able to distinguish which hat they are wearing.”
Bowler said her search for solutions to these issues “involved a thorough examination of technology providers in the advice space, culminating in the partnership with Midwinter.
“They had one of the simplest software solutions to drive, an open architecture, and they were open to creating something unique to cater for the needs of accountants.” Ms Bowler said.
“We’re not trying to turn accountants into planners. We wanted to create a solution that was flexible, adaptable and would make licensing work for them.”
Executive Director of Midwinter – James Murphy, also expressed excitement about the partnership, saying “We’re delighted to be working with Kath and her business to provide this tailored solution. These additional modules within AdviceOS – custom made with the requirements of limited licence accountants in mind, have been welcomed not only by the accountants themselves, but also by many of their financial planning referral partners.
“For quite some time now, our financial adviser clients who work closely with accountants have expressed a desire for Midwinter to create a package that would allow both parties to work off the same system. Now, through Licensing for Accountants, we have been able to offer this.”
Ms Bowler stated that there had already been significant interest in the solution, with over 50 accountants attending a pilot webinar for the solution earlier today.
“The interest in the templates had been overwhelming – so much so that we have allowed for a pilot run while the solution is still in testing.
“The other area of interest for the unlicensed templates has been from full AFSL holders who have accountant referral partners. They have been looking to provide this to their referral partners as a value-add, as it makes those partners aware (from an independent source) when a piece of advice needs to be referred to them.”
Accountants are still being invited to register their interest in participating in the pilot run between the 1st and the 30th May 2016, with Go-Live for the solution scheduled to commence in mid-June.