News / Nov 29, 2021

SMSF Audit Fees – What To Expect and How Much To Pay

Mark Phillips
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SMSF trustees must budget for SMSF audit fees each year even if no payments or contributions were made during the year. If you don’t complete SMSF audits, your fund can incur fines, loss of concessionary tax benefits, and even be wound up. 

There are two important obligations for SMSF trustees

·   To appoint an approved, independent SMSF auditor within 45 days of the date for their annual return to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

·   To provide whatever documentation the auditor requests within 14 days

Trustees cannot take these requirements lightly. Non-compliance is a criminal offence. 

We assist trustees, fund members, accountants, and financial advisors with SMSF audits and the auditing process, and offer very competitive fees.

What To Expect From An SMSF Audit

There are two parts to an SMSF audit:

Financial Audit

This involves your super fund accounts and financial transactions for the financial year. Relevant documents will include financial statements and bank statements.

Compliance Audit

This is a check that you have complied with all superannuation fund legislation.

Any compliance irregularities are recorded in an Auditor Contravention Report (ACR). This report goes to the ATO, even if you have received professional advice and rectified the problems.

Once you have provided all the required documents, the auditor has 28 days to give you the self-managed superannuation fund independent auditor’s report (NAT 11466).

smsf audit fees

Who Can Do An SMSF Audit?

Trustees and accountants are obliged to appoint an approved, independent SMSF auditor. The auditor must also meet professional standards set by the ATO.

Approved SMSF Auditor

An auditor must be approved by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Some of the requirements include

  • Registration as an SMSF auditor
  • A valid SMSF auditor number (SAN)
  • Up-to-date details
  • Submitting an annual statement

ASIC maintains a register of approved auditors.

Independent SMSF Auditor

New regulations, in effect from July 2021, have tightened the definitions for “Independence”:

  • Private professionals may not provide both auditing and accounting or bookkeeping services for the same client.
  • The same firm cannot do both auditing and SMSF administration for the same fund.  
  • An organisation cannot rely on a “Chinese wall” – a  confidentiality barrier between one section of the organisation and another, to prevent conflicts of interest.

An exception is if the trustee can deliver a trial balance, and the financial statements are then “routine or mechanical.”

Professional Standards For SMSF Auditors

When you select auditors for your fund, it is essential to evaluate their competency.

The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has strict requirements, and SMSF auditors must comply with an array of obligations, qualifications, and regulations.

They include:

The Superannuation Industry (Supervision) Act 1993 (SISA)

  • Reporting requirements
    • Failure to provide a report is a criminal offence, with a penalty of 50 penalty units
  • Continuing professional development
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Compliance with standards set by other official entities, e.g.,
    • Australian Auditing Standards (ASAs) for financial audits
    • Standards on Insurance Engagement (ASAE) from the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB) for compliance audits

APES 110 Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants

  • Requirements for auditors to be independent, to ensure objectivity, professional scepticism, and integrity

ASIC Class Order [CO 12/1687]

  • Competency standards for auditors
  • Knowledge requirements per task

Why use SMSF Engine For Your Audit?

SMSF Engine does not do any SMSF audits. Our focus is on providing accounting and SMSF administration services.

Instead, we outsource all SMSF audits to a panel of highly competent, independent, and approved auditors, including Baumgartner Superannuation. You can find their ASIC registration details here.

If you use us, we have done all the upfront work for you. You do not have to search for someone to audit your fund, check their competency, or negotiate audit fees. 

You can also use our portal to connect to and deal directly with an auditor.  You can create the audit job, upload source documents, and send and receive communications. 

smsf audit fees

How Much Are SMSF Auditor Fees?

There are no guidelines on what approved SMSF auditor fees are. However, according to the latest ATO information (Table 16),

  • The average SMSF audit fee for 2018-19 was $686
  • The median SMSF audit fee was $550
  • The audit fee range was from less than $500 to more than $2,000

It is interesting that the median SMSF audit fee has remained the same for the past six financial years.

 SMSF auditor fees depend on

  • The complexity of your SMSF, and
  • The expertise and technology capability of the auditor

The benefit of a financial and compliance audit is that you have a clear view of the status of your super fund, knowing that any errors or mistakes have been identified and noted. Even a minor mistake could end in compliance issues or poor financial decisions.

Trustees opting for a cheap SMSF audit may not identify compliance risks and other issues, which may result in serious compliance breaches.

SMSF Engine: Audit Fees

We do not provide financial and compliance audits, but we offer our clients a service through our network of associated companies.

We offer two packages, with competitive audit fees, well below the average and close to the median SMSF audit fees quoted by the ATO.  

Reduced Audit Fees With Administration Package

We can bundle an SMSF audit fee into the administration price if you are using our Daily, Daily Plus, or Annual SMSF Administration Services. We will use this fee to have your fund audited. 

Our streamlined processes ensure that your fund’s financial statements are available and that you comply with super fund legislation. This reduces the number of audit queries and costs. We pass the cost benefit to you. 

The SMSF audit cost is given for each package in the following table:



Service




Daily




Daily Plus




Annual
Annualised Charge for Administration Services


$990



$2,200



$880
Fund SMSF Audit



+$330




included




+$330
Total Annualised Charge



$1,320




$2,200




$1,210


Note: Additional fees may apply for SMSF funds with cryptocurrency, derivatives/options trading, and other complex assets. Call to discuss.

Standalone Audit Fee

We can also provide access to audits for funds that do not use our SMSF administration services.

There are three fee options – Green, Amber, and Red – with the audit fee range depending on the complexity of your SMSF. 

ServiceGreenAmberRed

Standalone SMSF Audit

$495$595Price on application

Note: Details of what is covered in each option can be seen here.
            An additional $100 will be charged for clients not using specific administration software.
Start standalone audit now

Potential Additional Audit Fees

The following fees may apply in some financial years:

  • Auditor Contravention Report (ACR): $330  

We will contact you if an ACR is required.

  • Specialist guidance for funds with serious compliance issues: Additional fees may apply.
  • Death Benefits: $220. This fee applies if a fund pays out a death benefit during the year.
  • Transition Fee: You may pay a once-off transition fee if we must reconstruct historical data (e.g., if a current software file is unavailable). Funds in their first year of operation will not pay this fee.

All Fees are inclusive of GST.

How Can SMSF Engine Help You With SMSF Audits?

Although we do not perform the SMSF audits, we provide access to a highly qualified panel of experts. And we make it easy for you to deal with them through our portal.

Our other services smooth the path for audits and reduce the SMSF audit cost. 

Because we manage your accounting and SMSF administration requirements, either on a daily basis or at the end of your financial year, all your fund documents should be in order. We can also assist with property valuations, portfolio administration, and generating investment strategies. 

Our services are designed to manage the compliance requirements for your SMSFs, which in turn leads to a more efficient audit process with fewer adverse outcomes.

See here for a list of all services and prices.

Download Expression of Interest Form

SMSF Engine is an expert in the SMSF industry and SMSF administration in Australia. Contact us for easy and successful SMSF audits.  

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