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ATO releases statistical overview on SMSFs 

The overview provides high-level observations and commentary on 2016–17 statistics gathered from SMSF annual returns, SMSF registrations and auditor contravention reports.

Highlights include:

  • - 596,000 SMSFs holding $750 billion in assets, with more than 1.1 million SMSF members as at 30 June 2018
  • - at 30 June 2017, SMSFs had assets of just over $1.2 million on average
  • - 48% of SMSFs held assets of between $200,001 and $1 million at 30 June 2017, accounting for 21% of total of SMSF assets
  • - SMSF established in 2016-17 had average assets of $521,000, an increase of 38% from $379,000 for SMSFs established in 2015-16
  • - the median age of SMSF members of newly established funds in 2016-17 was 48 years
  • - 55% of SMSFs have been established for more than 10 years.


For the 2016–17 year, there were 5565 SMSF auditors. Over the five years to 30 June 2017, the number of auditors conducting audits has steadily fallen.

Of these:

  • 52% conducted between 5 and 50 audits
  • 28% conducted between 51 and 250 SMSF audits
  • 5% conducted more than 250 SMSF audits – with this group performing 49% of all SMSF audits in 2016 - 17, compared with 41% of audits for 12–13.

In 2016–17, the average audit fee was $688 and the median audit fee was $550. The median audit fee has remained constant since 2013. The average audit fee in 2016–17 is at its lowest point over the five-year period.

Approximately 13,600 tax agents lodged 99% of 2017 SMSF annual returns (SARs).Footnote For this group, the average number of SMSF clients was 33 and the median 10.

Half of the tax agents lodged SARs for 10 or fewer SMSFs, while 14% (or 1,960) had a single SMSF client. By contrast, 7% or 945 tax agents lodged a 2017 SAR for more than 100 SMSFs.

Over the five years to 30 June 2017, there was a 6% decrease in the number of tax agents lodging SMSF annual returns, attributable to 738 tax agents no longer performing this function.





Once you register, you get to use the software for free for 5 SMSF's - Try before you buy. The fee to audit one fund is $17 plus GST or can be $7 plus GST, per fund if you buy 2,000 audit pack.


Click here to download list of features and brochure of online SMSF Audit  

Click here to start your free trial for 5 funds


We recommend that you join SMSF Auditors Association of Australia LTD which offers 20 hours of Annual CPD via 20 online webinars for a low fee of $240 + GST. To Join visit



Audits performed by SMSF auditors

Number of SMSF auditors who performed audits in relation to each year of audit, these figures are based on SMSF annual returns.

From 1 July 2013 only SMSF auditors registered with ASIC can undertake SMSF audits, resulting in a reduction in auditors performing SMSF audits.

Columns refer to the year being audited, not the year the audit took place.

Number of SMSF auditors performing audits, 2012–13 to 2016–17

Number of auditors














Distribution (%) of SMSF auditors by number of audits they carried out, 2012–13 to 2016–17


Number of audits

% of auditors 2012–13

% of auditors 2013–14

% of auditors 2014–15

% of auditors 2015–16

% of auditors 2016–17

<5 funds






5–50 funds






51–250 funds






>250 funds













Average and median SMSF auditor fees


This table shows average and median SMSF auditor fees reported on the SMSF annual return. From 2012–13, non-deductible SMSF auditor fee expenses are included.

Those SMSFs that did not report an audit fee greater than $0 are not taken into account in calculating the average or median fee.

SMSF auditor fees ($), 2012–13 to 2016–17

SMSF auditor fees






Average auditor fee






Median auditor fee







SMSF audit fee by ranges

This table shows the distribution of SMSFs by audit fee ranges.

These figures are based on SMSF annual returns. Those SMSFs that did not report an audit fee greater than $0 are not taken into account in calculating the average or median fee.

Distribution (%) of SMSFs by audit fee range, 2012–13 to 2016–17

Audit fee range

% of SMSFs 2012–13























$2,000 and above














Seminar 6th June 2019 PARKROYAL Sydney  -   8 Seats Left - 6 CPD Hrs

08.30 AM   Registration

09.00 AM    SMSF's and Death Benefits - By Peter Bobbin | Principal at Argyle Lawyers

10.00 AM    Contributions to SMSF - Mark Wilkinson | Superannuation Partner | BDO 

11.00 AM    Morning Tea

11.30 AM    How to complete an Audit in half the time - Manoj Abichandani

01.00 PM    Lunch

02.00 PM   Machine SMSF Financial Audit

03.45 PM   Seminar Close and Afternoon Tea


Cost: $165 (Includes 6 CPD Hours and 10 Free audits on only for new users - Value $187)  


Peter Bobbin

Peter is Managing Principal at Argyle Lawyers he is a qualified lawyer with Masters in Taxation.

For nearly 30 years Peter has earned respect for his fine planning and strategy skills in the areas of superannuation, taxation, estate and business succession planning, commercial structuring, regulatory compliance, and general commercial issues.

Whatever Peter undertakes, his focus is foremost on the outcome, not the process. As a former university lecturer, frequent commentator on the law and former accountant, Peter can’t help but bring a practical and insightful approach to law. For this reason he counts as clients the financial services arms of every major financial institution in Australia, public companies, and associations. Peter advises both individuals and businesses, working with many corporate and high net wealth clients as well as accountants, financial advisers, and other lawyers.

Through his wide network Peter is also active in lobbying government to support a good cause or achieve better outcomes in the law. He’s successfully had laws amended. 

He’s also a keen cyclist and has taken part in the Future2 Wheel Classic, riding each year.



Mark Wilkinson

Mark is a superannuation partner in our business services team in BDO’s Sydney office and an authorised representative of BDO Private Wealth Advisers (East Coast) Pty Ltd.

He is one of the leading members of the BDO Superannuation team in Australia and has been providing superannuation and retirement planning advice for more than 30 years.

As a superannuation specialist, Mark provides strategic superannuation advice on how the State and Federal legislation impact on the areas of superannuation, retirement, estate and succession planning for clients as they build their wealth en route to retirement.

Mark knows how an SMSF structure can be used as an effective part of a business group, as an exit strategy, as a growth strategy, and how to undertake various property transactions including borrowing within the SMSF environment. Licensed to provide superannuation advice, he advises on SMSF establishment, contribution planning strategies, pension planning advice, estate planning and consulting regarding Superannuation Industry Supervision Act Compliance issues.

Mark is a sought after national public speaker on superannuation and retirement, in-house trainer for large clients and accounting firms and an acknowledged industry specialist in the area of self-managed superannuation consulting.


Let us show you...

How to reduce SMSF Audit time in half!

Do more with less ...

Download Seminar Brochure



Sydney: 06th June 2019 - Parkroyal

Melbourne: 18th July 2019 - Parkview St Kilda

Parramatta: 22nd August 2019 - Novotel

Brisbane: 7th November - Sheraton Four Points 


Timings: 9:00 am to 04:30 pm


Cost: The fee for seminar is $165 Incl. GST and is tax deductible(Plus Travel) - Includes 10 Free Audits worth $187 for New Users



Technical Session: Audit of Funds with Pension members above Transfer Balance Cap Amount; Actuarial Certificate and Strategies: SMSF audit under the new regime of Contributions / Total Superannuation Balance

Audit Tool: Do more with less time using an Online Audit Program

Proposed Agenda - Other than Sydney 

08.30 AM: Registration - Arrival Tea and Coffee

09.00 AM: Technical Session by Superannuation Experts

11.00 AM: Tea/Coffee Break

11:30 AM: Introduction to Audit Online on SMSF Audit Software and Website integration

01:00 PM: Lunch and Group Discussion on Audit of funds with LRBA - Loan from related party - how repayment of Loan will be considered

02.00 PM: How to complete an audit in half the time by using online SMSF audit

04.30 PM: Seminar Closed



SMSF Auditors spend too much time in financial audit and completing manual audit working papers, our online software does most of this work automatically & saves half your time as compared to traditional auditing methods.

It checks closing share prices, dividends received from ASX and all mundane tasks of signing, scanning & mailing of audit report, Mgt. letter, engagement letter, Invoice & contravention reports etc. are automated with one click of a mouse.

Embrace an efficient framework for high quality audits and conduct audits on a flawless workflow Management system. Achieve peace of mind & confidence of knowing that you are using a completely up-to-date online checklist and cloud process to deliver a robust, hassle free top quality SMSF audit. Improve communication with accountants & trustees.

Manage 20 or 2000 audits by streamlining workflow from our smart Audit Manager & establish seamless communication between all parties. Our online SMSF audit system is the only tool which can deliver reliability, speed and volume and ultimately profits for your business at a fraction of the cost.

Download Features Booklet

Benefits/learning outcomes

Audit from anywhere, anytime from any device on your own website or by integrating with ours. Increase audit effectiveness, add value, reduce audit risk, drive SMSF compliance, revolutionise your business. Included in the fee is an account to audit 10 SMSF on the online platform worth $187 and Lunch. Those auditors who are already using the online software will benefit by learning new shortcuts and other advanced features of the online software. 

Recommended For

All SMSF ASIC approved auditors.

CPD Hours

2 Hours CPD in Superannuation and 4 Hours CPD on auditing SMSF's Total 6 CPD hours under self assessment method under RG 243.88 - 90 and SISA 128Q and SISR 9.04

RG 243.89 You will need to complete 120 hours of CPD over each three-year period, which must include 30 hours of development on superannuation and at least 8 hours of development on auditing SMSFs.

SISR 9A.04 (3) (b) be development that could reasonably be expected to enhance an approved SMSF auditor's technical skills or professional service delivery.

Attendee Requirements

Attendees may bring their own Laptops / Ipads for a better understanding - although some attendees may get more from the workshop by looking at the facilitators screen



Mr Manoj Abichandani

Manoj has worked in SMSF since 1988 and is SMSF Specialist (UNSW). He was providing high level advisory services to over 600 funds in his own 3 partner CPA tax practice for 19 years and has written this online software. He currently works as SMSF Technical Support Team Leader at

He has hands on knowledge on what happens in a tax practice on high level of SMSF practical issues.



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